Asking “Star Wars” fans to name the best lightsaber fight in the franchise’s history would yield a handful of results (expect to see Darth Maul vs. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon from “The Phantom Menace” picked numerous times), but it appears there was at least one franchise-defining fight that never made it to theaters. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Star Wars” stunt coordinator Nick Gillard reveals the best lightsaber fight of George Lucas’s prequel trilogy was cut out of “Revenge of the Sith” by the filmmaker himself.
The removed lightsaber fight took place in “Revenge of the Sith” when Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) is escaping from General Grievous and has to encounter a handful of the villain’s bodyguards. Each body guard is carrying a double-sided weapon with deadly electrical tips. Lucas’s original script had Obi-Wan fighting off the guards with his lightsaber. The scene was revised for the “Revenge of the Sith” theatrical cut so that Obi-Wan uses the Force to drop a container from the ceiling and crush the bodyguards before a lightsaber fight can happen.
Gillard tells Entertainment Weekly that Lucas’s original plan for Obi-Wan to face off against Grievous’s bodyguards was “the most complicated fight we ever did” on the prequel trilogy. Gillard added, “And then George said, ‘I’m really sorry, I’m going to drop a container on five of them!”
Gillard worked as a stunt coordinator throughout the making of Lucas’s “Star Wars” prequel trilogy. Choreographing lightsaber fights requires rehearsals, and the original Obi-Wan fight stayed in the “Revenge of the Sith” script long enough for Ewan McGregor to train for the scene for weeks. It turns out all that training was nothing. Gillard did not say why Lucas cut the fight scene, although it certainly saved the production some time. Shooting lightsaber battles can take weeks. For the upcoming “The Rise of Skywalker,” actors Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver spent a full week shooting their climactic lightsaber duel.
Following his work on the “Star Wars” prequel series, Gillard went on to serve as stunt coordinator on series such as “Black Mirror,” “The White Princess,” “The Alienist,” and “The War of the Worlds.” Gillard did not work on the most recent “Star Wars” trilogy, which wraps up December 20 with the release of “The Rise of Skywalker.”