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"Welcome to the Dark Side."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator


War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count Dooku. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere. In a stunning move, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievous, has swept into the Republic capital and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate. As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee the besieged capital with their valuable hostage, two Jedi Knights lead a desperate mission to rescue the captive Chancellor...


Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas. It was the sixth and final film released in the Star Wars saga and the third in terms of internal chronology.

After a fierce battle in which Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) join Republic forces to help free Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from the evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and his minions, Anakin is drawn into Palpatine's confidence. Palpatine has designs on expanding his rule, and with this in mind he plants seeds of doubt in Anakin's mind about the strength and wisdom of the Jedis. Anakin is already in a quandary about how to reveal to others the news of his secret marriage to Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) now that she is pregnant, and visions which foretell her death in childbirth weigh heavy on his mind.

As Anakin finds himself used by both the Jedis and the Republic for their own purposes, particularly after Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) expresses his distrust of the young Jedi, he turns more and more to the Force for help, but begins to succumb to the temptations of its dark side.

In 1973, George Lucas wrote the Star Wars saga's fundamental story in the form of a basic plot outline. He would later profess that at the time of the saga's conception, he had not fully realized the details—only major plot points throughout the series. He transformed his notes concerning Episode III into a screenplay in 2003 and 2004, in addition to allowing playwright Tom Stoppard to ghost-rewrite it and polish its dialogue. After the earliest draft of the screenplay was submitted, the art department began designing the various ways that each element could appear on screen. Over a period of months, Lucas would approve hundreds of designs that would eventually appear in the film. He would later rewrite entire scenes and action sequences to correspond to certain designs he had chosen. The designs were then shipped to "pre-visualization" to create moving CGI versions known as "animatics". Ben Burtt would edit these scenes with Lucas in order to previsualize what the film would look like before the scenes were even filmed.

The pre-visualization footage featured a basic raw CGI environment with equally unprocessed CGI characters performing a scene (typically an action sequence). Steven Spielberg was also allowed to assist both the art and pre-visualization department's designs for several action sequences in Revenge of the Sith. Later, the pre-visualization and art department designs were sent to the production department to begin "bringing the film out of the concept phase" by building the various sets, props and costumes. To determine the required sets, Lucas analyzed each scene with the staff to see which moments the actors would come in most contact with the set, warranting the set to be constructed.

During this time, actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor rehearsed extensively with stunt coordinator Nick Gillard to memorize and perform their climactic lightsaber duel together. In addition to performing the scenes as actors, they rehearsed each fight scene together for months on end.

Like the previous two prequel films, all lightsaber battles featuring Obi-Wan and Anakin were performed by the actors themselves without the use of stunt doubles. As a result of months of practice, the speed at which Anakin and Obi-Wan engage in their duel is the speed at which it was filmed, and was not digitally accelerated. However, there are instances where single frames were removed to increase the velocity of particular strikes.

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), principal photography on the film occurred from June 30 to September 17, 2003. The film was shot entirely on sound stages at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney. 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. As Hayden Christensen recounted, it was originally intended to simply have a "tall guy" in the Darth Vader costume. But after "begging and pleading" with George Lucas, the Vader costume used in the film was created specifically to fit Christensen. The new costume featured shoe lifts and a muscle suit. It also required Christensen (who is 6 ft 1 in or 1.85 metres, while David Prowse is 6 ft 7 in or 2 meters) to look through the mouthpiece of the helmet.


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PARODY POSTERCritical reaction towards the film was largely enthusiastic, especially in comparison to the two previous prequels and many critics and fans saw it as one of the best of the series, or at least, the strongest of the three prequels. Some neoconservatives criticized the film, claiming it has a liberal bias and is a "weak" commentary on the George W. Bush Administration and the U.S./Iraqi war. Some websites went as far as to propose a boycott of the film. However, Lucas defended the film, stating that the film's storyline was written during the Vietnam War, and was influenced by it instead. Lucas did note however that "The parallels between Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable." Still, some saw echoes of Bush in the film. In one scene, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader tells his onetime mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." The line is seen as a reference to Bush's post-Sept. 11 threat "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

Other noted parallels of Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to the Bush administration include:

• Sith plot: Seeking to strengthen security during wartime, Chancellor Palpatine persuades the Senate to give up civil liberties and elect him emperor for life. "So this is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause," Senator Amidala laments.

• Bush plot: Seeking to strengthen security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush urged legislators to pass the Patriot Act, which opponents say infringes on civil liberties.

• Sith's war: Palpatine starts a war to divert attention from his true political motives.

• Bush's war: Bush persuades Congress to go to war with Iraq based on evidence that has now been largely dismissed.

What color is Mace Windu's lightsaber in Episode II: Attack of the Clones?



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