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About The Production
It is virtually impossible to pinpoint exactly when production began on Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. In many ways, it's a movie that has been in development for nearly 30 years, since George Lucas first sketched out his ideas for the saga of the Skywalker family, a story set against a tumultuous war raging in a distant galaxy. 

Principal photography began at the Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, New South Wales, at 8:07 a.m. on June 30, 2003, when writer-director Lucas, producer Rick McCallum and two of Episode III's stars –Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor – gathered together with R2-D2 and a crew of more than 100 people for the first day of shooting.

"Episode III was a remarkably smooth and really enjoyable production,” McCallum says. "The initial round of principal photography lasted 55 days, which is standard for a Star Wars movie, and far shorter than most major movies. That's a testament to George and the professionalism of our cast and crew. We were very fortunate, because everything went off without a hitch.”

In addition to soundstage production in Australia and the United Kingdom, the movie was shot in China, Thailand, Switzerland and Tunisia, which served as the basis for creating many of the new planets seen in Revenge of the Sith. The crew also went to Italy in 2002 to carry out a thrilling but dangerous mission: securing footage of the spectacular eruption of Sicily's Mt. Etna volcano.

Principal photography was only the beginning of the process of bringing Revenge of the Sith to the screen. Lucas' unique style is to use his screenplay as just a blueprint for building the motion picture he has envisioned. He explains, "The screenplay we began shooting is very different from the movie that audiences will see. When I watch a scene play out on screen, it often triggers new ideas about how to tell the story, and I'm able to put that together through the editing and re-shooting process. That's the real fun of making movies for me,” he says. "I start with the ‘normal' editing and post-production process, and I take it to the extreme.”

Co-editor Ben Burtt, also the movie's sound designer, says Lucas' unorthodox production style suits the movies. "Star Wars movies do not reflect contemporary stylistic techniques,” Burtt says. "They're more like movies of the 1930s and '40s. Paradoxically, the process by which we get to that classical type of storytelling is non-traditional. George breaks the movies down into pieces and then rearranges things as he begins to look at what he's assembled. It's almost like putting together an animated movie, because the process is so fluid.”

With post-production well underway by mid-2004, Revenge of the Sith went to Shepperton Studios in England for 11 days of scheduled "pick-up” shooting in late summer. (There had also been some brief second-unit bluescreen shooting of Wookiees in action in Sydney earlier in the year.) The production moved to Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, England, for one final round of photography – contemplated since production began – in January 2005.

Hayden Christensen was the subject of the final shot completed on Revenge of the Sith: a frantic run across a platform. When Lucas quietly proclaimed, "Cut – that's a wrap” to the crew, it was the last time cameras would roll on a Star Wars movie. Suitably, it happened on Elstree's Stage 8, the same stage where Lucas committed the first soundstage shot to film on A New Hope in 1976. "It completed the circle,” McCallum says. "George was really happy about that.”

If George Lucas is the father of Star Wars, the JAK Art Department is the nanny – nurturing and helping Lucas' ideas to grow. On the third floor of a grand Victorian-style mansion at Skywalker Ranch, the words Lucas writes or the ideas he voices spring to life as sketches, drawings, paintings and sculptures.

Concept art has been integral to the development of Star W

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