Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)


Introduction

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 American epic space-opera film written and directed by George Lucas.

It stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Frank Oz.

It is the final instalment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the third chapter in the Skywalker saga and the sixth Star Wars film in the series to be released overall.

Revenge of the Sith is set three years after the onset of the Clone Wars, established in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002).

Outline

Above Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead a mission to rescue the kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from the cyborg Separatist commander General Grievous. After infiltrating Grievous’ flagship, the Jedi battle Count Dooku, whom Anakin overpowers and decapitates at Palpatine’s urging. Grievous escapes the battle-torn ship, which the Jedi crash-land on Coruscant. There, Anakin reunites with his wife, Padmé Amidala, who reveals that she is pregnant. While initially excited, Anakin soon begins to have nightmares about Padmé dying in childbirth.

Palpatine appoints Anakin to the Jedi Council as his personal representative. The Council, suspicious of Palpatine, allows Anakin as a member, but declines to grant him the rank of Jedi Master and instead instructs him to spy on Palpatine, diminishing Anakin’s trust in the Jedi. Palpatine tempts Anakin with his knowledge of the Force, including the power to prevent death. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan travels to Utapau, where he kills Grievous, and Yoda travels to the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk to defend it from a Separatist invasion. When Palpatine reveals that he knows the ways of the dark side of the Force and says he has the power to save Padmé’s life, Anakin deduces that he is the Sith lord behind the war and reports Palpatine’s treachery to Mace Windu, who confronts and subdues him. Desperate to save Padmé’s life, Anakin disarms Windu as he is about to kill him, allowing Palpatine to send Windu falling to his death. Anakin pledges himself to the Sith, and Palpatine dubs him Darth Vader.

Palpatine then issues Order 66, which commands the clone troopers to kill their commanding Jedi officers, thus sending the Jedi Order into near-extinction. Meanwhile, Vader and a battalion of clone troopers kill the remaining Jedi in the Jedi Temple, after which Vader travels to the volcanic planet Mustafar to assassinate the Separatist leaders. Palpatine declares himself Emperor before the Galactic Senate, transforming the Republic into the Galactic Empire, and denounces the Jedi as traitors. Having survived the chaos, Obi-Wan and Yoda return to Coruscant and learn of Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Yoda orders Obi-Wan to confront Vader while he faces Palpatine.

When Padmé learns of Anakin’s treachery, she travels to Mustafar – with Obi-Wan stowing away on her ship – and implores Vader to abandon the dark side, but he refuses. Sensing Obi-Wan’s presence, and thinking that they are conspiring to kill him, Vader angrily uses the Force to strangle Padmé to unconsciousness. Obi-Wan then engages Vader in a lengthy lightsaber duel that ends with Obi-Wan severing his legs and left arm, leaving him at the bank of a lava flow. Obi-Wan picks up Vader’s lightsaber, watches in horror as flames consume the fallen Jedi, and leaves him for dead.

On Coruscant, Yoda battles Palpatine until their duel reaches a stalemate. Yoda then flees with Senator Bail Organa and regroups with Obi-Wan and Padmé on the planetoid Polis Massa. There, Padmé gives birth to twins, whom she names Luke and Leia, and dies soon after, having lost her will to live. On Mustafar, Palpatine retrieves a barely alive Vader and takes him to Coruscant, where his mutilated body is treated and covered in a black armoured suit. When Vader asks if Padmé is safe, Palpatine says that he killed her out of anger, devastating Vader.

Obi-Wan and Yoda plan to conceal the twins from the Sith and go into exile until the time is right to challenge the Empire. As Padme’s funeral takes place on her homeworld of Naboo, Palpatine and Vader supervise the construction of the Death Star. Bail takes Leia to his homeworld of Alderaan, where he and his wife adopt her, while Obi-Wan delivers Luke to his step-uncle and aunt, Owen and Beru Lars, on Tatooine before going into exile to watch over the boy.

Cast

  • Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi:
    • A Jedi Master, general of the Galactic Republic and Anakin’s mentor.
  • Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala:
    • A senator of Naboo who is secretly Anakin’s wife and pregnant with their children.
  • Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker:
    • A Jedi Knight, hero of the Clone Wars and former Padawan of Obi-Wan, who turns to the dark side of the Force and becomes the Sith lord Darth Vader.
  • Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine/Darth Sidious:
    • The Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic who is secretly a Sith Lord, and later the founder and leader of the Galactic Empire.
    • He takes advantage of Anakin’s distrust of the Jedi and fear of Padmé dying to turn him towards the dark side, becoming Vader’s master.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu:
    • A Jedi Master and senior member of the Jedi Council.
  • Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa:
    • A senator of Alderaan.
  • Christopher Lee as Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus:
    • Darth Sidious’ Sith apprentice and leader of the Separatists.
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO:
    • Anakin and Padmé’s personal protocol droid that Anakin created as a child.
  • Kenny Baker as R2-D2:
    • Anakin’s astromech droid.
  • Frank Oz as the voice of Yoda:
    • A Jedi Grandmaster and the leader of the Jedi Council.

