‘Star Wars’ Breaks More Records, And Anakin Skywalker Actor Hayden Christensen Explains Why He Walked Away From Stardom

Star Wars and box offices tend to make good bedfellows, but they are hardly strange ones. The original Star Wars trilogy made over half a billion dollars between 1977 and 1983, and even the much-maligned prequel trilogy that followed from 1999 to 2005 brought in even more at the box office, with a worldwide reach of a billion or near a billion dollars per film. The Inquisitr reported Sunday that The Force Awakens had broken $1 billion worldwide total, and surpassed Jurassic World for the fastest climb to that number, which was two days shy of a two weeks.

According to the Huffington Post, Star Wars: The Force Awakens might have just helped save the American box office for 2015. Jurassic World and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens combined have brought the American box office to a record high of $11 billion, topping the original record set in 2013 at $10.92 billion.

Jurassic World movie still
Image Via Jurassic World photo still| Courtesy Of Universal Pictures |Cropped and Resized

Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ $571.4 million brought it over the mark. Disney distribution president Dave Holli attributes this success to the diehard Star Wars fans.

“You can’t do these kind of numbers without extraordinary repeat business. We know anecdotally people are seeing it three and four times. Everyone wants to be part of something that has become a cultural phenomenon.”

The newest entry into the Star Wars saga carries on that tradition of a cultural phenomenon, but 10 years earlier, Hayden Christensen helped lead George Lucas’s franchise in a new direction, one that many fans didn’t enjoy. Christensen has taken his fair share of criticism for his role as Anakin Skywalker, not unlike the way Adam Driver is also taking some flack for his role that fills the vacant role left from Darth Vader’s absence.

Granted, Christensen had large shoes to fill after taking on the role of Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi on the light side of the force before he became Darth Vader, the menacing Dark Lord of the Sith. Hayden Christensen, prior to Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, had never been on a major Hollywood set. After being being cast in a Star Wars film, playing such an iconic character, Christensen was a little torn. Instead of feeling a sense of stardom, according to Comicbook, he did not feel worthy to be in another film because he felt like it was handed to him.

“I guess I felt like I had this great thing in ‘Star Wars’ that provided all these opportunities and gave me a career, but it all kind of felt a little too handed to me. I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”

Hayden Christensen Star Wars Episode 3 premiere
Image under CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons| Courtesy Of Marco Kraus| Resized|Cropped

It was at that point that the Star Wars prequel’s Anakin Skywalker was ready to walk away, and did not care if it affected his career or not.

“You can’t take years off and not have it affect your career, but I don’t know — in a weird, sort of destructive way, there was something appealing about that to me. There was something in the back of my head that was like, ‘If this time away is gonna be damaging to my career, then so be it. If I can come back afterward and claw my way back in, then maybe I’ll feel like I earned it.'”

Unless Hayden Christensen turned down some major roles after 2005, he did not appear to have left acting. Christensen’s IMDB profile shows that he had a leading role in a film one year after Revenge of the Sith, and a major Hollywood role in Jumper in 2008. Hayden Christensen has been in films every year or two since then, as well. Though his Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith role has its critics, he is not without a fan base, like any other star.