Obi Wan’s words to Luke in Return of the Jedi spell out the central story of Revenge of the Sith. But the devil is in the detail. George Lucas has enjoyed playing with expectations in his prequels, and many of the things fans and spin-off writers have taken for granted were turned on their head. If Yoda can lead an army of clonetroopers in defence of Palpatine, then you can be sure there will be a few twists in the tale of the rise of Darth Vader. That said, the moment where Vader first puts on the helmet and speaks like James Earl Jones is eagerly anticipated. Can it possibly live up to expectation, when the expectation is ‘the most powerful scene in the history of cinema’?
Palpatine’s plan has seen him organize the brutal invasion of his home planet, raise two massive armies merely as a distraction and him sacrificing and replacing his allies like most people change socks. While Yoda has his suspicions and fears for Anakin, Palpatine has avoided all detection. Now, he will be revealed as Darth Sidious and will declare himself Emperor. Those scenes about treaties and trade sanctions are paid off, as Yoda and Palpatine go head-to-head on the Senate floor, and we get to see why someone as powerful as Darth Vader would kneel before the Emperor. Not to mention the terrible health and safety consequences of having all those floating platforms bobbing about.
Unlike a lesser fantasy trilogy, Christopher Lee’s character has not been dropped between episodes two and three of Star Wars. Anakin lost his hand fighting Dooku the last time they met, and will be keen to settle a score. At the end of Attack of the Clones, Dooku was Palpatine’s apprentice, by Star Wars it’s Vader… it’s not too hard to guess how Vader might have got Dooku’s old job. But Dooku’s Separatist forces have the same insignia as the Rebel Alliance will have. How does Dooku’s private army come to be a guerilla force set against the Emperor’s rule? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, anyway?
The Clone Wars
entioned once in the original trilogy, the one thing we won’t see in Revenge of the Sith is much of the Clone Wars. We don’t need to, and – as with Obi Wan training Anakin – Lucas has wisely decided to have most of what we already know happen between films. The first sequence of the movie is the last battle of the Wars. If you want to see the Clone Wars, the animated series will scratch the itch. And make you wonder why all the Separatist ships explode even if you just give them a little tap.
Plus: character deaths, Leia’s mother, the next generation, wiping memories, and more…
by Lance Parkin