Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
|Star Wars Episode III:
Revenge of the Sith
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
|Directed by||George Lucas|
|Produced by||Rick McCallum|
|Written by||George Lucas|
|Music by||John Williams|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox[Note 1]|
|Box office||$848.8 million|
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 American space opera[discuss] and romantic drama film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the third and final installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Frank Oz. In Revenge of the Sith, set three years after the onset of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Knights are spread out across the galaxy leading a massive clone army in the war against the Separatists. The Jedi Council dispatches Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to eliminate the notorious General Grievous, leader of the Separatist Army. Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, separated from his former master, grows close to Palpatine, the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and, unknown to the public, a Sith Lord. Their deepening friendship threatens the Jedi Order, the Republic and Anakin himself, who eventually yields to the dark side of the Force and becomes Darth Vader.
Lucas began writing the script before production of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones began. Production of Revenge of the Sith began in September 2003 and it was shot in Australia with additional locations in Thailand, Switzerland, China, Italy and the United Kingdom. Revenge of the Sith premiered on May 15, 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, and had its general release on May 19, 2005, six years after the premiere of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, especially in contrast to the mixed reviews of the previous two prequels. It is the last film in the Star Wars franchise to be distributed by 20th Century Fox before the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company in 2012.
Revenge of the Sith broke several box office records during its opening week and went on to earn over $848 million worldwide, making it the third-highest-grossing film in the Star Wars franchise, unadjusted for inflation. It was the highest-grossing film of 2005 in the U.S. and the second-highest-grossing film of 2005 behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As of 2015[update], it is the 46th highest-grossing film. The Star Wars saga continued with the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the first installment of the sequel trilogy, in 2015.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Releases
- 5 Reception
- 6 Themes
- 7 Other media
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
During a space battle over Coruscant between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists, Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead a mission to rescue the kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from Separatist commander General Grievous. After infiltrating Grievous' flagship, the Jedi battle Count Dooku in a lightsaber fight, which ends with Anakin killing Dooku at Palpatine's urging. Grievous flees the battle-torn cruiser, which the Jedi crash-land on Coruscant. There, Anakin reunites with his wife, Padmé Amidala, who reveals she is pregnant. Initially excited, Anakin begins to have premonitions of Padmé dying in childbirth.
Palpatine appoints Anakin to join the Jedi Council as his representative, but the Council declines Anakin the rank of Jedi Master and orders him to monitor the Chancellor, diminishing Anakin's faith in the Jedi. Palpatine entices Anakin with knowledge of the dark side of the Force, including the power to "cheat death." When Palpatine reveals himself as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, Anakin reports his treachery to Mace Windu, who subdues Palpatine in an ensuing lightsaber duel. In a desperate attempt to help save Padmé, Anakin intervenes on Palpatine's behalf, allowing him to kill Mace. Anakin pledges himself to Palpatine, who dubs him Darth Vader.
Palpatine issues an order for the clone troopers to kill their Jedi commanders, known as Order 66, and dispatches Vader and a legion of clones to kill everyone in the Jedi Temple; however, Obi-Wan (having killed Grievous on Utapau) and Yoda survive. Vader then kills the remaining Separatist leaders hiding on the volcanic planet Mustafar, while Palpatine addresses the Senate and transforms the Republic into the Galactic Empire, declaring himself Emperor. On Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Yoda return to the Jedi Temple and discover Anakin's treachery.
Concerned by Obi-Wan's revelation that Anakin has turned to the dark side, Padmé travels to Mustafar to confront him, while Obi-Wan stows away aboard her ship. When Vader discovers Obi-Wan, he accuses Padmé of betrayal and uses the Force to choke her into unconsciousness. Obi-Wan battles and dismembers Vader, and leaves him to die among the lava flows of the planet, taking his lightsaber. Back on Coruscant, Yoda confronts Palpatine, but retreats after their duel in the Senate Chamber reaches a stalemate.
Obi-Wan brings Padmé to the asteroid Polis Massa, where she gives birth to twins Luke and Leia before dying. A funeral is held for Padmé on Naboo. Meanwhile, Palpatine travels to Mustafar and finds Vader badly burnt, but still alive. Palpatine brings him back to Coruscant, where his burned body is repaired with cybernetic limbs and a respiratory suit. Palpatine informs Vader of Padmé's death, devastating him. As Palpatine and Vader supervise the construction of the first Death Star, Obi-Wan and Yoda decide to hide the twins from the Sith. Yoda goes into exile on the planet Dagobah. Senator Bail Organa adopts Leia and takes her to Alderaan, while Obi-Wan delivers Luke to his stepfamily Owen and Beru Lars on Tatooine, where Obi-Wan intends to watch over Luke until the time is right to challenge the Empire.
- Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi: a Jedi Master and general for the Galactic Republic who often travels and performs missions with his former Padawan, Anakin.
- Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader: a recently knighted Jedi hero of the Clone Wars that turns to the dark side of the Force becoming Darth Sidious' third Sith apprentice.
- Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala: a senator of Naboo and Anakin's secret wife.
- Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine/Darth Sidious: the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic who helps start the Clone Wars as well as the Sith lord who establishes the Galactic Empire and seduces Anakin to the Sith.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu: a senior member of the Jedi Council.
- Christopher Lee as Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus: Darth Sidious' second Sith apprentice, who was selected by his master to lead the Separatists.
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: Padmé's personal humanoid protocol droid, created by Anakin.
- Kenny Baker as R2-D2: Anakin's astromech droid.
- Frank Oz voices Yoda: the elderly leader of the Jedi Council.
Jimmy Smits, Peter Mayhew, Oliver Ford Davies, Ahmed Best and Silas Carson reprise their roles as Senator Bail Organa, Chewbacca, Sio Bibble, Jar Jar Binks, Nute Gunray and Ki-Adi-Mundi, respectively from the previous films. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse also reprise their roles as Owen Lars and Beru Lars, respectively from Attack of the Clones. Matthew Wood provides the voice of General Grievous, the fearsome cyborg commander of the Separatists' droid army; Temuera Morrison portrays the Clone Troopers and Commander Cody, who are clones of the bounty hunter, Jango Fett; 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, Wayne Pygram appears as a younger Grand Moff 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 possibly provides the uncredited voice of Darth Vader; when specifically asked if he had supplied the voice—either newly or from a previous recording—Jones answered, "You'd have to ask Lucas about that. I don't know".
Director George Lucas cameos as Baron Papanoida, a blue-faced being attending the Coruscant Opera House. Lucas' son Jett portrays a young Jedi-in-training named Zett Jukassa. Lucas' daughter Amanda appears as a character called Terr Taneel, seen in the security hologram; while his other daughter Katie as 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 (she also has a brief speaking role in one of the deleted scenes where Padmé is meeting in secret with other senators). When Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine arrive via shuttle to the Senate docks after crash landing on Coruscant, the Millennium Falcon can be seen landing on one of the lower platforms as the shuttle approaches.
Lucas has stated that he conceived the Star Wars saga's fundamental story in the form of a basic plot outline in 1973. He later made it clear, however, that at the time of the saga's conception, he had not fully realized the details—only major plot points throughout the series, and these would evolve over time. He began working on Episode III even before the previous film, Attack of the Clones, was released, proposing to concept artists that the film would open with a montage of seven battles on seven planets. Lucas reviewed the storyline that summer and radically re-organized the plot. Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, surmises that Lucas found flaws with Anakin's fall to the dark side, and made massive story changes. For instance, instead of opening the film with various Clone Wars battles, Lucas decided instead to focus on Anakin, ending the film's first act with his killing of Count Dooku, an action that signals his descent to the dark side.
A significant number of fans speculated online about the film's subtitle; rumored titles included Rise of the Empire, The Creeping Fear (which was also named as the film's title on the official website on April Fool's 2004), and Birth of the Empire. Eventually, Revenge of the Sith also became a "guessed title" that George Lucas would later announce to be true. The title is a reference to Revenge of the Jedi, the original title of Return of the Jedi; Lucas changed the title scant weeks before the premiere of Return of the Jedi, declaring that Jedi do not seek revenge.
Since Lucas refocused the film on Anakin, he had to sacrifice certain extraneous plot points relating to Attack of the Clones. Lucas had previously promised fans that he would explain the mystery behind the erasure of the planet Kamino from the Jedi Archives. However, Lucas abandoned this plot thread in order to devote more time to Anakin's story, leaving the matter unresolved on film. As a compromise, Lucas permitted author James Luceno to explain the mystery of Kamino's erasure and the origins of the Clone army in his expanded universe novel Labyrinth of Evil.
Lucas had originally planned to include even more ties to the original trilogy, and wrote early drafts of the script in which a 10-year-old Han Solo appeared on Kashyyyk, but the role was not cast or shot. He also wrote a scene in which Palpatine reveals to Anakin that he created him from midichlorians, and is thus his "father," a clear parallel to Vader's revelation to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, but Lucas ejected this scene as well.
After principal photography was complete in 2003, Lucas made even more changes in Anakin's character, sharpening Anakin's motivations for turning to the dark side. Lucas accomplished this "rewrite" through editing the principal footage and filming new scenes during pick-ups in London in 2004. In the previous versions, Anakin had a myriad of reasons for turning to the dark side, one of which was his sincere belief that the Jedi were plotting to take over the Republic. Although this is still intact in the finished film, by revising and refilming many scenes, Lucas emphasized Anakin's desire to save Padmé from death. Thus, in the version that made it to theatres, Anakin falls to the dark side primarily to save Padmé.
After the screenplay's earliest draft was submitted, the art department began designing the various ways that each element could appear on screen.
For the Kashyyyk environment, the art department turned to the much derided Star Wars Holiday Special for inspiration. 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.
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, 2003 to September 17, 2003, with additional photography occurring at Shepperton Studios and Elstree Studios in London from August 2004 to January 31, 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 (they were later damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami). 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.
While shooting key dramatic scenes, Lucas would often use an "A camera" and "B camera", or the "V technique", a process that involves shooting with two or more cameras at the same time in order to gain several angles of the same performance. Using the HD technology developed for the film, the filmmakers were able to send footage to the editors the same day it was shot, a process that would require a full 24 hours had it been shot on film. Footage featuring the planet Mustafar was given to editor Roger Barton, who was on location in Sydney, Australia cutting the climactic duel. All other footage was forwarded to lead editor Ben Burtt at Skywalker Ranch in California.
Actors Hayden 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 memorize and perform their duel together. As in the previous two prequel films, McGregor and Christensen performed their own lightsaber fighting scenes without the use of stunt doubles. The speed at which Anakin 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 Anakin 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. As Christensen recounted, it was originally intended to simply have a "tall guy" in the Darth Vader costume. But after "begging and pleading" with 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 feet 1 inch or 1.85 metres tall) to look through the helmet's mouthpiece.
In 2004, Gary Oldman was originally approached to provide the voice of General Grievous; however, complications arose during contract negotiations after Oldman learned the film was to be made outside of the Screen Actors Guild, of which he is a member. He backed out of the role rather than violate the union's rules. Matthew Wood, who ultimately voiced Grievous, disputed this story at Celebration III, held in Indianapolis. According to him, Oldman is a friend of producer Rick McCallum, and thus recorded an audition as a favor to him, but was not chosen. Wood, who was also the supervising sound editor, was in charge of the auditions and submitted his audition anonymously in the midst of 30 others, under the initials "A.S." for Alan Smithee. Days later he received a phone call asking for the full name to the initials "A.S." An internet hoax said John Rhys-Davies was considered for the role.
The post-production department began work during filming and continued until weeks before the film was released in 2005. Special effects were created using almost all formats, including model work, CGI and practical effects. The same department later composited all such work into the filmed scenes—both processes taking nearly two years to complete. Revenge of the Sith has 2,151 shots that use special effects, a world record.
As the DVD featurette Within a Minute illustrates, the film required 910 artists and 70,441 man-hours to create 49 seconds of footage for the Mustafar duel alone. Members of Hyperspace, the Official Star Wars Fan Club, received a special look into the production. Benefits included not only special articles, but they also received access to a webcam that transmitted a new image every 20 seconds during the time it was operating in Fox Studios Australia. Many times the stars, and Lucas himself, were spotted on the webcam.
During the process of shaping the film for its theatrical release, Lucas and his editors dropped many scenes, and even an entire subplot, from the completed film.
Lucas excised all the scenes of a group of Senators (including Padmé, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly)) organizing an alliance to prevent the Chancellor from receiving 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 cut, but is featured in a deleted scene in the DVD release, although McCallum stated he hopes Lucas may add it to the release if Lucas releases a six-episode DVD box set.
