Hayden Christensen Gave Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith's Youngling Actor A Real Scare

04 -03-2024

George Lucas’ "Star Wars Prequel Trilogy" is full of provocative ideas. In theory, it is a shockingly depressing depiction of an advancing fascist takeover, where the hero shuts down his better angels, and becomes a vindictive genocidal creature. After failing to kill his mentor, he accidentally murders his wife and children's mother. It's a children's film.

The fact that this was an inevitable outcome didn't lessen the power of Anakin's terrible choice. No one expected nuance from "Star Wars". Were we expecting "Star Wars", to dramatize how far a Sith indoctrinated Anakin will go to eliminate the Jedi completely? If all the cute little Padawans had not been indoctrinated by Hitler Youth they would have met a horrible fate.

Personaly, I was surprised when Lucas, in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, turned the slaughter of the children into an Anakin-specific mission. This was the correct decision because the original trilogy's destruction of Alderaan had been too bloodless. It was not a shocking event. The magnitude of the atrocity didn't register.
Vader may have killed many people in "Star Wars", but they were always far away. Lucas was clearly thinking of this when he filmed "Attack of the Clones", where Anakin went on a killing spree. When it was time for Hayden Christensen to kill a group of children as Anakin, not one person felt the threat - even the child actors.

How to make a killing of a youngling mean something

Christensen recently shared with Empire his views on the Prequel Trilogy 19 years after the release of 'Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Christensen believes that the trilogy is still relevant today, and I share his sentiments. According to Donald Trump's rhetoric, fascism is rising around the world, and is now ready to be brought into the spotlight by the Executive Branch. It's scary stuff!

What's the least frightening thing? Lucas cut us out of that scene when Anakin fires his lightsaber on the Padawan before Lucas cuts it off (at least, he didn't wipe). Lucas' writing, and his tone management, have not adequately prepared us for such a remorseless display of bloodshed. Christensen is a petulant, emo-brat. Anakin, on the one hand is exactly what he appears to be. The overall scope of the movies makes this idea less terrifying than it could be. A bitter 20-something can weaponize government in order to punish the galaxy for the traumas he experienced as a child.

What do you do if you are unable to scare a child into death? Scare them the old-fashioned method.
Simple Boos! A simple Boo!

Christensen said he was happy that Lucas filmed this "bold", "shocking", scene. This is a cruel act because when Anakin discovers these children hiding in the Jedi Council Chambers, they think he has come to rescue them. But not so much.
They needed Ross Beadman to be frightened when Anakin uses his lightsaber. Christensen resorted to primal behavior when he failed to deliver. I yelled or growled because we wanted him to be startled in a real way. This got us the reaction we wanted, which made that scene really work.

Although the scene itself may not be a hit, it is certainly the reaction that will make you remember.

Beadman, who spoke to Star Wars explained a few months back, remembered it as a matter mainly of focus.

It took several takes. We had to do about four takes until we got it just right. In the beginning, I was looking at Anakin’s lightsaber as he unsheathed it. They said, "Don't even look down at the lightsaber, look straight at Anakin and let's restart." We kept starting over. On the final take, I did it right, but after he unsheathed his sword, he yelled "BOO!" "It was natural because I fell back."
It would be great if Beadman had reacted in an even better movie. The PT has a lot of relevance in this dangerous political time. Maybe "Star Wars", which was a way to distract the nation from the failures of the Vietnam War and the bloody violence, wasn't meant to carry this weight.

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