The Lightsaber Duel
Following the tradition of the previous Star Wars movies, AOTC featured another climatic lightsaber perhaps even more ambitious than the exciting duel in TPM. Unfortunantly, it may have been too ambitious as a lot of material was cut from this multi-round duel.
What's puzzling about these cuts is that they're not very subtle. Lucas used a lot of jump cuts during the Obi-Wan and Anakin portions of the fight. A saber swipe here, a saber slash there, even whole segments were axed resulting in a somewhat disjointed fight. This also created a couple odd occurances of characters being in different spots of the hangar from shot to shot.
Obi-Wan V.S. Dooku
Dooku did a bit more trashtalking during the fight, first of which was with his duel with Obi-Wan.
Here is the excerpt from the "2nd draft"...
Kenobi, isn't it? As you can see,
my Jedi powers are far beyond
yours. Now, back down.
I don't think so.
OBI-WAN lifts his lightsaber. COUNT DOOKU smiles.
Ah, but if I must.
COUNT DOOKU draws his lightsaber. He and OBI-WAN start to circle each other.
I have spent the last ten years
learning to use the power of the
Dark Side. It gives me infinitely
You will have to prove it.
OBI-WAN comes in fast, swinging at COUNT DOOKU'S head. DOOKU parries the cut easily. As they fight, it quickly becomes clear that DOOKU is the complete swordsman - elegant, graceful, classical - a master of the old style.
Grand Master Kenobi, you
disappoint me. Yoda holds you in
such high esteem.
COUNT DOOKU parried another cut.
Surely you can do better...?
No, I'm surprised. Has Jedi
swordsmanship degenerated so
quickly, or are you trying to make
fun of me?
Which is it?
COUNT DOOKU thrusts. OBI-WAN steps back quickly, panting for breath.
come, come, Master Kenobi. Put me
out of my misery.
This first two pics below are shots from the Obi-Wan/Dooku duel not used in the final movie. The first pic would have been of Obi-Wan right before he charges Dooku at the beginning of the duel.
The third pic from the Image Attack series, and the forth pic from Sam Davatchi's page, show Ewan and Nick practicing for the fight. Pics 5-11 are from the Making of Episode III #11 "Becoming Obi-Wan" webdoc.
Anakin (green saber) V.S. Dooku
This next portion is where there has been a significant chunk of saber fighting removed. After Anakin saves Obi-Wan from Dooku's coup de grace, Obi-Wan tosses Anakin his blue saber and Anakin fights the Count with two blades. That's how it goes in the movie. What you didn't see is that Anakin fought Dooku for a short period with the green saber before Obi-Wan tossed him his blue saber.
Check out this other excerpt from the script, picking up after Anakin has saved Obi-Wan...
And ANAKIN charges at COUNT DOOKU. The force of his attack catches the COUNT slightly off balance. ANAKIN'S lightsaber flashes. COUNT DOOKU draws back.
You have unusual powers, young Padawan. But not enough to save you this time.
Don't bet on it!
This scenario appears in the novelization and briefly in the comicbook adaption as well. This sequence's deletion is the one that bothers me the most mainly because of how noticeble it is in the movie. When Anakin saves Obi-Wan, you'll notice that he and Dooku are standing over Obi-Wan near the back of the hangar, but when Obi tosses the blue saber, Anakin and Dooku are all of a sudden on the other side of the hanger near the entrance. In the "2nd draft" Anakin even manages to nick Dooku in the arm. Although I'm not positive, the lone deleted shot of Dooku (below) may be from this sequence.
Anakin (2 sabers) V.S. Dooku
Next up is Anakin fighting Dooku with two lightsabers. The two pics shown below (from Image Attack and AOTC Trading Card Game) depict shots or angles that were not used in the finished movie. The third pic is of Anakin a split second or frame before Dooku destroys the green saber (note that the green saber is actually Obi-Wan's saber hilt!).
A blooper to watch for is when Anakin catches the other saber from Obi-Wan, he is holding the green saber in his right hand. But in the next shot, the blue saber is in his right hand and the green in his left! The text commentary available through the DVD weblink also points out this blooper.
