Hayden Christensen was met with a rousing standing ovation during a long-overdue and rare Star Wars-related appearance.
Thursday morning, Christensen took the Star Wars Celebration stage for the first time in 15 years for a special tribute, honoring the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars saga along with Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid. Following the panel, Christensen will also attend a meet-and-greet, and sign autographs for fans.
His onstage presence was brief, only staying for around 10 minutes. Each time Hayden spoke, fans cheered as he told a story of how he couldn’t stop making lightsaber noises while filming.
Christensen last appeared at Star Wars Celebration II in 2002 (before his first Star Wars movie was even released). The 35-year-old actor portrayed Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith (2005).
The apprehension to publicly support the saga could be due to backlash the prequel trilogy received, some specifically targeting Christensen’s performance and dialogue. Others defend these movies and credit them with their introduction to the beloved franchise.