Did Palpatine Throw The Fight? (from Pablo Hidalgo)

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Did Palpatine Throw The Fight? (from Pablo Hidalgo)

Postby Darth Wong » 2005-06-23 10:22am

From the Star Wars Homing Beacon E-newsletter:
STAR WARS HOMING BEACON - The Official StarWars.com Newsletter
2005-06-23 - Issue #139

Welcome back to the Homing Beacon, the official newsletter of
starwars.com.

DID PALPATINE THROW THE FIGHT?

The following is a sample entry of the new Set Diary series now
available for Hyperspace members. In the summer of 2003,
correspondent Pablo Hidalgo filed daily reports on the making of
Episode III, but by necessity most of the plot details were obscured
as to not spoil any secrets. Now that the movie is out, much of what
was too hot in 2003 can be discussed, with further insight into the
making of  Revenge of the Sith.

It's one of the fieriest debates of online fan forums: when Palpatine
was cornered in his office's giant window-frame, was he really
overpowered by Mace? Or was he faking to lure Anakin? Could Mace
really have gotten the upper hand on the Sith Lord?

George Lucas is the ultimate keeper of the true answer, and he's not
telling... yet, anyway. If you had asked me in the Summer of '03,
when the sequence was first shot, I would have had a solid answer.
But, if you asked me in the Fall of '04, when the sequence was
re-shot, well... for those who want to debate, it's best to know more
of the story of how this scene came to be.

This entire sequence changed significantly during postproduction.
What we witnessed in Sydney told a different story. Anakin did not
earn Mace's trust by ratting out Sidious right away. He did not
agonize over his decisions while sitting alone in the Jedi Council
chamber. He did not rush in at the last minute to witness a
questionable balance of power. Instead, he stayed at Palpatine's
side, in the Chancellor's private office, as Mace and his posse of
Jedi barged in.

"Stand behind me," ordered Mace, in Sam Jackson's demanding tones.
But Anakin didn't budge. Instead, he watched passively as Palpatine
used the Force to snatch Anakin's lightsaber from his belt and
attacks Mace and the Jedi. There's ample evidence of this original
version for those with sharp eyes and behind-the-scenes photos. Heck,
even Hasbro action figures with Palpatine packaged with Anakin's
lightsaber got out there in the initial shipments.

So, if Sidious' entire duel played out before Anakin's stunned eyes,
I'd be inclined to think that his fall was just for show. This
changed after a screening George Lucas held for a few key colleagues.
Their reactions underscored the shortcomings of the way this duel was
constructed. Anakin's inaction was hard to justify cinematically.
"The story was there, but it wasn't clear," said Lucas at the time it
came to rebuild this scene. "It was too abstract. We opened up that
part and looked at what we could do."

When word of the change came down, the keepers of continuities
started carefully tracking the evolving consequences. Palpatine had
two lightsabers, then, since he loses this one in the duel with Mace.
I still have in my inbox a tentative email from one of the authors
asking, "um, have we figured out yet whose lightsaber Palpatine uses
in the fight with the Jedi?"

At first, it was feared it was impossible to CG the small
svelte-handled weapon over Anakin's relatively chunky handle, but
nonetheless, that was the lightsaber given to McDiarmid for the
pickup photography. The shots of Palpatine rising from his chair and
extending the weapon were reshot. The bulk of the duel between
Sidious and Mace stayed from principal photography, except for a new
touch -- a kick to Palpatine's face, done with stunt double Michael
Byrne. This was shot on a partial set of just a piece of window-frame
on Friday, August 27.

So... with this revised duel, if Sidious threw the fight, it places
an awful lot of faith on Anakin's timing ...and he suffered a
kicked-in face to boot. For what it's worth to those arguing, I doubt
there's anyone who thinks Palpatine's serious when he claims he's too
weak. That's obviously a lie. But was the fall into the corner that
preceded his pleas for help a lie as well?

What else changed in this scene? There are a few more interesting
details, particularly where it moved in the sequencing of the story.
But that will have to wait for another entry.

To read more of this kind of in-depth reporting from an eyewitness to
the Episode III action, sign-up to Hyperspace today and receive a
year's membership in the Official Star Wars Fan Club, with six issues
of Star Wars Insider magazine, exclusive online articles and benefits
beyond online. Sign up today!
http://www.starwars.com/fanclub

I considered posting this in the other thread but I think it's rather unusual that there is an official discussion of this sort of fan debate, so I thought this merited its own thread.
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Postby Vympel » 2005-06-23 10:43am

I like that they changed Anakin not being at Palpatine's side the entire time. It is interesting that Palpatine is *really* wielding Anakin's sabre and they were able to CG it away.
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Postby Trooper TK12746 » 2005-06-23 11:33am

He does a nice job of being noncommital.

