Celebrating 15 years of Revenge of the Sith, Interview #3 – Yodaman from I Rebel

Welcome, to week 3 of our celebration of Revenge of the Sith’s 15th anniversary.
15 different guests, 15 Interviews, 15 weeks in a row
“You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you.”

Welcome, Yodaman to our Revenge of the Sith 15th Anniversary Celebration Series. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to answer our questions.

Thanks for inviting me to participate. I’m happy to have the chance to talk about Star Wars and Revenge of the Sith.

Before we get started, could you please share with our readers a little bit about yourself, your content and how you got into Star Wars?
I’m probably a bit older than most of your readers. One of the main reasons I chose Yodaman as my name on all the boards was because when I first got involved with online gaming communities, I realized everyone was younger (sometimes much younger) than me. I actually was able to experience the Original Trilogy films in theaters when they were initially released. Growing up I had lots of Star Wars toys and memorabilia. I still have all of the original Kenner action figures from the Original Trilogy and most of them are stored in the Darth Vader Helmet case. After The Empire Strikes Back came out, I dressed up as Yoda the next Halloween and even walked up to people’s doors on my knees to try to play the part up. I’ve dabbled in pretty much every Star Wars card game that’s come out over the years starting with the Decipher Star Wars CCG all the way through Star Wars: Destiny. For years, the Star Wars LCG was my main game and I got into content creation for that when there seemed to be a lull of IRL gameplay videos. I started a Youtube channel (Yoda’s Hut) which has literally hundreds of gameplay videos for that game along with commentary provided by myself and another member of the Star Wars LCG community, Derek (aka Queklaine). I’m also a member of the Star Wars LCG Council, a player run committee that stepped into the role of keeping that game alive after FFG ended its official support for the game. By day I’m a college math professor and I’ve been at my current institution for 20 years. Number crunching and looking at data has always been a hobby of mine so it was great when I Rebel invited me to contribute articles about statistics related to Star Wars: Destiny. I’m having a lot of fun writing my latest series of articles for I Rebel where I’m revisiting the Star Wars LCG. 

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Let’s start at the beginning, when and where did you first see Revenge of the Sith?
I went with my best friend Jerry (who is featured on many of the Star Wars LCG games on my Yoda’s Hut Youtube channel) to see Revenge of the Sith when it opened at midnight at the local theater where we live. We had also gone to see Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones on opening day/night so we wanted to keep the tradition going. 

2. What was your experience like?
It was great. They showed the film on multiple screens for the midnight opening, but we got tickets ahead of time just in case. You could feel the excitement in the theater. One thing I vividly remember was that they didn’t show any trailers for that midnight showing. The lights went down and the first thing we heard was the famous 20th Century Fox music and we just got to experience the movie without anything else before it. 

3. What was your reaction after you saw it your first time?
I really enjoyed the film, but there were certainly some mixed emotions because at the time, I certainly thought it might be the last Star Wars film released. On the other hand, that had to make it tricky to pull it off. Everyone knew where the story basically had to end up. Anakin had to become Darth Vader and end up in the suit and you knew that there had to be an Anakin vs. Obi-Wan duel to get there. The twins had to be born and split up, Palpatine had to become Emperor, etc. It was fun watching it all come together even though there weren’t too many surprises in where the characters ended up, but the journey to get to the point was the main draw. I remember thinking George Lucas pretty much covered all his bases and tied up things in such a way that it felt like it would naturally lead into where things stood at the start of A New Hope. 

4. What is your favorite scene in Revenge of the Sith and why?
I have to cheat a bit here, because I think this is actually a tie for me. Both scenes, not surprisingly, involve the great Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. The opera scene where it’s just Palpatine telling Anakin about the Sith and their powers always captivates my attention. It showed how Star Wars has always been so more than just action-packed scenes with monster special effects. Those are important, but sometimes things need to slow down and then you see it’s the relationships and the characters that really are the heart of the story. At the opera, you can just see Palpatine putting the final piece of the puzzle in place to eventually convert Anakin to the dark side and it’s just well done. You can tell Anakin is just a pawn in the grand chess game being played by Palpatine. My other favorite scene, also not surprising since I’m such a big fan of the character, is the Yoda vs. Palpatine duel. The dialogue between the characters is great. It’s the big epic battle between the greatest of the Jedi and the ultimate Sith master that will shape the fate of the galaxy. Starting with Yoda force pushing the guards out of the way in Palpatine’s office through the battle where they basically destroy the Senate, I find it entertaining. I never get tired of watching either of those scenes. 

5. What is your favorite character in Revenge of the Sith and why?
Yoda, of course. Even though he fails in his attempt to take down Palpatine, he’s still the leader of the Jedi and every scene he’s in is important to the overall story. 

