Back to IndieWire

Samuel L. Jackson Spent 5 Weeks Training For a Two-Minute Lightsaber Duel in ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’ — Watch

Mace Windu's fight against Emperor Palpatine took over a month of preparations to nail down.

Samuel L. Jackson, “Star Wars”


With the record-breaking release of “Incredibles 2,” Samuel L. Jackson’s unprecedented run of box office hits is continuing strong this summer. Jackson is the highest grossing actor of all time with a lifetime gross of over $5 billion, a title he achieved with help from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequel trilogy. Jackson used the Force and wielded a lightsaber as Mace Windu, but nailing the choreography of those lightsaber battles took Jackson weeks to master.

Answering fan question in a recent GQ video interview, Jackson remembered the five weeks he spent practicing Windu’s final lightsaber battle. The scene occurs in “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” and finds Windu facing off against Emperor Palpatine. The duel takes up only around two minutes of screen time, but there were so many different fighting moves to learn and choreography to memorize (Jackson is fighting while walking backwards, no less) that it took over a month to figure it all out.

“Lightsaber battles? It takes a long time to learn those, or it did when I was doing them,” Jackson said. “The last one I did with the Emperor was 99 moves through three rooms, backwards for me. So, two weeks in sneakers and shorts, two weeks in boots, another week in Jedi robe/boots/lightsaber before we actually shot it. So, it was pretty intense.”

The scene ended in Windu’s death, so at least Jackson can say he worked his butt off to die in the “Star Wars” universe. Watch Jackson answer more fan questions in the video below.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox