The once-astonishing Matrix franchise came to a slow, arduous, painful
Revenge of the Sith marked a significant uptick in quality from the first two films in the new Star Wars trilogy. That still didn’t help it be anything great, which speaks to how poor the first two films were. Part of the allure of Sith is probably due to the fact that it is much darker, and it ties everything together, so it has that exciting element.
It still has that Darth Vader scream though…
1. The original cut of the film ran nearly four hours. The opening battle/Palpatine rescue alone ran over an hour.
2. To continue the random collection of props in effects scenes… In the opening sequence when the second Separatist ship is destroyed, a piece of debris flies into the Clone Star destroyer that shot it. That piece of debris is a Kitchen Sink. It was it put in there by ILM as a joke from someone saying, “We’re throwing everything in the sequence but the kitchen sink.”
3. This is the only film in the series to have an MPAA rating higher than PG; a PG-13.
4. The opening shot of the film lasts 76 seconds after the disappearance of the opening crawl, the longest of any Star Wars film.
5. Christopher Lee filmed all his scenes in two days. His filming schedule was moved up to follow pick-up shots for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in New Zealand. All of his scenes were shot in front of a blue screen because the General’s Quarters set had not yet been built.
6. Francis Ford Coppola suggested Christopher Neil to George Lucas to be the dialogue coach. Lucas said that given the emotional intensity of the film, and the fact that he rarely has time to converse with the actors, it would be ideal for someone else to be there to get the strongest performances possible.
7. Although no live-action location filming was done during principal photography, post-production filming was done in Thailand, Switzerland and China to represent background plates for the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk.
8. In the Wookiee army scene, there are only 10 men in Wookiee suits. They were repositioned multiple times so the various shots could be combined with computer duplicated Wookiees.
9. In 2007, Dr. Eric Bui, a psychiatrist in Toulouse, France, co-wrote a study that diagnosed Anakin Skywalker as having borderline personality disorder. When the authors reported their findings at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association they stated that Skywalker fit the diagnosis criteria: difficulty controlling anger, stress-related breaks with reality, impulsivity, obsession with abandonment and a “pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of ideation and devaluation”.
10. Gary Oldman had agreed to be the voice of General Grievous, but pulled out of the film because it was being made using actors who are not part of the Screen Actor’s Guild, of which Oldman is a member. The role was read by Duncan Young on set, and finally voiced by Matthew Wood, who, being a Lucasfilm employee, submitted his reading under the name of Alan Smithee, which is a common name used in replacement.
11. Originally, a young Han Solo was going to make an appearance in the film, living among the Wookies on Kashyyyk.
12. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen trained for two months in fencing and fitness in preparation for their fight sequences.
13. George Lucas deliberately made the Darth Vader suit top-heavy (for instance adding weight on the helmet) to make Hayden Christensen not appear “too accustomed” to it in the movie.
14. George Lucas allowed his friend Steven Spielberg to help design some sequences during pre-production. This was partly because Spielberg wanted the experience of using the ‘pre-visualisation’ techniques pioneered by ILM as he was going to use them for War of the Worlds. It was also because Lucas felt that his roles as Writer, Director, Executive Producer and Financier were taking up too much of his time and he needed another director to bounce ideas off. Spielberg’s main contribution was in the climactic lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin.
15. Hayden Christensen gained 24 pounds for this film. He did so by eating six meals a day.
16. The images of the volcanic eruption on Mustafar was real footage of Mt. Etna in Italy which was erupting at the time of production.
17. For some shots during the birth scene, the infant Luke and Leia are portrayed by an animatronic puppet. As this puppet was operated by Ewan McGregor, the cast jokingly referred to it as “Foamy-Wan Kenobi.”