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Postby Stravo » 2005-06-23 11:36am

Sounds to me like Lucas had a bitch of a time with that entire scene. His screening of the intial conversion scene met with an enthusaitic thumbs down from people (including I think Speilberg) and he had to rework it. I think it still has its problems and now this comes out. Am I so fucking glad the Anakin there the whole time thing changed because that would have been worse.

Sounds to me like Lucas just did not know how to convey what he wanted in that pivotal scene.
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Postby Trooper TK12746 » 2005-06-23 11:39am

I am not sure Lucas knew what he wanted to convey with the entire PT trilogy.

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Postby President Sharky » 2005-06-23 01:00pm

I think there's one mistake with that article. In the fight scene, Palpatine is still holding Anakin's saber for the whole time. If anyone has a rip, just freeze frame it at any point during their duel where it shows Palpatine with his saber, and you can see that it's Anakin's handle.

Even this picture shows him holding Anakin's saber, but it may be a little difficult to spot. You can tell it's Anakin's because of the longer handle and the black line at the back.

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Postby Darth Garden Gnome » 2005-06-23 01:06pm

Then is there any way we can justify Palpatine's magical changing lightsaber, or can we just write this one off?
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Postby Drooling Iguana » 2005-06-23 01:18pm

Maybe, in order to conceal it better, Palpatine had his lightsabre in two halves, one in each sleeve, with the one that we saw in the close-up containing the actual blade-generating mechanism and enough of a power cell for a minute or two of activation, with the second half, which contains a larger power cell for a more prolonged engagement and looks like the back of Anakin's sabre having been attached at some point where the camera was off Palpatine.

Unfortunately, without the DVD I can't check the film closely enough to see if this holds up at all.
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Postby VT-16 » 2005-06-23 02:58pm

That shot is different in the actual film, it shows Windu from the front, not the side. Makes it harder to see the sabre.

Edit: My mistake, it the same angle, only the shot goes by so quickly. You really can´t tell which handle it is when it goes at normal pace.

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Postby Admiral Drason » 2005-06-23 04:31pm

The handle looks like it has gold on it. I dont think thats Anakins.

Anakin had alot of black on the end of his, this one has one line of black.
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Postby Grasscutter » 2005-06-23 05:51pm

President Sharky wrote:[Pic of Palpy and Windu fighting]


YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.

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Postby SCVN 2812 » 2005-06-23 06:35pm

For my money it will probably be fixed in PT special edition or even as soon as the DVD ;)
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Postby Vympel » 2005-06-23 07:59pm

Meh that shot isn't even worth fixing. Don't worry about it.
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Postby Darth Fanboy » 2005-06-23 08:05pm

Grasscutter wrote:
YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.


Use the force, shoot it directly forward through his heart like a missile, then back away and use other powers as needed.

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Postby Darth Wong » 2005-06-23 08:28pm

Darth Fanboy wrote:
Grasscutter wrote:YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.

Use the force, shoot it directly forward through his heart like a missile, then back away and use other powers as needed.

I wonder how many people realize that you could just as easily use that shot to "prove" that Windu was throwing the fight. After all, he's leaving himself open, right?
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Postby Chris OFarrell » 2005-06-23 09:05pm

Darth Fanboy wrote:
Grasscutter wrote:
YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.


Use the force, shoot it directly forward through his heart like a missile, then back away and use other powers as needed.


Except of course Windu is both using Palpitines own power against him and is clearly deftly countering every one of his attacks up to and including force lighting. If Palpitine tried to send the lightsabre flying forward and Windu was waiting for that move...he would have a completly clear shot to do just about anything he wanted. There is a reason Jedi don't generaly send their lightsabers flying everywhere afterall, even if they can guide them with a good degree of accuracy.
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Postby Anarchist Bunny » 2005-06-23 09:16pm

Again its always good to know I'm not crazy. EVERY thing felt different when they cut from the scene at the window to Sidieous telling Anakin to attack the Jedi Temple.
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Postby Publius » 2005-06-23 09:21pm

One should of course remember that absence of blade can be used by an experienced fencer to invite an attack. That Sidious did not attack is not necessarily proof that he was throwing the fight; he may have simply recognized the lure for what it was and declined to expose himself to a prepared counterattack or riposte. At any rate Sidious may not be in lunging distance in that picture, and may simply be feinting rather than attacking in earnest.
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Postby Grasscutter » 2005-06-23 09:35pm

Publius wrote:One should of course remember that absence of blade can be used by an experienced fencer to invite an attack. That Sidious did not attack is not necessarily proof that he was throwing the fight; he may have simply recognized the lure for what it was and declined to expose himself to a prepared counterattack or riposte. At any rate Sidious may not be in lunging distance in that picture, and may simply be feinting rather than attacking in earnest.