Anakin (blue saber) V.S. Dooku
The Blooper Reel which is included on the DVD shows some footage of the lightsaber duel which did not make it into the movie. Notice the similar stance Anakin is using in pics 6 and 7. Pics 1-6 are from the DVD Blooper Reel. Pics 7-12 are from IGN Filmforce's behind the scenes footage. Pics 13-15 are from the AOTC DVD "Story" Featurette.
The little sequence that's depicted in these pics would have led up to Anakin getting his arm chopped off.
I've created a movie of the DVD blooper reel footage and added the lightsaber effects in so we could see what this might have looked like if it had not been deleted. You may notice that the part where Dooku spins out of frame is still in the movie, the other moves before and after that are not. Download the movie here. (603KB zipped mpg file, no sound)
Dreamwatch magazine has a new interview with Nick Gillard in which he talks about the fights for Episode III. He did have one interesting thing to say about the AOTC duel though.
"I worked with Rob Coleman and John Knoll at ILM on the Yoda stuff in Clones," he explains. "I think we did alright with it. It came up very quickly, because originally the fight between Anakin and Dooku was going to be much longer and we shot a much longer sequence, but that was dropped for the Yoda fight.
Although I like the Yoda duel, it's a shame they cut down the Anakin/Dooku duel simply to accommodate Yoda's scene. You can read the rest of the interview here. Thanks to Darthette
Here's another quote from Nick Gillard talking at Celebration III about the extended Anakin/Dooku duel that was cut...
Even with all the hard work from Gillard and the actors, sometimes fight scenes are rearranged or cut all together like in the case of Attack of the Clones.
"The Hayden versus Count Dooku fight scene at the end is 75% longer than you see in the film," Gillard reveals. "The scene was synched differently to add in a digital Yoda. And both Anakin and Dooku were fighting with two lightsabers each. Hayden had worked eight weeks on that scene."
Yoda V.S. Dooku
The next cut is from the showdown between Dooku and Yoda. As you know, after their contest of Force powers, the two masters go at it with lightsabers.
In this cut sequence, Dooku uses two lightsabers against Yoda, his own red blade and a blue blade which he most likely force pulled from Anakin's severed arm/hand. At some point Dooku loses the blue saber and continues on with the red.
Pictures from various publications and behind the scenes footage (from IGN Filmforce and the AOTC DVD) help prove that this scene was filmed. Also of note is that this scene appeared in the comicbook adaption of AOTC and the Count Dooku action figure comes with an extra lightsaber, albeit green.
The "Puppets to Pixels" Documentary on the DVD also features some excellent behind the scenes footage of Christopher Lee's stunt double doing the sword work for this sequence (pics 5-9).
In Star Wars Insider #70, a question was asked in the Q & A section about this sequence and why it wasn't included on the DVD. Pablo Hidalgo, who we know from his great set diaries on Hyperspace was kind enough to answer.
Since the Yoda/Dooku duel was such a huge gamble, George shot a variety angles and ideas to cover his bases. This included the sequence of Dooku holding Yoda off with two lightsabers. This was a form of "insurance" just in case the duel needed it.
This idea was discarded early on in editing and was not extended on the DVD because, in the filmmaker's opinion, the duel didn't need it. Adding it back into the fight for the DVD would require a change in the existing choreography as well as new effects work, something for which there just wasn't time.
Set photography of Dooku with both weapons does exist (as seen above) with lightsaber effects added in, simply because they're cool images.
-2nd draft script.
-Script from Art of Episode II book.
-"A to Z of AOTC" footage aired in the UK.
-IGN Filmforce: Behind the scenes footage.
-starwars.com: Image Attack.
-AOTC Trading Card Game.
-AOTC Visual Dictionary book.
-AOTC comicbook adaption.
-AOTC DVD: Blooper Reel, Puppets to Pixels Doc, Story Featurette.
-Star Wars: The Prequels Chronicles book.