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Welcome to
Roderick Vonhögen's
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June 2005
From Revenge ... to Hope .....
19th June 2005
Star Wars : Episode III : Revenge of the Sith has been out for a month now. It's been, by and large, a hit with the critics, the fans, and the general movie-watching audience. There are some good reviews out there, in particular T'Bone's at I think everyone is agreed that it does a valiant job in wrapping up the loose ends and ties the two trilogies together - many reviewers announce that at the end of Sith all they want to do is watch Episode IV, which must surely be a sign of a good story !
It is indeed a visual marvel, a mostly satisfying experience, and probably the most emotional of all the six episodes as the fates of the Republic, the Jedi, Anakin, and Padmé unfurl relentlessly to their conclusion. The good-natured banter between Anakin and Obi-Wan helped soften their initial harshness in Episode II, as did their synchronicity in flying and fighting : they're now a battle-hardened team, respecting each other's powerful abilities and strengths. It also helps to fore-shadow the tear that will rip them apart !
The montage of the 'Jedi Purge', beautifully underscored by Williams' lamentation, pulls on the heartstrings as we witness the Kaminoan auto-teachings unleash Sidious' "Order 66", the 'sleeper' instruction to the clone troopers to kill all the far-flung Jedi, suddenly heavily outnumbered by their own battalions ! The many 'sabre duels are breathtaking, though, for me, the scene that brought a gasp was when Sidious lowers his cloak hood about his face, and for a brief second we are seeing and hearing his character from Return of the Jedi, the sixth episode, set just over 20 years in the future, and filmed twenty years ago !
The film is not without its flaws, however. T'Bone makes valid comments about the edit and clarity. But within the story additional questions arise, answers to which may have been reached from elements that were cut from the script and the footage. Such decisions were obviously made with a logic ... but further clarification would have helped. The edit was driven not only by the pacing and length of the film, but also by Lucas' decision to focus on Anakin's plight solely, and not be distracted by too many of the subplots.
One of these was the story of the growing rebellion against Palpatine's tyranny. We saw Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and other senators enlist the help ofPadmé Amidala to petition Palpatine to relinquish his control, a nice link in to the OT, which interestingly, is driven more by the political story than the Skywalker one ! Similarly, supporting Tarkin's cameo on the Star Destroyer at the end of Episode III, there was the Supreme Chancellor's announcement that the security crisis necessitated new "Regional Governors" commanding sectors of star systems. For the sake of an extra 5-10 minutes, it would have been nice to have picked up on these cues to further bridge across to Episode IV.
The Sifo-Dyas enigma and the puzzle of who tampered with the Jedi Library was an early casualty of the script drafts, preferring to leave it to the EU novels to provide a fuller explanation. Now, unless you read the novel 'Labyrinth of Evil' that leads into Revenge of the Sith, the viewer will be left without the detail that ties Dooku's actions with the deceased Jedi Master and the Sith Lord Sidious.
Influencing the creators of Life, the midichlorians, and the ability to extend Life, are two carrots dangled before us. Palpatine speaks of his former master, Darth Plagueis, who supposedly could manipulate the midichlorians to create life, as well as keep death at bay. Now there has been much discussion regarding the first announcement, with speculation that either of the Sith Lords had engineered the conception of Anakin ; and similarly, whether or not Sidious did indeed have the "unnatural" ability to extend life. The only common agreement it seems is that "lies and deceit are the ways of the Dark Side" ! Intruigingly, Sidious reveals to Anakin that "to cheat death is a power only one has achieved" ; again, I have read that the fans appear split in their understanding of to whom Sidious is referring : Master Plagueis ... or Master Qui-Gon ; personally, I lean towards the idea that Sidious, through the disturbance in the Force, recognised the discoverer of this at the same time Yoda did, namely, when Anakin was slaughtering the Tuskens on Tatooine.
A closing shot of Yoda arriving on Dagobah was removed for fear of "too many finales". This is understandable, and it helps preserve the mystery of his exile, but again, most fans would enjoy seeing an early glimpse of this significant swamp world.