I originally suggested that Palpatine was establishing point-in-line to deter Windu from attacking when the scene was originally described.

It does look like Windu is wide open, but as you say it could be a lure. If this IS the moment in question, Palpatine would definitely have to lunge in order to hit Windu. If his attack doesn't connect (for whatever reason, parry, dodge, etc.) Palpatine will be extended and more vulnerable to attack.

On the topic of using the Force to launch the saber at Windu, you could also say that Windu might parry it with his saber or sidestep it or knock it aside with his own Force push. Launching the saber is a VERY risky maneuver, especially against the undisputed Lightsaber master of the Jedi Order. And if Palpatine misses with his flying saber stunt, he's now weaponless.

Back in the Boy Scouts I learned how to throw a hatchet. One of the things our instructor told us was that all those scenes in westerns with Indians throwing hatchets are total bullshit. Why? Because throwing your hatchet deprives you of your weapon. Worse, if you miss, your opponent now has your hatchet to use against you =\.

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Postby Grasscutter » 2005-06-23 09:39pm

Darth Wong wrote:
Darth Fanboy wrote:
Grasscutter wrote:YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.

Use the force, shoot it directly forward through his heart like a missile, then back away and use other powers as needed.

I wonder how many people realize that you could just as easily use that shot to "prove" that Windu was throwing the fight. After all, he's leaving himself open, right?


He's also blowing kisses at Palps.

That's what it looks like in that frame anyway :lol:.
Last edited by Grasscutter on 2005-06-23 09:44pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Cykeisme » 2005-06-23 09:41pm

An interesting thread in its entirety.. one that leaves those posters on this forum who hold views such as TK12746 with little more than *fap fap fap fap fap fap fap*. Just remember to use lubricant to keep friction in check, lest you chafe yourself.


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Postby Trooper TK12746 » 2005-06-24 09:30am

Why would WIndu be throwing the fight?

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Postby Vicious » 2005-06-24 01:48pm

Trooper TK12746 wrote:Why would WIndu be throwing the fight?
Dumbfuck, it's a joke. Or is the concept of humor beyond your pathetic mind? Filled with dreams and fantasies of Palpatine's all-powerfullness, I guess it might be.
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Postby YT300000 » 2005-06-24 04:29pm

Grasscutter wrote:
President Sharky wrote:[Pic of Palpy and Windu fighting]


YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.


Yes, thats the shot. The situation isn't quite as slanted as I thought on initial non-observant viewing, but Windu is still in a somewhat precarious position.

To be honest, I'm not sure what to think of this whole debate anymore. I'm starting to wonder if the answer is somewhere between the two viewpoints (ie Palpatine threw the fight, but underestimated Windu and got into a worse position than he would otherwise have, or the like).
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Postby General Brock » 2005-06-24 04:49pm

YT300000 wrote:
Grasscutter wrote:
President Sharky wrote:[Pic of Palpy and Windu fighting]


YT300000, is this the moment in the duel you were refering to where Palpatine has an opportunity to stab at Windu but doesn't?

If it is, it looks to me that Palpatine's arm is fully extended. He'd have to lunge to actually hit Windu.


Yes, thats the shot. The situation isn't quite as slanted as I thought on initial non-observant viewing, but Windu is still in a somewhat precarious position.

To be honest, I'm not sure what to think of this whole debate anymore. I'm starting to wonder if the answer is somewhere between the two viewpoints (ie Palpatine threw the fight, but underestimated Windu and got into a worse position than he would otherwise have, or the like).


That is my position, anyway; a staged 'loss' designed to entice Anakin to come to his rescue. Only, Mace was not as easy to handle as he anticipated; a better duellist and more resistant to force lightning. Anakin could not have arrived instantly after making his decision, so the entire fight scene may have been condensed a little, leaving out some of the travel time from the Jedi council chamber to Palpatine's office.

It looks like Mace is just daring him to lunge in that shot. From Sidious' posture, it would be an awkward thing to commit to, whereas all Mace would have to do is step back, or aside, and parry-riposte.


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