George Lucas allowed his friend Steven Spielberg to help design some sequences during pre-production. This was partly because Spielberg wanted the experience of using the 'pre-visualisation' techniques pioneered by ILM as he was going to use them for War of the Worlds (2005). It was also because Lucas felt that his roles as Writer, Director, Executive Producer and Financier were taking up too much of his time and he needed another director to bounce ideas off. Spielberg's main contribution was in the climactic lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin.
In the opening sequence when the second Separatist ship is destroyed, a piece of debris flies into the Clone Star destroyer that shot it. That piece of debris is a Kitchen Sink. It was it put in there by ILM as a joke from someone saying, "We're throwing everything in the sequence but the kitchen sink."
The final "Star Wars" film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox, which permanently holds the rights to the original "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" and hands over rights to the prequel trilogy and the final two installments of the original trilogy to Walt Disney Studios after May 2020, due to the Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012.
Apart from providing the voice of R2D2 and the heavy breathing of Darth Vader, which he has done since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Ben Burtt provided the voices for every Battle Droid, Super Battle Droid and Buzz Droid in Revenge of the Sith.
After the opening battle, as the transport lands at the senate building in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen the Millennium Falcon (or a ship of similar model, Corellian Engineering Corporation YT series YT-1300 Transport) can be seen landing. In the Expanded Universe Star Wars story outside the movies, the YT-1300 has been confirmed as the Millenium Falcon, then named Stellar Envoy, long before Han Solo owned it.
Liam Neeson has said that he recorded a cameo as Qui-Gonn Jinn, which was to feature in a scene with Yoda, further explaining the concept of a Jedi communicating from beyond the grave. In the script, the dialog (in which Qui-Gonn is heard, not seen) appeared in the scene in which Yoda is meditating on the secret asteroid base, just before Bail Organa informs him of Obi-Wan's return with Padme. The scene does not appear in the deleted scenes section of the DVD, however an unfinished version was included in the Blu Ray Release Box Set.
As Anakin settles into Palpatine's viewing box, take a look at box adjacent to the Chancellor's. It is filled with notable names from Industrial Light & Magic. Seated from left to right (first row) are Visual Effects Producer Jill Brooks, Animation Supervisor Rob Coleman, Visual Effects Producer Janet Lewin, (and back row) Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett, Visual Effects Producer Denise Ream, and Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll. If you look at the shots that favor Palpatine during his wistful retelling of the Darth Plagueis yarn, you'll see Knoll sitting over his shoulder.
As Yoda has been created digitally since Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), one of the puppets of Yoda created for the filming of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) was used as a reference point for the ease of actors on-set during re-shoots in late summer 2004. Time in the Lucasfilm archives had not been kind to the puppet, which had acquired an incidentally comically contorted look on its face.
Bai Ling had filmed several scenes for the movie that were later cut. There was a rumor that George Lucas cut these scenes after Bai Ling posed for Playboy. He has, however, denied this rumor and has said that her scenes were cut 8 months before she posed for Playboy, and the photos had nothing to do with his decision.
All shots of C-3PO had the entire green screen set reflecting in his shiny gold armor, so digital effects artists in post-production had to digitally repaint C-3PO's armor frame by frame to remove any traces of the set.
Gary Oldman had agreed to be the voice of General Grievous, but pulled out of the film because it was being made using actors who are not part of the Screen Actor's Guild, of which Oldman is a member. The role was read by Duncan Young on set, and finally voiced by Matthew Wood, who, being a Lucasfilm employee, submitted his reading under the name of Alan Smithee.
Anakin was originally supposed to just watch the entire fight between Palpatine and the other Jedi Masters, with Palpatine even having stolen Anakin's lightsaber to do so. The entire fight would have had Anakin debating on which side he was going to choose. They even filmed it, but they figured that Anakin simply watching the fight meant that he had already made his choice, so it was refilmed to the current one. Further, the final fight between Windu and Palpatine was supposed to be an all-over-the-place masterpiece, but due to Lucas wanting Ian McDiarmid to do as many of his own stunts as possible, it was reduced to, largely, Windu forcing Palpatine down the hallway and then a bit of a scrap in the office before Anakin showed up and both started talking to him.
For some shots during the birth scene, the infant Luke and Leia are portrayed by an animatronic puppet. As this puppet was operated by Ewan McGregor, the cast jokingly referred to it as "Foamy-Wan Kenobi."
The Clone Trooper vehicles featured during the battle on Kashyyyk are the ten-wheeled HV6 Juggernaut armored personnel carriers, while the mini two-legged AT-RT light walkers, and the AT-AP pod walkers are forerunners to the Imperial AT-ST mini walkers featured in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). In fact, the Juggernaut (also known as the Turbo Tank) is based on designs for the AT-AT Joe Johnston made for The Empire Strikes BAck.
