Duel of Destiny

Warning! Warning!Spoilers approaching! From the beheading of Count Dooku to the genocide of Jedi younglings to Anakin’s
physical abuse of his dear Padmé, there will be little doubt why Revenge of the Sith might get slapped with a PG-13 rating. The film is also loaded with battles royal. Some are supersize, like the firefight between the Republic and Separatist forces over the planet Coruscant that kicks off the flick. Others are classic one-on-ones: Yoda vs. Palpatine; R2-D2 vs. a deadly droid; Anakin vs. Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson); and a penultimate face-off between Anakin and Obi-Wan where, says producer Rick McCallum, “there’s no question Anakin will eat it and eat it big time.”
But the executive warns that the sequence, which required three months of rehearsal and much buffing up for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, is more “intense and powerful because of what it means emotionally than for its technical wizardry.” In other words, George Lucas couldn’t go all House of Flying Daggers on us. “Stylistically, the duel has to fit into the bigger saga,” McCallum says. “We couldn’t break with Star Wars tradition and do it in slo-mo or have them jumping at heights we’ve never seen them jump before.”
But Christensen still got his geek on. A lifelong Lucas fan — as a kid he used to pay to get into theaters just to see a Star Wars trailer — the actor kept his lightsaber after completing the fight sequence, with the boss’ permission, natch. “I also nicked a few other items I won’t mention,” admits Christensen. But his best souvenir will never wind up on eBay. “People are already coming up to me on the street and saying, ‘Hey, I wanna shake Darth Vader’s hand!’ And that is an honor I’ll have in my back pocket for the rest of my life.” Christensen might say that playing such a legendary villain is a dream come true. But, notes the actor, “Nobody could possibly dream this big.”

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