Star Wars Ruined Birthday Boy Hayden Christensen’s Career

Star Wars ruined Hayden Christensen's career bad acting Revenge of the Sith birthday

Hayden Christensen turns 31 today, but you’re probably wondering what the hell he’s been up to in the last five years. When Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones came to theaters a decade ago, no one could have imagined that the young man chosen to play Anakin Skywalker had anything but a stellar career ahead of him. Unfortunately, Hayden’s professional life mirrored Anakin’s downfall: The movie that should have nabbed him adventurous, sensitive leading-man parts instead wrecked his credibility.

As people might have expected, Star Wars is the project that Hayden is best known for. But that’s not because Episodes II and III were astonishingly good; not only were they bad, but nothing Hayden has done since has redeemed him. Before he played Anakin, Hayden’s career consisted of guest spots on some of the best kids’ TV of the ’90s — Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps – and starred in Life as a House and Shattered Glass. His character in the latter suffered greater and more believable dilemmas than anything we saw from Anakin.

But it’s not as if the Star Wars prequels tainted everyone who was associated with them: Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, and Natalie Portman have all gone on to roles that have won them critical acclaim, and their Star Wars days were an amusing diversion. Hayden had it tougher, understandably, as he got saddled with so much responsibility in portraying one of cinema’s most iconic characters—not to mention, in a backstory already crippled by fans’ high expectations.

However, he could have helped his case by making Anakin less cheesy! As YouTuber rawbeezeitz points out in this amazing highlights reel, Hayden seemed to have two emotional states in the Star Wars movies: Horny creep or whiny bitch.

I guess that after all the hype that would have christened Hayden the next big star, there was no way that his people could backtrack and write off the Anakin disaster as intentionally campy. His acting was just plain bad, and he was further hindered by an implausible story and awful lines.

Similarly, every role he’s had since has been two-dimensional, in movies defined more by their high-concept premises than the characters that actually populate them: The sci-fi movie Jumper, nearly indistinguishable from the superhero action film Takers that came out two years after it; the lame thriller Awake; and Virgin Territory, a retelling of The Decameron that languished in development hell for so many years that we didn’t even notice when it finally came out.

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    • Dan

      As much as Hayden sucked, and boy did he ever suck, the real blame lies with Lucas. In all the prequels, many of the most horrible scenes could have been avoided had the director (Lucas) watched what had just happened and said reshoot. I honestly believe that if there had been a better person to work with the actors and tweak the script, we’d have a much different prequel trilogy.

      The guy who voices Anakin in the Cartoon Network’s Clone Wars blows Hayden out of the water.

    • lilalexei

      Hayden’s crappy acting ruined his career. All Star Wars did was give him a giant platform to dive off of.

      • billa

        poor idiot. how envious you are!

      • nataliecrush

        Which of Hayden’s movies do you like?

      • wredniak

        I bet it’s Jumper

    • Gemma

      The prequels bombed badly? Define bomb please.

    • Phil

      “The sci-fi movie Jumper, nearly indistinguishable from the superhero action film Takers that came out two years after it”

      Since when was Takers a superhero film?

    • Katie

      I do not agree with your assessment at all. iHaydne’s film work in LIfe As A House garnered him a Golden Globe Nomination, his work in Virgin Territory was sweet and funny, his work in Factory Girl sexy, his work in Awake was manly and sexy and made it’s budget and millions more, his work in Jumper made it the top movie and made over 225 million, his work in Takers was amazing and it was the number one movie and made over $150million, Shattered Glass gave he and Skarsgard best actor awards. Dissing an actor because of your “fanboy” base will not put you in good stead with fans. Some actors get their stride later in life like Collin Firth did (academy award winner last year). Portman had all ready been on the “fast track” and Ewan McGregor was in his country – it just made him known to the American public more and Sam Jackson has been in every movie ever made I think…why wouldn’t he have a chance to obtain “critical acclaim”, he’s had enough screen time to hone his craft that’s for certain. Hayden is STILL young and has plenty of time to hone his craft. Just what role did you win when you were only eighteen? Geez…

      • Roger

        And yet Katie, two years and still waiting isn’t it? Let it go, Hayden won’t return.

      • BashfulBeethoven

        It’s been two years, you d-mmy. Not twenty years. The guy is 33 which means he still can get work. There’s no cut off age when it comes to acting. Did it ever occur to you he is content with where he is and not desperately clinging to fame? Either way your “let it go Hayden is not returning” comment is not written in stone considering.

      • Bob

        Listen, Hayden may have been screwed over with a terrible plot and dialogue, but at the end of the day, even if the love story is forced beyond belief, it is the actor’s job to make it believable, Hayden failed so badly at that that his name and reputation has been nearly absolutely tarnished.

        Simply, Hayden is now known as an extremely mediocre actor, and he knows that. That is why he hasn’t returned to acting.