George Lucas originally intended have Peter Cushing reprise his role as Tarkin, years after his death, through the use of stock footage and digital technology. However, the idea was scrapped when the footage of Cushing was deemed unusable.
In the battle duel scene with Count Dooku, the imprisoned Palpatine originally had more dialog which he was to shout at Anakin. One of his lines pertained to Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) in which Palpatine exposed Dooku as paying the Tusken Raiders to kidnap, torture and kill Shmi Skywalker.
The newest addition to Separatist army are the Crab Droids seen at the battle on Utapau, as well as the flying droid gunships and the NR-N199 Tank Battle droids at the battle on Kashyyyk which are in fact amphibious versions of the Corporate Alliance Tank Battle droids first mentioned in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002).
Bail Organa's Corellian Corvette (the one with the white interior walls), the Tantive IV, then a CR70 model, was later retrofittet into a CR90 model and repainted. It was given to Princess Leia, and is the same ship that was captured at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Members of starwars.com's "Hyperspace" determined the look of Obi-Wan Kenobi's new astromech droid R4-G9 by entering a poll on starwars.com between July and August of 2003. Presented with four different color schemes, they picked the bronze and copper design (not unlike the red domed R4-P17 from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)). Naturally this droid became one of the earliest action figures released for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).
WILHELM SCREAM: Early on in the film during the dogfight, as a laser cannon is destroyed, one of the clone troopers running by is sent flying from the explosion and the Wilhelm Scream is heard. In the original showings in theaters a Wilhelm Scream was also heard when a clone is shot out of his fighter in the dogfight (as the camera makes the long shot watching him float through space) - while the shot remains; the scream was removed.
When Vader is being fitted with the helmet and subsequently breaks free of the shackles, George Lucas decided at the last minute to change the position of Vader's arms from up to down by his side (the original shot can be seen in the trailers). This is why, after breaking free from the bonds, Vader appears to raise his arms, when in fact it is the necessary transition from computer-generated arms to live action arms.
The Darth Vader mask for this film was rebuilt from scratch, using a new digital design to computer-lathe the base master, from which molds were made to cast the on-screen costume masks. The resulting masks are, for the first time in Star Wars history, truly symmetrical.
The planet name "Utapau" appears in the early drafts of two previous Star Wars films. In Lucas's first draft of the very first movie, Utapau was the home planet of Kane, Anakin and Deak Starkiller. The planet's desert terrain eventually became the planet Tatooine. Utapau was also the original name for Naboo in the first draft of the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).
Although no live-action location filming was done during principal photography, post-production filming was done in Thailand, Switzerland and China to represent background plates for the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk.
One of the early concepts for General Grievous was a small child sitting on a floating chair, guarded by two IG88 droids from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). George Lucas rejected this look as a child would not be taken seriously as the deadliest hand to hand fighter the galaxy has seen, which is how he wanted Grievous to be portrayed. Instead, part of the final look for General Grievous' face was inspired by the shape of a bathroom detergent spray nozzle.
Ian McDiarmid is doubled by a trained stuntman for his light-saber battles and more physically demanding shots, such as when Palpatine scrambles away from Mace Windu. As with Christopher Lee, computer effects were used to put the actor's face over the face of the stunt double. McDiarmid stated in numerous interviews that he was pleased that his character, even if not himself personally, was finally involved in some action sequences. For the sword fight between Windu and Sidious, however, the demands for camera angles and close-ups meant that stunt coordinator Nick Gillard had to teach the two actors the entire fight sequence, which was then shot partly with the stunt performers, and partly with Jackson and Mcdiarmid.
When Obi-Wan finds General Grievous on Utapau, his first words are, "Hello, there." In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), when Obi-Wan is first introduced, his words to R2-D2 are, "Hello, there."
General Grievous's breathing problems in this film, as well as his exposed gut-sack (later exploited by Obi Wan) are caused by his brief encounter with Mace Windu in Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003). Mace Windu "force-gripped" Grievous as the General was making off with Palpatine, crushing the cyborg's chest panel.
At the time it was filmed, the prop representing Bail Organa's speeder was built from the windshield to the rear. It wasn't until post-production that the front of the vehicle's design was chosen. Lucas based the hood and front of the speeder on the design of the Tucker automobile. Unlike the Tucker, Bail's speeder only has the 'cyclop's eye' headlamp, and not the outer two headlamps.
According to the extra material, the climactic fight between Vader and Kenobi took upwards of 70,000 man hours to create - doing the math, this constitutes the work of one man for more than 25 years, given roughly normal hours per day (which probably no one ever did working on this production).
The subtitle "Revenge of the Sith" is a play on the working subtitle for Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), "Revenge of the Jedi". For episode VI, that title was abandoned because George Lucas determined that revenge was not a suitable attitude for a Jedi. Since this film, however, is about the triumph of the Sith, "revenge" is entirely appropriate.
