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Hayden Christensen shouted at the Revenge of the Sith children before murdering them to elicit a good reaction

"Master Skywalker, there are too many of them."

The Jedi younglings in Star Wars: Episode III
Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Like Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith or not, it's perhaps the boldest episode of the Skywalker Saga, a tragedy of epic proportions with some surprising swings, such as the slaughter of a bunch of kids at the hands of the protagonist, Anakin Skywalker. Now, actor Hayden Christensen has elaborated on how that went down behind the scenes.

As part of Empire's super extensive retrospective of the Star Wars prequels released earlier this month, we got a handful of interviews with some of the biggest names involved in the making of those movies, and chief among them is Hayden Christensen. The whole thing is an amazing read for diehard fans of the prequels, but the bit about scaring the child actors who played the Jedi younglings is especially hilarious.

The interviewer was right to point out the (implied) slaughter of the younglings at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant is perhaps one of the strongest moments in the movie, the kind of stuff that probably wouldn't fly with Disney even if we've gotten stuff like the entirety of the Andor series in recent years. According to Christensen, kids who meet him don't seem to remember that scary moment: "There’s not any fear or intimidation. They’re just excited to meet Anakin."

He did, however, feel bad about having to intimidate the child actors before shooting the scene to make them a bit startled: "When we were filming that, we were having a hard time getting the reaction that we wanted from the kid. And so I shouted, or growled at him, because we needed a genuine moment of him being startled. It got the response that we needed, and it makes that scene work really well." Indeed, what really sells the movie's most terrifying moment is the little 'jump' that one kid makes when Anakin (Darth Vader by that point) ignites his lightsaber. Still, it's just funny to imagine Christensen making a bunch of kids freak out before the cameras started rolling again.

If you've been missing Star Wars movies after a longer-than-planned break in favor of Disney+ series, you'll be happy to know both a Mandalorian & Grogu movie and a post-Episode 9 sequel led by Daisy Ridley are now very close to filming.

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Fran Ruiz

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