We gave it a B-
The costume was almost seven feet tall. Hayden Christensen, only 6 foot 1. The boots had lifts to make up the difference. Driving the actor to the set in a golf cart, producer Rick McCallum recalls laughing at the comical incongruity of Christensen’s small-by-comparison head poking out of the broad-shouldered torso of Darth Vader. Hundreds of Episode III‘s support staff were allowed to watch as the helmet was put on Christensen’s head and Ian McDiarmid, as Darth Sidious, commands Vader to rise. When director George Lucas called cut, his audience roared with approval.
And so it ends, this sometimes-whimpery prequel project — in a film packed with bangs (five lightsaber duels!) and all the historic moments we’ve been promised. The birth of Luke and Leia. Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fateful fight. Even Chewbacca shows up, though Han Solo does not. (He came close: Early versions of Lucas’ script called for a 10-year-old Solo to play a small but important role. ”How could you ever cast a young Harrison Ford?” asks McCallum.) Sith does, however, have Steven Spielberg, or at least his input: Lucas solicited his advice on a couple of scenes, including that Skywalker-Kenobi tussle, and had him design an action sequence.
All of which portends massive box office, despite the fact that ”it’s sad, dark, and basically a tearjerker,” says Lucas of the PG-13-rated (a first for the series) Sith. ”It’s not a happy film.” Produced over three years, shot in eight countries, and containing 2,180 F/X shots, the final installment of the Star Wars saga commemorated its last day of shooting with an R-rated descent into the dark side. ”A two-day drunken orgy of sheer human flesh melding into each other in a way you would never expect from the world of Lucasfilm,” says McCallum of the wrap party. For the record, Lucas had a drink, stayed an hour, then went back to work. History doesn’t postproduce itself, you know.