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What we learned from the ''Star Wars'' trailer

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The good news: no Jar Jar. The annoying, minstrel-show Gungan is nowhere to be seen in the newly released trailer for Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. The bad news: the two-minute clip (which debuted Thursday night on TV during The O.C. and online at AOL’s Moviefone, and which hits the multiplex on Friday before screenings of Robots) pretty much spoils the entire plot of the final Star Wars movie. Yes, we knew all along that the film (which opens May 19) would trace Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) transformation into Darth Vader, but the trailer spills a lot of the details. Which EW.com will now spoil as well, if you read on.

The trailer opens with Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) telling Anakin that the dark side of the Force can provide him with powers that some consider ”unnatural,” powers he can’t learn from a Jedi. Palpatine and the Jedi Council both ask Anakin to keep tabs on each other, but Jedi Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) frets that the assignment may be more than the young man can handle and tells him that he has not been elevated to the rank of master. ”Obi-Wan and the council don’t trust me,” Anakin whines to wife Amidala (Natalie Portman). As the trailer progresses, Palpatine hides his increasingly wizened face under the hood of his cloak, looking much like he does as the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. Anakin does the same; his eyes begin to take on a red glow. ”Twisted by the dark side, young Skywalker has become,” states Yoda (Frank Oz).

Windu and three other Jedi come to arrest Palpatine, who challenges them with a lightsaber. Later, Palpatine declares, ”Every single Jedi is an enemy of the Republic.” ”I feel so helpless,” moans C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). Amidala weeps. ”You were the chosen one!” shouts Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor, now sporting the full beard worn by Alec Guinness as the old Obi-Wan in the original trilogy), as he confronts protégé Anakin over a pit of lava. A lightsaber duel ensues.

There are glimpses of space battles, land battles, and more lightsaber fights. There are also glimpses of some key characters: General Grievous, a robotic leader of the clone army; Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits), who’ll become the surrogate father to Anakin and Amidala’s daughter, the future Princess Leia; and old favorites R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Curiously, there’s no sign of the last movie’s villain, Count Dooku, played by Christopher Lee, though he’s listed prominently in the credits. Let’s hope he doesn’t get edited out the way Lee’s Saruman did from the final Lord of the Rings installment.

The trailer’s chilling final image at last shows us the familiar masked and helmeted visage of Darth Vader, seated next to a cloaked figure (probably Palpatine). There’s a whoosh of Vader’s machine-assisted breathing, and then a title card: ”The Saga Is Complete.” Well, almost; George Lucas has hinted in recent weeks that he’s developing a Star Wars TV series that will fill the gap between the end of this movie and the beginning of Episode IV (the original 1977 film). Guess there’s no escaping the power of the Force.

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