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The Journey of Anakin Skywalker
The character of Anakin Skywalker is central to Attack of the Clones, and indeed to the saga itself. "What drove me in the first place to create this new trilogy," says Lucas, "was to create a story about somebody who starts out as a good person, but is seduced by the dark side and becomes evil. And is ultimately redeemed.

"That's the reason I started the story where I did in The Phantom Menace, with nine-year-old Anakin being a wonderful, normal kid," Lucas continues. "I wanted to explore how somebody like that turns bad." Adds producer Rick McCallum: "We obviously know Anakin's ultimate fate. With these new films we explore the ‘How' and the ‘Why."'

As Attack of the Clones opens, Anakin has served ten years as a Padawan Learner under the guidance of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin has become a confident, headstrong nineteen-year-old with an impulsive nature and a flair for adventure. Important changes in the young man are becoming evident. "In Attack of the Clones we begin to see flashes of anger from Anakin," Lucas states, "and the seeds of his feelings are moving toward the dark side. The same flaws and issues that all humans are cursed with, curse him. There's a lot going on there." Says Jonathan Hales: "Anakin is still a gifted, talented, likable, good person who is determined to be the best and most powerful Jedi. He doesn't set out to be evil, but in this film we see that pressures are being put upon him, and we become aware of some new temptations to which he is subjected."

To bring forth Anakin's complexities required an actor of impressive skill and presence. Casting director Robin Gurland saw six months of hard work come to a successful conclusion with the selection of Canadian actor Hayden Christensen as the new Anakin Skywalker for EPISODES II and III of the Star Wars saga. "I was really in a state of despair until Hayden walked through the door," Gurland recalls. "He has those special qualities you hope to find in an actor. He pops off the screen. And he had two of the characteristics that we were seeking for the character: vulnerability and edginess. We really had to have that combination, and it's rare to find an actor who can go back and forth so well. I knew he had the physical and emotional attributes to play Anakin at the most complex stage of the character's life."

Producer Rick McCallum agrees that Christensen has a special quality that seems uniquely suited to bring out Anakin's dual nature. "Hayden has a wonderful innocence and decency, with an edge that you can see in his eyes. There's so much happening there."

Christensen fills a role that has been played by actors ranging from then eight-year-old Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace to seventy-eight-year-old Sebastian Shaw in Return of the Jedi. Christensen, a longtime Star Wars fan, is well aware of these connections and challenges inherent in the character's story arc from young slave boy to Dark Lord of the Sith to redeemed Jedi. "The hardest part of playing Anakin was finding the medium between what Jake brought to the role and what Sebastian Shaw did as the unmasked Darth Vader finding that medium between the good and the bad, and making it believable."

Christensen embraced both the positive and foreb

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