Peter Mayhew, Oliver Ford Davies, Ahmed Best, and Silas Carson reprise their roles as Chewbacca, Sio Bibble, Jar Jar Binks, and Nute Gunray and Ki-Adi-Mundi respectively from the previous films. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse also make cameo appearances, reprising their roles as Owen and Beru Lars respectively from Attack of the Clones. Sound engineer Matthew Wood provides the voice of General Grievous, the fearsome cyborg commander of the Separatists’ droid army; Temuera Morrison portrays Commander Cody and the rest of the clone troopers; Bruce Spence portrays Tion Medon, local administrator of Utapau; Jeremy Bulloch (who played Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) appears as Captain Colton, the pilot of the Rebel Blockade Runner Tantive IV; Genevieve O’Reilly portrays senator Mon Mothma, though her scene was ultimately cut. Rohan Nichol portrays Captain Raymus Antilles.

Wayne Pygram appears as a young Wilhuff Tarkin, and stunt coordinator Nick Gillard appears as a Jedi named Cin Drallig (his name spelled backward, without the ‘k’). Editor Roger Barton’s son Aidan Barton portrays Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa as infants. James Earl Jones makes an uncredited cameo appearance, reprising his role from previous films as the voice of Darth Vader.

Director and Star Wars creator George Lucas has a cameo as Baron Papanoida, a blue-faced alien in attendance at the Coruscant opera house. Lucas’ son Jett portrays Zett Jukassa, a young Jedi-in-training. One of Lucas’ daughters, Amanda, appears as Terr Taneel, seen in a security hologram, while his other daughter Katie plays a blue-skinned Pantoran named Chi Eekway, visible when Palpatine arrives at the Senate after being saved by the Jedi and talking to Baron Papanoida at the opera house. Christian Simpson appeared as a stunt double for Hayden Christensen.

Trivia

  • Production of Revenge of the Sith started in September 2003, and filming took place in Australia with additional locations in Thailand, Switzerland, China, Italy and the United Kingdom.
  • Although the first scene filmed was the final scene to appear in the film (shot during the filming of Attack of the Clones in 2000), the first bulk of principal photography on the film occurred from 30 June 2003 to 17 September 2003, with additional photography occurring at Shepperton Studios and Elstree Studios in London from August 2004 to 31 January 2005.
  • The initial filming took place on sound stages at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, although practical environments were shot as background footage later to be composited into the film.
  • These included the limestone mountains depicting Kashyyyk, which were filmed in Phuket, Thailand.
  • The production company was also fortunate enough to be shooting at the same time that Mount Etna erupted in Italy. Camera crews were sent to the location to shoot several angles of the volcano that were later spliced into the background of the animatics and the final film version of the planet Mustafar.
  • Christensen and Ewan McGregor began rehearsing their climactic lightsaber duel long before Lucas would shoot it.
    • They trained extensively with stunt coordinator Nick Gillard to memorise and perform their duel together.
    • As in the previous prequel film, McGregor and Christensen performed their own lightsaber fighting scenes without the use of stunt doubles.
    • The speed at which Vader and Obi-Wan engage in their duel is mostly the speed at which it was filmed, although there are instances where single frames were removed to increase the velocity of particular strikes.
    • An example of this occurs as Obi-Wan strikes down on Vader after applying an armlock in the duel’s first half.
  • Revenge of the Sith eventually became the first Star Wars film in which Anakin Skywalker and the suited Darth Vader were played by the same actor in the same film.
  • Lucas excised all the scenes of a group of Senators, including Padmé, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), organising an alliance to prevent Palpatine from usurping any more emergency powers.
    • Though this is essentially the Rebel Alliance’s birth, the scenes were discarded to achieve more focus on Anakin’s story.
  • The scene where Yoda arrives on Dagobah to begin his self-imposed exile was also removed, but is featured as an extended scene in the DVD release.
  • The DVD bonus features show an additional removed scene in which Jedi Master Shaak Ti is killed by General Grievous in front of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
  • The bonus features also show Kenobi and Skywalker running through Grievous’s ship, escaping droids through a water tunnel, and arguing over what the droid R2-D2 is saying.
  • On a budget of $113 million the film generated revenue of $868.4 million at the box office.

Star Wars Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): George Lucas.
  • Producer(s): Rick McCallum.
  • Writer(s): George Lucas.
  • Music: John Williams.
  • Cinematography: David Tattersall.
  • Editor(s): Roger Barton and Ben Burt.
  • Production: Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox.
  • Release Date: 15 May 2002 (Cannes International Film Festival) and 19 May 2002 (US general release).
  • Running time: 140 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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