Bai Ling filmed minor scenes for the film playing a senator, but her role was cut during editing. She claimed this was because she posed for the June 2005 issue of Playboy, whose appearance on newsstands coincided with the film's May release. Lucas denied this, stating that the cut had been made more than a year earlier, and that he had cut his own daughter's scenes as well.
The film's soundtrack was released by Sony Classical on May 3, 2005, more than two weeks before the film's release. The music was composed and conducted by John Williams (who composed and conducted the score for the other six films in the Star Wars saga), and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices. A music video titled A Hero Falls was created for the film's theme, "Battle of the Heroes", featuring footage from the film and was also available on the DVD.
The soundtrack also came with a collectors' DVD, Star Wars: A Musical Journey, at no additional cost. The DVD, hosted by McDiarmid, features 16 music videos set to remastered selections of music from all six film scores, set chronologically through the saga. This album was chosen as one of Amazon.com's Top 100 Editors' Picks of 2005 (#83).
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith charity premieres took place in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Miami on Thursday, May 12, 2005; and on May 13, 2005, there were two additional charity premiere screenings in George Lucas's hometown of Modesto.The official premiere was at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival (out of competition) on May 16. Its theatrical release in most other countries took place on May 19 to coincide with the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace (the 1977 release of A New Hope and the 1983 release of Return of the Jedi were also released on the same day and month, six years apart). The global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas claimed one week before the premiere that it may have cost the U.S. economy approximately US$627 million in lost productivity because of employees who took a day off or reported in sick. Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a traditional venue for the Star Wars films, did not show it. However, a line of people stood there for more than a month hoping to convince someone to change this. Most of them took advantage of an offer to see the film at a nearby cinema, ArcLight Cinemas (formerly the "Cinerama Dome"). On May 16, the Empire Cinema in London's Leicester Square hosted a day-long Star Wars marathon showing of all six films; an army of Imperial stormtroopers "guarded" the area, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gave a free concert of Star Wars music.
A copy of the film leaked onto peer-to-peer file sharing networks just hours after opening in theaters. The film was a time-stamped workprint, suggesting it may have come from within the industry rather than from someone who videotaped an advance screening. Eight people were later charged with copyright infringement and distributing material illegally. Documents filed by the Los Angeles District Attorney allege that a copy of the film was taken from an unnamed Californian post-production office by an employee, who later pleaded guilty to his charges. The illegal copy was passed among seven people until reaching an eighth party, who also pleaded guilty to uploading to an unnamed P2P network.
Shortly after the above-mentioned print was leaked, it was released in Shanghai as a bootleg DVD with Chinese subtitles. The unknown producer of this DVD also chose to include English subtitles, which were in fact translated back into English from the Chinese translation, rather than using the original English script. This translation was particularly inept, most likely due to the result of being machine translated from the Chinese script, translating many characters literally and losing the meaning of words, leading to unintentional humor; the title of the film, for example, was given as Star War — The third gathers — The Backstroke of the West. One error in translation that recurs several times in the film is that the phrase "it seems" (好象) was rendered as "good elephant". Jedi Council becomes Presbyterian Church. The mis-translation also caused the word "fuck" (a mis-translation of "work") to appear four times in the subtitles, and rendered Darth Vader's cry of "Noooooooo" (不要) as "Do not want." This last translation error would later be popularized as an internet meme.
Revenge of the Sith is the first Star Wars film to receive a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), officially for "sci-fi violence and some intense images", namely for the scene in which Darth Vader is set aflame by lava and molten rock. Lucas had stated months before the MPAA's decision that he felt the film should receive a PG-13 rating, because of Anakin's final moments and the film's content being the darkest and most intense of all six films. Some critics, including Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, later responded that children would be able to handle the film as long as they had parental guidance, hence a "PG rating". All previously released films in the series were rated PG. The PG-13 rating had not existed when the films in the original trilogy were released; however, the original trilogy's films were later re-submitted to the MPAA due to changes in the re-released versions and once again received PG ratings. When Revenge of the Sith was released in Canada, it was given a PG rating in most provinces, excluding Quebec, where it was rated G. In the United Kingdom it received a 12A rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). In Australia, the film was rated M for mature audiences by the Australian Classification Board (ACB).
The film was released on DVD on October 31, 2005 (Halloween), in the United Kingdom, on November 1, 2005, in the United States and Canada and on November 3, 2005, in Australia. It was also released in most major territories on or near the same day. The DVD was a two-disc set, with picture and sound mastered from the original digital source material.