      • BashfulBeethoven

        Nah it’s the DIRECTORS job to direct actors and make sure the script and dialogue is efficient. You’re a fool if you think even the bests of actors could’ve pulled that fecal matter off. In the love scenes Natalie was actually the weakest link. At least Hayden played the desperate, horny, stalker type well.

        Also Hayden was nominated for a Golden Globe for Life as A House. He’s probably content with his life. Are you?


        Mcgregor carried it well, but he got better material to work with. I do agree, not all the blame should be on Hayden and Portman, because they had terrible material to work with. They looked confused and I believe it is due to Lucas poor script and screenplay in the romance scenes. Very late reply, but I just recently rewatched the prequels and I felt they’re romance had better potential had it not started so damn quickly, it should have been way more subtle and flirtatious which would then lead into anakin and padme confessing with each other, but it occured the other way around.

    • Billa

      you wrote only bullshits. First of all, the new episodes are just good as the previous ones. just stop pretending to be cool by saying that “new is bad”, becausse you just sound ridiculous. Secondly, if you have paid attention to his career, instead of blaming him just because you are probably a piece of shit, you would have known that he had a brilliant career and became testimonial of many fashion campaings.
      So, before vomiting fake information, just get informed.

      • Keith Michael

        What? The new movies are in no way anywhere near as good as the originals. The story telling is completely different, in a bad way. The character development is almost nonexistent.

        Start here

        And keep watching.

      • Adam02

        Those RLM reviews are awful, all the people I know who like those reviews are whiny and close-minded jerks. They complain and complain all the time, no wonder they hate the prequels with such negativity inside them.

        There are some rebuttals out there that debunks the arguments (more like jokes) made by RLM, you can’t start by reading this. I hope you can find the rest by yourself..

      • Bob

        The new episodes are not terrible, but their essential flaw was that they misinterpreted the characters we expected. Anakin was perceived to be a noble, extremely powerful jedi who eventually fell down a dark path without realizing it. What we received was a whiny hormonal brat throwing a temper tantrum when he couldn’t have it his way. The fact that both a compelling and essential plot point was botched by poor dialogue and sub-par acting is what pissed off fans.
        Oh and Jar Jar Binks too.

    • Helga

      IMO Hayden was absolutely brilliant in Star Wars. Actually it was his portrayal of Anakin made me a fan of the franchise. And his work in Awake was great too. And I am really sad that he doesn’t get a lot of new interesting roles nowdays.

    • sailsbury

      Star Wars gave him a career and made him a multi millionaire. Why would he regret that? He’s got plenty of time to do more, going forward. p.s: Hayden was not the problem in Star Wars. The downside for him was that it was the first big thing he did. Ewan, Sam Jackson and Natalie Portman all had established careers already.

    • amanda

      Hayden did just fine portraying Anakin. The biggest downfall with the prequels especially Episode two were the time constraints and everyone’s expectations that Anakin was going to be something like Luke. Anakin is far more complex than Luke is. The movie only touched on Anakin’s personality, I would define as passionate. Which means that he follows his passions with tendency to say and do whatever he feels whether it lands him in trouble or not. As well as the emotional turmoil Anakin would have been dealing with at the time. There were plenty of deleted scenes that were only cut because of time constraints. Number one if Palpatine filling his head with an opposing point of view on the Jedi teachings for the past ten years. Number two his mother dying, and number three he’s falling in love which he knows isn’t accepted by the jedi code. I’ve only ever seen the movies but after watching them more than once I was able to understand Anakin’s personality far better. Hayden’s performance was very good, the story line was good, the only things that sucked were the time constraints because it didn’t allow enough time for the audience to fully grasp Anakin’s personality. So with that being said the biggest downfall here was expectations.

      • Bob

        The new episodes are not terrible, but their essential flaw was that they misinterpreted the characters that the plot demanded them to be. The plot called for a tragic figure in Anakin, pulled by his desires towards Padme and by his duties as a jedi knight, eventually making the call that he believed to be good, but was in fact, evil. What we received was a whiny hormonal brat throwing a temper tantrum when he couldn’t have it his way. The fact that both a compelling and essential plot point was botched by poor dialogue (that’s on Lucas) and sub-par acting is what pissed off fans.

        Oh and Jar Jar Binks too. I wish we could’ve seen Jar Jar Binks get decapitated by the Emperor at some point. Would’ve made the whole thing worth it.

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    • mi

      This is probably one of the worst, narrow-minded reviews I’ve read. He portrayed Anakin well, they’re had to be an extremity in his personality to show his passion while a lot less time was spent on Anakin as a character than is spent on Luke, despite him being a much more complex character.
      Furthermore his career isn’t over by any means, he has been in films since which haven’t been as bad as you make out, and is set to have two films out later this year, all while he is starting a family. He’s still only 33 and has done pretty well so give the guy a break.

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