The Star Wars franchise returned to the big screen in 2015 with The Force Awakens, though this Galaxy Far, Far Away has since found greater success on television than in theaters. The future of the franchise on the big screen now feels somewhat uncertain, though a handful of projects are in various stages of development.
None of them have definitive release dates, unfortunately, and it seems Lucasfilm is currently on expanding this franchise through Disney+ instead (which has proved to be no bad thing thus far).
To fill that Star Wars shaped void in your lives, we're now taking a look back at the Skywalker Saga, and after delving into The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it's now time to conclude this revisit of the prequels by exploring what did and didn't work in Revenge of the Sith.
Was it the perfect finale? No, but it was arguably better than The Rise of Skywalker, and this exploration of the movie might just give you a new way of thinking about Darth Vader's origin story.
So, to check this one out, all you guys need to do is click the "Next" button down below...
Did Work: Count Dooku's Demise
The battle between Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Count Dooku was a great way to kick off Revenge of the Sith, and while it’s hard to escape the feeling that it probably should have been a bigger moment a little later in the movie, the villain being executed by the young Jedi was still well-handled.
With Palpatine sitting in that chair, this sequence was one Lucas clearly went out of his way to ensure would share some similarities with the final duel in Return of the Jedi, offering a look at how it might have looked had Luke given into the Dark Side and decided to kill father.
That kind of symmetry was ultimately just a bonus, though, and seeing Palpatine push Anakin into executing his minion was a great way to tease his later transformation into Darth Vader.
Didn't Work: Some, Ahem, FORCE-d Moments
Lucas wasted a lot of time in the prequels, so it should come as no surprise that when it came to wrapping everything up, a lot of plot threads were not handled in the most satisfying manner.
So many of them were rushed, they came across somewhat forced, as a result, and failed to be anywhere near as effective as they should have been. Senator Bail Organa’s rash decision to adopt Leia is a good example of that, while both Obi-Wan and Yoda’s sudden departures for Dagobah and Tatooine felt more random than meaningful.
If anything, this trilogy needed a fourth instalment to properly set up the original trilogy, or at least more than a quick five minutes which made these vital plot threads feel like an afterthought.
Did Work: General Grievous
With Dooku dealt with fairly early on, Lucas added a new bad guy to Revenge of the Sith in the form of General Grievous. While it was a little strange for the Star Wars franchise to make use of yet another villain with breathing difficulties, that wasn’t what made him memorable.
It was the fact that he had the ability to wield several lightsabers at once (something we hadn’t seen in the franchise before) and the reveal that those blades once belonged to Jedi Knights he had murdered took this movie to some dark places, especially for the mostly child friendly prequels.
After so much questionable CGI in the movies which preceded this one, Grievous looked amazing, and had a very memorable battle with Obi-Wan which surprisingly saw him taken out with a blaster.
Didn't Work: Padme's Death
Talking about her mother in the original trilogy, Leia says she has some fleeting memories of her, an impossibility considering the fact Padme died in childbirth (though there have been suggested explanations pointing to Leia’s connection with the Force being responsible for those visions).
Regardless, it would have made sense for her to have survived beyond the end of this film, but Lucas needed to explain why Vader didn’t know about his children and get them to where they needed to be as quickly as possible, so Padme’s death ended up both rushed and forced.
We were supposed to believe that she died from a broken heart, but that just came across as being an easy excuse for finding a way to kill her off, and this wasn't the ending the character deserved.
Did Work: Order 66
One of the biggest unanswered questions heading into Revenge of the Sith was how and why the Republic’s army of clones would end up as part of the Empire. Instead, it turned out that Palpatine had been planning the fall of the Jedi for a long time, with Order 66 resulting in them turning on their allies and mowing them down where they stood.
Sure, it could be argued that the Jedi should have been able to easily take out these disposable clones, but an effective montage detailing their fall ended up being one of the best parts of this movie, and perhaps the Star Wars franchise as a whole. The sight of Anakin leading them all into the Jedi temple was quite something, as was seeing the Jedi fall.
Oh, and those poor younglings…if that's a moment which failed to stick with you, we don't know what to say.
Didn't Work: Too. Many. Visions
Because Anakin’s visions in Attack of the Clones weren’t tedious enough, we were forced to endure them again in Revenge of the Sith. This time, he was seeing the future, but not clearly enough to witness his descent to the Dark Side or the fact that he was responsible for killing his own wife!
Regardless, while Lucas used them as a way of trying to explain why Anakin would ultimately become a Sith – Palpatine had after all promised that he could help him – it was a shame to learn that he ended up being a complete dullard essentially fooled into doing so via Palpatine's manipulations.
Lucas could have easily found a better way to explore and explain Anakin’s transformation into Vader without more of these visions, and this was ultimately far too simplistic.
Did Work: The Opening Space Battle
The Star Wars prequels had a long list of issues and Lucas got a lot of stuff wrong, but it’s hard to fault the space battles which were featured across, well, his entire trilogy of prequel movies.
By far the best of them and a real highlight of Revenge of the Sith was this opening sequence set above Coruscant as Anakin and Obi-Wan – now a better team than ever before after spending years fighting side by side in The Clone Wars – sprung into action to save Palpatine.
Utilising state of the art CGI, this battle was a sight to behold, and one of the most exciting and visually stunning battle sequences seen in any sci-fi film at the time. For a release with so much questionable dialogue, even the banter between Anakin and Obi-Wan’s worked here.
Didn't Work: Palpatine's Transformation
Palpatine was getting on in years when we met him in The Phantom Menace, so why Lucas found it necessary to show him being deformed by Mace Windu in their cringe-worthy duel is hard to say.
It’s a safe bet that pretty much everyone would have just assumed that in the decades that passed between the end of the Star Wars prequels and when we first saw The Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back, he had just aged. Alternatively, the villain fully embracing the Dark Side the moment his true colours were revealed could have led to his more monstrous appearance.
Instead, he spent the final act looking like he was wearing a cheap Halloween mask, and actually nothing like the Empire we saw in the original movies. This was just plain weird, and did not work.
Did Work: Obi-Wan Kenobi Vs. Anakin Skywalker
Putting aside the fact that this was one of the best lightsaber battles in the entire Star Wars Saga from an action standpoint, the emotion involved here really elevated this to the next level. This was the fight fans had been waiting for since the prequels were announced, and it lived up to the hype.
If there was one downside to this battle, it was that the ending felt somewhat anti-climatic, but there’s no denying that the sight of a tearful Obi-Wan leaving Anakin to burn (in a surprisingly graphic, but nonetheless extremely effective, moment) stands out to this day and explained Vader's hatred of his old Master.
Throw in John Williams’ incredible score, and no matter what came before or after this, you have to at least give Lucas credit for getting this right, and that's a big part of why many fans love the film.
Didn't Work: "Nooooo!"
Getting to witness the moment Anakin Skywalker is transformed into Darth Vader was always a must for Revenge of the Sith, and for the most part, the scenes of him being rebuilt and put into the iconic suit were handled well. It was a little strange hearing an almost vulnerable Vader as he asked The Emperor about Padme’s whereabouts, but that made sense here.
What didn’t was the hilariously bad "Noooooo!" which followed, a truly baffling addition made by Lucas.
Had Lucas handled Vader’s reaction to the news in a far more subtle manner (just imagine him standing there in silence, only for everything around him suddenly being destroyed), it could have worked, but this looked and sounded daft. Plus, it's pretty hard to forgive the filmmaker for later adding that to Return of the Jedi when the movies were re-released on Blu-ray.