The DVD included a number of documentaries including a new full-length documentary as well as two featurettes, one which explores the prophecy of Anakin Skywalker as the Chosen One, the other looking at the film's stunts and a Rob Coleman, and ILM visual effects supervisors John Knoll and Roger Guyett. were included with introductions from Lucas and McCallum. An Xbox game demo for Star Wars: Battlefront II along with a trailer for the Star Wars: Empire at War PC game was featured on the second disc.of web-documentaries from the official web site. Like the other DVD releases, included is an audio commentary track featuring Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, animation director
This release is notable because, due to marketing issues, it was the first Star Wars film never to be released on VHS in the United States. However, the film was released on VHS in Australia, the U.K. and other countries in the world.
The DVD was re-released in a prequel trilogy box set on November 4, 2008.
On April 7, 2015, the Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm jointly announced the digital releases of the six released Star Wars films. As Lucasfilm had retained digital distribution rights to Episodes I thru III and V thru VI, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Revenge of the Sith for digital download on April 10, 2015.
On September 28, 2010, it was announced that all six films in the series were to be stereo-converted to 3D. The films would be re-released in chronological order beginning with The Phantom Menace on February 10, 2012. Revenge of the Sith was originally scheduled to be re-released in 3D on October 11, 2013 (later pushed up to October 4, 2013). However, on January 28, 2013, Lucasfilm announced that it was postponing the 3D release of episodes II and III in order to "focus 100 percent of our efforts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and that further information about 3D release plans would be issued at a later date. The premiere of the 3D version was shown on April 17, 2015, at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave Revenge of the Sith a 79% approval rating and average rating of 7.3/10 based on 282 reviews from critics, with the consensus being "With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant – if still a bit uneven – conclusion."  At Metacritic, it gave the film a 68 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".
Most critics have considered the film to be the best of the prequels. A. O. Scott of The New York Times concluded that it was "the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed," and equal to The Empire Strikes Back as "the richest and most challenging movie in the cycle". In a 2007 summary of the 100 Best Science-Fiction Films on Rotten Tomatoes, Revenge of the Sith was placed 51 out of 100, making it the only prequel film in the Star Wars series to earn a ranking. Jonathan Rosenbaum, a critic who disliked A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, gave the film a positive review saying that it had a "relatively thoughtful story." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3½ stars out of four, writing "If [Lucas] got bogged down in solemnity and theory in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the Force is in a jollier mood this time, and Revenge of the Sith is a great entertainment."
In 2012, art critic Camille Paglia praised the film in Glittering Images, comparing some of its scenes to works by modern painters and calling it the greatest work of art in recent memory. Paglia explained, "The long finale of Revenge of the Sith has more inherent artistic value, emotional power, and global impact than anything by the artists you name. It's because the art world has flat-lined and become an echo chamber of received opinion and toxic over-praise. It's like the emperor's new clothes -- people are too intimidated to admit what they secretly think or what they might think with their blinders off. Episode III epitomizes the modern digital art movement, more so than other piece from the last 30 years. I had considered using Japanese anime for the digital art chapter of the book, but it lacked the overwhelming operatic power and yes, seriousness of Lucas's Revenge of the Sith."
Though many critics and fans saw it as one of the best of the series, or at least, the strongest of the three prequels, some saw it as more or less on par with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Much of the criticism for the film was directed towards the dialogue, particularly the film's romantic scenes, and for Hayden Christensen's performance (which won him his second Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor). Critics and fans alike were quick to jump on such lines as "Hold me, Ani. Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo...where there was nothing but our love..." Critics have claimed this demonstrated Lucas' weakness as a writer of dialogue, a subject with which Lucas openly agreed when receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
Some American conservatives criticized the film, claiming it has a liberal bias and is a commentary on the George W. Bush administration and the Iraq War. Some websites went so far as to propose a boycott of the film. Lucas defended the film, stating that the film's storyline was written during the Vietnam War and was influenced by that conflict rather than the war in Iraq. Lucas did note, however, that "The parallels between Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable".
Box office performance
The film was released in 115 countries. Its worldwide gross eventually reached $849 million—making it the second most financially successful film of 2005, behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The film earned an estimated $16.91 million from 2,900 midnight screenings in North America upon its release. In total, it earned a record $50 million on its opening day. It was surpassed the following year by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which earned $55.5 million on its opening day.
