Welcome, to week 10 of our celebration of Revenge of the Sith’s 15th anniversary.
15 different guests, 15 Interviews, 15 weeks in a row
“I have taught you everything I know. and you have become a far greater Jedi than I could ever hope to be.”
Welcome, Jeff to our Revenge of the Sith 15th Anniversary Celebration Series. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to answer our questions.
Thank you for having me, this is a great time to be a Star Wars fan!
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’ve been a fan since 1980 when I was 3 years old and my brother took me to see The Empire Strikes Back. As soon as Han Solo said “Laugh it up, Fuzzball” I was hooked and I’ve never looked back. I started the Star Wars Splash Page podcast with Matt Moore back in 2015 when Marvel started publishing new Star Wars comics again. I’ve looked back a couple of times since then, but never in earnest 🙂
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 saw RotS the day after it opened due to some extenuating circumstances with my mother’s health.
2. What was your experience like?
Overall it was good. The theater was packed and we were all locked in the whole time. The only strange thing was the person behind me who giggled at everything, even if it wasn’t funny. I’ve never figured out what was going on there.
3. What was your reaction after you saw it your first time?
I thought it was easily the best film of the prequel trilogy. Like a lot of people, the “NOOOO” at the end was a real letdown that took me out of the moment, but up until that point I was invested and the end of the film was everything that I had been hoping for from this part of the story. It’s a strong enough ending that the “NOOOO” didn’t destroy it, it just made it “hiccup” a bit.
4. What is your favorite scene in Revenge of the Sith and why?
I have 2 favorite scenes: The opening battle above Coruscant is an amazing feat of film making, and it holds up 15 years later. I remember thinking “YES, Lucas still remembers how to open a film.” The war drums, the pan around the destroyer to reveal the battle taking place in the upper atmosphere, and the escape with Palpatine and the crash onto the surface is absolutely my favorite bit of action from the prequels. My other favorite is the scene of Vader getting worked on by the med bay droids. Specifically, the moment the mask drops onto his face. You can see Vader’s eyes panic just a little bit as it drops down, and the smoke coming out of the mask as it seals him in is a reminder of the scorched skin and the scarred man underneath. Chilling, and exactly the moment I wanted from this event.
5. What is your favorite character in Revenge of the Sith and why?
Obi-Wan is probably my favorite character in this film. Ewan McGregor has some really great and real moments. Specifically, when he finds out that Anakin is the father of Padme’s children and his ‘I’m so sorry” is genuine and heartbreaking. His hurt at having to destroy Anakin on Mustafar is palpable and you can feel his anguish at having to go to these lengths with someone he thought of as a brother is the emotional crux of the entire trilogy, in my opinion, and Ewan carries it off magnificently.
6. What is your favorite tie-in material (from either Legends or canon) and why?
The novelization of the film is stellar. I personally think it’s a better telling of the story than the film is. I love the non-linear structure at the beginning, and the scenes that we get that were cut from the film really flesh out the story wonderfully.
7. What is your favorite piece of merchandise/collectible from this film and why?
The mini-play set of the med bay with Anakin being placed in the Darth Vader armor is a morbidly hilarious and highly inappropriate toy that was aimed at kids. I love the audacity of releasing this in the toy aisle as opposed to producing it specifically for the adult collector. Plus, it’s a REALLY well-made toy.
8. When you think of Revenge of the Sith, what do you think about and why?
When I think about RotS, I think about the colors. I always associate deep reds with this film, because we got a lot of them in the beginning, and it just seems to be the tone that permeates the film. When I watch it specifically looking for this, I find that there’s less red than I remember, but the fact is that when I think of Revenge of the Sith, I think of intensely deep reds, which is the mood of the film for me as well.
9. 15 years later, has your opinion changed at all on the film? If so how?
My opinion has changed a bit. After the film came out, I placed it head and shoulders above Episodes 1 and 2, and thought it was on-par with the original trilogy. As I’ve revisited it over the years, I find many of the same issues with it that I had with the first 2 films in the trilogy. While I DO still think it is the best film in the prequel trilogy, I do feel that it is still a significant step down in quality from the rest of the saga.
10. What does Revenge of the Sith mean to you currently?
Revenge of the Sith frustrates me. There is so much that the film gets right (the opera scene is chillingly good, the final montage is extremely well-done) that it is a reminder of what this trilogy COULD have been, but also a reminder of what the trilogy ACTUALLY is, which is a flawed and ultimately unsatisfying experience. However, I do find a lot of entertainment value in RotS and I do return to it quite frequently.
11. What are somethings about the Revenge of the Sith that you love, respect or hold dear that others may overlook and why?
My background is as an actor, and there are a couple of moments in the film that don’t get mentioned because they aren’t overly dramatic, but they are bits of some of the most naturalistic and real acting to be found throughout the saga. The first is when Anakin finds out that Padme is pregnant. His initial reaction is one of concern and worry, and you can see the train of thought that is speeding through his mind. Then, you see him swallow it in favor of the woman he loves when he mentally shakes it off and says “This is a happy moment.” It’s one of the reasons I will always defend Hayden Christensen as an actor and insist that any issues people have with his performances are due to the material he was given. The second is a smaller moment. Bail Organa (played by the great Jimmy Smits) shows up at the temple to check on the Jedi there. He is confronted by a group of clones who, despite his insistence, inform him that he needs to go. His reaction is very small, but his “So it is,” and the accompanying unspoken reaction speak volumes to his mindset. He realizes in that moment what has happened and he makes an immediate decision of the best course of action. It’s real, it’s genuine, and it impresses me every time.
12. Where does Revenge of the Sith sit for you in your personal ranking of the 12 theatrical releases and why?
RotS sits at #9 on my list, just above The Rise of Skywalker and just below The Force Awakens. As I said above, it is my favorite of the prequels, but it doesn’t really stand up to the best of the saga for me.
13. What would you like to see in the future around Revenge of the Sith, ether stories, merchandise, features, interviews, etc?
The only thing that I would be interested in seeing surrounding RotS would be explanations surrounding some of the plot elements that were left vague. I don’t mind vague plot points, but Star Wars is not a series of art films, they are popular entertainment, and Padme simply losing the will to live and the Jedi Order’s lack of foresight about Palpatine’s machinations are left severely underdeveloped for my liking.
14. In your opinion, what is the legacy of Revenge of the Sith?
I think the legacy of the film is that George Lucas is not a bad filmmaker, it’s a reminder that he is a master craftsman and technician with skills that don’t necessarily extend to storytelling.
15. What are your last words on Revenge of the Sith and/ or things you would like readers to know about this film?
My comments may seem harsh and unkind, but at the end of the day I truly do enjoy a lot about this film, and my acknowledgement of its failings do not negate the many many things that I think it gets right.
Thanks again Jeff for joining us in this 15th-anniversary celebration of Revenge of the Sith.
Thank you for asking me to contribute, this has been a great re-evaluation for me!
If people would like to find you or your content, where can they find it?
You can find Star Wars Splash Page wherever you listen to podcasts, and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find my other podcasts on MarvinDogMedia.com, we always have a lot of Star Wars content as well.
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.