6. What is your favorite tie-in material (from ether Legends or canon) and why?
I’ve read pretty much every Star Wars novel ever written. I really liked the Legends material and was disappointed, but not shocked, when Lucasfilm decided to throw it out and start from scratch with only the films and TV series as canon. One of my favorite books from Legends, which ties in with Revenge of the Sith, is James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis. I loved how it showed the behind the scenes role of Plagueis as the master of the Sith throughout the Prequels and also set up Palpatine’s back story and documented his rise to power in a way that wasn’t shown in the films. I know recent novels have basically eliminated any chance of those aspects becoming canon again and that’s a shame because the story was great. 

7. What is your favorite piece of merchandise/collectible from this film and why?
Honestly, I didn’t collect much merchandise for the Prequel films as an adult, so nothing stands out. I’m just glad that games like Star Wars: Destiny and the Star Wars TCG by WotC included scenes and characters from the film and I have collectible items in that sense. 

8. When you think of Revenge of the Sith, what do you think about and why?
I think about the epic duels in the film. The Obi-Wan vs. Anakin duel on lava-filled Mustafar, something that was mentioned in the novelization of A New Hope (without the planet having a name), the Yoda vs. Palpatine duel, the duel between Obi-Wan and Grievous and the final face-off between Obi-Wan, Anakin and Dooku. There were more lightsaber duels in Revenge of the Sith than any other Star Wars film. And, of course, the larger plot point is there with Anakin actually becoming Darth Vader and putting on the suit. 

9. 15 years later, has your opinion changed at all on the film? If so how?
A little bit. While I still enjoy the film, it’s easier to see some of the flaws in it now than when I first saw it. When I rewatch it, I think the beginning of the movie actually takes too long on the space battle before Obi-Wan and Anakin get to Palpatine and that probably could have been shortened. This might sound odd, but while it was choreographed very well, I’ve always found the Obi-Wan vs. Anakin duel to be a bit off visually simply because of the fact they both have blue lightsabers. The contrasting colors of the lightsabers in the other duels is more appealing to me personally. 

10. What does Revenge of the Sith mean to you currently?
Now, I look at the film as the end of an era. It was the last Star Wars film directed and produced by George Lucas. Even though the film was certainly not perfect, it was still his story and his vision and I appreciate that more when I see what’s happened to the franchise now. There was a sense of a better overall theme and story in the 6 Lucas films that really doesn’t exist, in my opinion, in any of the Disney-Lucasfilm era Star Wars films. 

11. What are somethings about the Revenge of the Sith that you love, respect or hold dear that others may overlook and why?
I love and respect the little moments that tie things together and connect to the other films. The brief interaction between Yoda and Chewie. The fact they wipe C-3PO’s memory to help explain why he doesn’t talk about Prequel events in the Original Trilogy. Yoda telling Obi-Wan about Qui-Gon’s communications with him and the tie-in with Force Ghosts. Obi-Wan handing off a baby Luke to Owen and Beru on Tatooine and then showing the twin suns. Making things fit together in the big picture is something that I appreciate. I love the deleted scene where Yoda’s pod ends up on Dagobah. I wish that had been included in the theatrical release. 

12. Where does Revenge of the Sith sit for you in your personal ranking of the 12 theatrical releases and why?
I’d probably put it 4th in my personal rankings behind only the three original trilogy films. 

13. What would you like to see in the future around Revenge of the Sith, ether stories, merchandise, features, interviews, etc?
Since the Legends material has been eliminated at this point, I’d love to see more stories relating to Palpatine’s back story. And, I’d love to see more stories about Yoda. 

14. In your opinion, what is the legacy of Revenge of the Sith?
As I mentioned earlier, its legacy is it’s the last film chapter of the true vision of George Lucas for the Star Wars universe. Based on the reception and division caused by the sequel trilogy, I’m hoping people who didn’t like them as much when they were released can go back and take a fresh look at the Prequels (which caused their own division) and find the positives in them. 

15. What are your last words on Revenge of the Sith and/ or things you would like readers to know about this film?
Try not to focus too much on the flaws that exist in the movie because there are lots of great aspects to it. Sure the dialogue has some cringeworthy moments, but the visuals are great and the story is better than a lot of people give it credit for in my opinion. I’m glad Lucas got to tell his story. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since that film came out. Revisiting it through these questions makes me ready to go watch it again!

Thanks again Yodaman for joining us in this 15th-anniversary celebration of Revenge of the Sith.

I greatly enjoyed it. Thanks again for including me.

If people would like to find you or your content, where can they find it?
I go by Yodaman on the cardgamedb boards which is the main community forum I use. You can find the articles I’ve written right here on I Rebel’s website. If you’re interested in the Star Wars LCG and gameplay videos for that check out my Yoda’s Hut Youtube channel. You can also find me and others involved with keeping the Star Wars LCG alive on the Star Wars LCG Council Facebook page.

Thank you readers for joining us in the celebration of Revenge of the Sith and stay tuned for our next entry into this series, coming next Monday. Till then, we wish you nothing but the best, stay safe out there and May the Force be with you.

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