With only the May 19 earnings, the film broke four box office records: midnight screenings gross (previously held by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, $8 million), opening day gross (Spider-Man 2, with $40.4 million), single day gross (Shrek 2 with $44.8 million) and Thursday gross (The Matrix Reloaded with $37.5 million). Its single day gross record and opening day gross record were later surpassed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on July 7, 2006, when that movie grossed $55.5 million on its opening day, and midnight screening gross was broken by The Dark Knight on July 18, 2008 with $18.5 million. It still retains its record for Thursday gross, however. According to box office analysis sites, the film set American records for highest gross in a given number of days for each of its first 12 days of release except for the seventh and eighth, where the record is narrowly held by Spider-Man 2. On its fifth day, it became the highest-grossing film of 2005, surpassing Hitch ($177.6 million). The film earned $158.5 million in its first four-day period, surpassing the previous four-day record held by The Matrix Reloaded ($134.3 million), and joining Spider-Man, The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the only films to make $100 million in three days. In eight days, it reached the $200 million mark (record tied with Spider-Man 2) and by its 17th day, the film had passed $300 million (surpassing the record of 18 days of Shrek 2). It was eventually the third-fastest film (after Shrek 2 and Spider-Man) to reach $350 million.
The film ended its run in American theaters on October 20, 2005, finishing with a total gross of $380,270,577. It ranks 20th in all-time domestic grosses and is the highest-grossing film of 2005 in the U.S., outgrossing second-place The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by nearly $90 million.
International grosses that exceeded $10 million include Australia ($27.2 million), France and Algeria ($56.9 million), Germany ($47.3 million), Italy ($11.3 million), Japan ($82.7 million), Mexico ($15.3 million), South Korea ($10.3 million), Spain ($23.8 million), and the United Kingdom and Ireland ($72.8 million).
Post the release of Revenge of the Sith—the completion of the original and prequel Star Wars series—on June 9, 2005, George Lucas was presented with the 33rd American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award. The institute honored his "astonishing contributions to the art and technology of filmmaking, as well as the impact of the epic Star Wars series".
Despite being the prequel trilogy's best reviewed and received film, it received fewer award nominations than the previous films. It became the only Star Wars film not to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects; however, it was nominated for Best Makeup (Dave Elsey and Nikki Gooley), losing to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It also won "Favorite Motion Picture" and "Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture" awards at the People's Choice Awards, "Hollywood Movie of the Year" award at the Hollywood Film Festival, Empire Awards (Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film), and the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie - Action. It also was nominated for Best Score Soundtrack Album at the 48th Grammy Awards in 2006.
As every film of the original trilogy, the film won the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. Williams also won Best Music. The film was nominated for ten Saturn Awards overall, including Best Director and Best Writing for Lucas, Best Actor for Christensen, Best Actress for Natalie Portman and Best Supporting Actor for Ian McDiarmid.
The film did, however, receive the fewest Golden Raspberry Awards nominations: only one, for Christensen as Worst Supporting Actor, which he won. (The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones received seven nominations each, with one and two wins, respectively.) It is the only Star Wars prequel not to receive a Razzie nomination for "Worst Picture". Christensen further won the "Best Villain" award at the MTV Movie Awards.
Throughout Revenge of the Sith, Lucas refers to a wide range of films and other sources, drawing on political, military, and mythological motifs to enhance his story's impact. Perhaps the most media coverage was given to a particular exchange between Anakin and Obi-Wan, which led to the aforementioned controversy: "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy", Anakin declares. Despite Lucas' insistence to the contrary, The Seattle Times concluded, "Without naming Bush or the Patriot Act, it's all unmistakable no matter what your own politics may be."
McDiarmid, Lucas, and others have also called Anakin's journey to the dark side Faustian in the sense of making a "pact with the devil" for short-term gain, with the fiery volcano planet Mustafar representing hell. Midway through the film, Lucas intercuts between Anakin and Padmé by themselves, thinking about one another in the Jedi Temple and their apartment, respectively, during sunset. The sequence is without dialog and complemented by a moody, synthesized soundtrack. Lucas' coverage of the exterior cityscapes, skylines and interior isolation in the so-called "Ruminations" sequence is similar to the cinematography and mise-en-scène of Rosemary's Baby, a film in which a husband makes a literal pact with the devil.