Many viewers were surprised the Grievous could be trained in Jedi arts, much less wield a lightsaber. The answer is that when Grievous was constructed, he was given the blood of a Jedi Master, who had a high midi-chlorian count. With this connection to the Force, Grievous had no difficulty learning Jedi ways.
Prior to the official announcement of this movie's subtitle to be "Revenge of the Sith", several rumors had circled about as to speculation of the final prequel's subtitle. Such speculations included possible subtitles as "Rise of the Empire" and "The Creeping Fear".
In 2007, Dr. Eric Bui, a psychiatrist in Toulouse, France, co-wrote a study that diagnosed Anakin Skywalker as having borderline personality disorder. When the authors reported their findings at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association they stated that Skywalker fit the diagnosis criteria: difficulty controlling anger, stress-related breaks with reality, impulsivity, obsession with abandonment and a "pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of ideation and devaluation".
Hayden Christensen's cockpit shots were filmed from just outside the front window of his Jedi fighter. When he put his feet in the proper position for operating the fighter, his knees covered up his face, so he actually had to stick he legs out the end of the fighter to get the proper shot.
The scene of Anakin and Padme at Padme's Coruscant apartment following his return to the planet early in the film was added long after principal photography. The scene was intended to lighten the mood of an often "dark" film, and helped with pacing in the film.
The opera house dialogue between Anakin and Palpatine was originally going to be set in Palpatine's office. This idea was aborted because the crew felt the characters had spent too much time there already.
The scene of Vader and Obi-Wan using the "force push" on each other and knocking each other back originally had a force field graphic effect added, but George Lucas was not satisfied with its inclusion, thus the final shot did not have this effect added.
The name of the lizard (a Varactyl) that Obi-Wan rides is Boga. Boga is the name of a popular soft drink in Tunisia, which Lucas has also filmed scenes in. He even named a planet after a city in this country (Tatooine).
The entire movie was shot on the Sony HDC-F950 High Definition camera, using Sony's HDCAM SR digital video format. The Camera itself retails for about US$150,000. George Lucas has said that he plans to never shoot a movie on film again.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Palpatine's lightsaber fight with the other Jedi reveals a completely different technique than has been seen before. The chancellor uses his weapon like a fencing foil, striking with the tip. Since the beam cuts through any substance, this makes even a small strike a killing blow. Except for Mace Windu, all the other Jedi use the edge, which requires a wide space to deliver a stroke. This explains why Palpatine was able to kill so many Jedi in such a short amount of time.
The final scene on Tatooine, where Obi-Wan Kenobi delivers the infant Luke to his aunt and uncle, is often referred to as the "Harry Potter scene". Composer John Williams included a small 11-tone musical cue in the scene reminiscent of his score for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001). It can be heard when Obi-Wan arrives at Owen and Beru's house.
The first draft of the script also explained the mystery surrounding Anakin's conception. In the confrontation scene between Anakin and Palpatine (where Palpatine confesses to Anakin he is Darth Sidious), he would also explain that his master, Darth Plagueis, used the power of the Force to will the midichlorians to start the cell divisions that created Anakin. This explanation was later deemed unnecessary by George Lucas and subsequently cut.
A short clip of Yoda arriving with his ship on the planet Dagobah for his self-chosen exile was filmed, but not included in the final scene. According to producer Rick McCallum, he liked the shot very much, and he practically begged George Lucas to include it. However, Lucas preferred to keep the focus of the epilogue on the members of the Skywalker family (in order: Padme, Anakin, Leia and Luke). Yoda's deleted scene is included as a bonus on the DVD release of the movie.
Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu) said he knew that he must die in this film, so he told George Lucas he would only do the film if Mace Windu goes out in a blaze of glory and not "like some sucka". On an American late-night talk show, he confirmed that he did indeed have a meaningful death scene; and he does not go out like "some punk".
Silas Carson has two death scenes in this movie. One as Ki-Adi Mundi and the other as Nute Gunray. This is the third time he's died in a Star Wars movie. He was killed at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) where he played the pilot blown up in the Trade Federation hanger.
As the Darth Vader mask is being lowered onto Anakin's face at the end, there is a shot from his P.O.V. of the inside of the mask. There is a triangular silver item between the eyes of the mask. This item is the actuator (read-write mechanism) from a computer hard-disk drive.
In the first draft of George Lucas' screenplay, the movie was to open with a huge montage sequence showing the end of various battles of the Clone Wars on seven different planets across the Galaxy. Each planet was to be distinctly different from the other and was described as "Bridge world", '"Ring World", "Crystal world" and "Kelp world" amongst others. This idea evolved into the sequence where we see various Jedi dying at the hands of the Clones on different planets. Four planets made it into this montage: Mygeeto (Crystal world), Felucia, Saleucami and Cato Neimoidia (Ring World).
Chancellor Palpatine's strategy for maintaining power is known to political scientists, and is called Perpetual War. He comes to power through conflict with the Trade Federation, gains greater privileges through the Clone War, and solidifies his position through war on the Jedi.