A fuller explanation for the "trick" of Jedi being able to retain their identity after death as 'Force Ghosts' was promised for the third episode, but now it's reduced to a line of dialogue that many said they missed when they first saw the film. As stated by Lucas back in '97 in Bouzereau's superb book on the draft developments, this is a trick learnt by Yoda and Obi-Wan between the trilogies and would "never be seen" ; then, after The Phantom Menace, Lucas began hinting that more would be revealed on this aspect. In Episode II we mysteriously hear the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn, the maverick 'prophet' Jedi Master, and witness that Jedi do not disappear by default when they die. In Episode III, Yoda reveals to his one-time apprentice that he has been communing with the deceased Master, and that they would help teach this ability to Obi-Wan during his exile on Tatooine. What appears in the script is a prefix to the scene on Polis Massa with Yoda meditating : here, the aged Jedi Master speaks with the disembodied voice of Qui-Gon, and learns that the latter discovered the secret from a Whill Shaman, immortality powered by unconditional compassionate love, and that Yoda may be wise enough to preserve his corporeal form too. Thus, the 'love' aspect would underscore Luke's fateful choice on the second Death Star, and his father's ultimate sacrifice for his son, as well as present Yoda as the all-powerful Master Jedi that he deservedly is in learning to retain his form, and tie in with the mythic and fairytale themes - intrinsic to Star Wars - that depict a life-giving kiss.
And the emotional scene in Return of the Jedi between Luke and his new-found sister Leia, where she reveals what little she recalls of their mother, seems to initially contradict their fate as babies at the end of Sith. It appears now that, canonically, it is implied that Bail must show Leia imagery of Padmé, for neither baby spends enough time with their mother, nor 'Force-bond' which was a favourite speculation by many a fan ! And the significance of seeing the Naberrie family in the funeral cortége is lost whilst their scenes remain cut from Attack of the Clones.
Such scenes and ideas remain candidates for the dvd releases, be they bonus material or included seamlessly within the film(s). And what with the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars in 2007, could there be fuller theatrical re-releases to look forward to ....?? ;o)
Notwithstanding my comments and concerns above, this final instalment of the Star Wars Saga is a mighty entry in the pantheon, and an utter delight to watch. It seamlessly links us to Episode IV with the rise of the Emperor and the fly-by of Bail's starship, the Tantive IV, soon to become Princess Leia's diplomatically immune rebel blockade runner ! The Imperial Empire has arisen and subsumed all other manufacturers. The clone troops, discovered by Obi-Wan and employed by Master Yoda, are now Imperial stormtroopers, and Tarkin oversees the construction of the Geonosians' Death Star. The tyranny of the Sith Emperor will begin to be tested by the fledging hidden rebel alliance, inspired by Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. Lord Vader will hunt down the remaining Jedi Knights who survived the impact of 'Order 66'. The New Hope for the galaxy lies in the fate of twin babies separated to far-flung planets, and their exiled Jedi guardians.
In other news, details for the proposed TV series have been revealed. A 3-D cartoon series of the Clone Wars ; and the live-action series, based on the high-production values of LFL's Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series, might well be located between episodes III and IV, with Boba Fett making an appearance. It makes sense to utilise such 'masked' characters as Vader, the droids, Chewbacca, and even Yoda, and it is not inconceivable to offer Ewan McGregor a cameo here and there too !
The Official Site followed the release of Episode III with the 18th web-doc for Hyperspace subscribers, a fascinating and anecdotal insight into the true villain of the piece, Darth Sidious !
The last two weeks of May saw myself and my fiancée, Joanne, on holiday in California, where, as I did three years previously, we met up with some of the long-time forumers to see Revenge of the Sith ! It was great to see Jom, Indy, and Mudorian again, and to discuss at length this latest episode !
On May the 31st, posts on the discussion board were severely damaged by a malicious widespread attack on the 'EZ' host's servers. Only now are lost threads being re-generated by the repair team, and please note that not all may be returned. Still, discussion continues, and the warm sense of community welcomes you !
Nathaniel Reed, 19th June 2005
The Discussion Forum
spoilers within some threads
Click here for the fan version of Episode III or ...... or click here for the spy version of Episode III
Rebel rumours for III
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"We need more time !"

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