As with the previous film and its allusions to The Empire Strikes Back, some deliberately placed references have been made to draw allusions with Return of the Jedi. The title is similar in style to the original planned "Revenge of the Jedi". Some dialog is mirrored in both films especially the line "I can feel your anger!" spoken by Palpatine, who also orders his personal entourage/bodyguards to "Leave us" at important moments in both films. Darth Vader attempts to play on Luke's fear of loss by taunting him with threats against Leia. His own fear of the loss of Padme is what draws him to the dark side. Prior to settling on the Ewoks as the main helpers, the Wookiee race was originally planned to be in Jedi.
The film's novelization was written by Matthew Stover. It includes much more dialogue than the film, including a conversation between Count Dooku and Darth Sidious, where the reader learns Palpatine lied to Dooku about what the Empire would truly be, a conversation between Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi where Kenobi expresses self-doubt about whether he is the right Jedi to battle General Grievous, only to be told by Windu that while many consider him (Windu) to be a master-swordsman due to his creation of the Vaapad fighting style, he considers Kenobi the superior swordsman because he took an existing style (Soresu) and mastered it to the highest degree, and a conversation between Anakin and Palpatine in which Palpatine promises to give Anakin anything he wants—whether it be a new speeder or the star system Corellia. The novel includes many minor details. For example, during the Battle of Coruscant, Anakin's callsign is Red 5, a reference to Luke's callsign in the climactic battle of A New Hope, and one of the Republic capital ships is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Lorth Needa, who becomes Captain Needa in The Empire Strikes Back. There are also references to the Star Wars: Republic comic book series, such as the Battle of Jabiim (Volume 3). In addition to this, the siege of the Jedi Temple is much more violent and far more graphically explained than the cinematic version.
Some unseen or unheard-of elements to the Revenge of the Sith story were fleshed out in the course of the novel. Such examples include more discussions between Anakin and Palpatine, in which Palpatine explicitly says that Darth Plagueis was his master; in the film, it is merely hinted at. Additionally, it is revealed that the primary reason for Anakin's outrage over not becoming a Jedi Master is that only Masters have access to the holocrons in the Temple Archives, which is where Anakin had hoped to find information about how to prevent Padme's death. Not only is Saesee Tiin revealed to be a telepath, but his horn, lost in the Clone Wars, is revealed to have grown back. The book explains that Palpatine purposely manipulated the Council into sending Obi-Wan to fight General Grievous, because he knew he needed to get Obi-Wan off Coruscant before he could turn Anakin to the Dark Side—this later proved necessary when Anakin's reaction to learning that Palpatine is the Sith Lord is to think "If only Obi-Wan were here—Obi-Wan would know what to say. What to do. Obi-Wan could handle this. Right now, [Anakin] knew he [couldn't]." The novel also reveals Mace Windu's rationale for not bringing Anakin along to the fight with Palpatine—he could sense Anakin's fear and distress, and did not believe he was in any mental state to be fighting a Sith Lord. These are a few examples of many descriptions of characters' feelings and inner narrative. There are even some humorous lines added in, including extra dialogue in the battle between Grievous and Obi Wan—Grievous says, "I was trained by Count Dooku," and Obi-Wan replies, "What a coincidence; I trained the man who killed him".
A video game based on the film was released on May 5, 2005, two weeks before the film. The game followed the film's storyline for the most part, integrating scenes from the film. However, many sections of the game featured scenes cut from the film, or entirely new scenes for the game. The style of the game was mostly lightsaber combat and fighting as Obi-Wan or Anakin. It also has a form of multiplayer mode, which includes both "VS" and "Cooperative" mode. In the first mode, two players fight with characters of their choice against each other in a lightsaber duel to the death. In the latter mode, two players team up to combat increasingly difficult waves of enemies.
- Dystopian fiction; one of the film's genres
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Prior to the Company’s acquisition, Lucasfilm produced six Star Wars films (Episodes 1 through 6). Lucasfilm retained the rights to consumer products related to all of the films and the rights related to television and electronic distribution formats for all of the films, with the exception of the rights for Episode 4, which are owned by a third-party studio. All of the films are distributed by a third-party studio in the theatrical and home video markets. The theatrical and home video distribution rights for these films revert to Lucasfilm in May 2020 with the exception of Episode 4, for which these distribution rights are retained in perpetuity by the third-party studio.
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