- "Though this is the end of the age of heroes, it has saved its best for last."
The Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization was written by Matthew Stover and published on April 2, 2005 by Del Rey. It is based on the script of the movie of the same name. Narration for the audio version was performed by Jonathan Davis.
The book's plot corresponds almost exactly to that of the movie, though there are several added elements not seen in the film (the appearance of Lorth Needa as commander of the Integrity during the Battle of Coruscant, for example), while several sections of the movie's plot (most notably the Kashyyyk sequence) have been removed for the sake of the story's pacing. All of the deleted scenes with the founders of the Rebel Alliance are included, and Stover heavily references the previous chronological novel, James Luceno's Labyrinth of Evil, something uncommon in film novelizations. Events from other Expanded Universe publications are also referenced, including the Star Wars: Republic comic book series, the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, and the novels The Approaching Storm, Shatterpoint, The Cestus Deception, and Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.
- ISBN 0345428838; April 2, 2005, Del Rey, 432-page hardcover
- ISBN 0345485564; April 2, 2005, Del Rey, 432-page slipcase edition hardcover
- ISBN 0739301861; April 2, 2005, Random House Audio, Abridged cassette (5 hours and 2 minutes)
- ISBN 0739318314; April 2, 2005, Random House Audio, Abridged CD
- ISBN 0739318322; April 2, 2005, Random House Audio, Unabridged cassette
- ISBN 0739318330; April 2, 2005, Random House Audio, Unabridged CD
- ISBN 141591673X; April 2, 2005, Books on Tape by Random House Audio, Audio CD
- ISBN 0345428846; October 25, 2005, Del Rey, 480-page paperback
- ISBN 8324121269; Amber, 367-page Polish paperback (Zemsta Sithów)
- ISBN 9636793093; Aquila Kiadó, 336-page Hungarian hardcover (A Sith-ek bosszúja)
- ISBN 954-528-691-1; Trud, 358-page Bulgarian paperback (Отмъщението на Ситите)
Be wary of your feelings."
The turning point for the entire Star Wars saga is at hand…
After years of civil war, the Separatists have battered the already faltering Republic nearly to the point of collapse. On Coruscant, the Senate watches anxiously as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine aggressively strips away more and more constitutional liberties in the name of safeguarding the Republic. Yoda, Mace Windu, and their fellow Masters grapple with the Chancellor's disturbing move to assume control of the Jedi Council. And Anakin Skywalker, the prophesied Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force, is increasingly consumed by his fear that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die.
As the combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader General Grievous. Palpatine, eager to secure even greater control, subtly influences public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin—tormented by unspeakable visions—edges dangerously closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious, whose shadow looms ever larger, to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic…and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.
The turning point for the entire Star Wars saga is at hand…
As combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader, General Grievous. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine continues to strip away constitutional liberties in the name of security while influencing public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin fears that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die. Tormented by unspeakable visions, Anakin edges closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic—and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.
Notable differences between the movie and the novelEdit
Battle of CoruscantEdit
The battle sequence is expanded in the book, and detailed descriptions of a small number of maneuvers are included, such as the Slip Jaws maneuver. Also, the damage caused to Obi-Wan's fighter by the Buzz Droids is much more severe, to the point where his ship has lost all maneuverability. Also, Obi-Wan's on-board astromech droid, R4-P17, is mistakenly listed as male, when, in fact, the droid has feminine programming.
Duel with Count DookuEdit
While the duel between Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Count Dooku is relatively short in the movie, its appearance in the novelization depicts it as the longest one in the story. Added elements include Dooku using the Force to fling chairs and tables against the two Jedi.
Before the duel, there is a short conversation between Palpatine and Dooku, revealing the plan which Palpatine used to lure Dooku into the confrontation with Anakin, his new candidate for apprenticeship. Palpatine tells Dooku that the objective of the duel is to kill Obi-Wan and surrender to Anakin, thus creating the right public story to allow the three of them to take over the galaxy. This was the first scene ever to appear in the novelizations which confirms that Darth Sidious and Palpatine are the same individual.
In the novel, Dooku is depicted as being clearly overpowered by the Jedi, with both Obi-Wan and Anakin being nearly as powerful as he is. He panics and spends most of his energy to take out Obi-Wan before Anakin kills him.
After Dooku is disarmed and Palpatine urges Anakin to kill him, it becomes obvious for Dooku that he had been used as a pawn and a decoy, who never possessed the true powers of a Sith. His last thought was, "Treachery is the way of the Sith."
Anakin's guilt at killing Dooku in cold blood lasts much longer than in the movie.
Anakin and his lightsaberEdit
When Anakin is carrying Obi-Wan on his back, he drops his lightsaber down the turboshaft. Grievous then sends his bodyguards to get it.
Anakin and PadméEdit
In the novelization, we glimpse more of the tragic couple's relationship and how it headed so rapidly toward its downfall. The scene where Padmé tells Anakin she is pregnant with their child is extended:
Today, here in the hallway of the Senate Office Building, she brings him news of a gift they have given each other — a gift of joy, and of terror. This gift is the edge of a knife that has already cut their past from their future.
In another example, the book also includes a scene in which Anakin and Padmé discuss the gender of the child she carries, believing at the time that she was only pregnant with a single child. Anakin is adamant that the baby is a girl, due to its forcible kicks, whereas Padmé is certain it is a boy, due to her motherly intuition. Although this may not seem like a scene that broadened and shortened Anakin's path to the dark side, it shows his love and devotion to his family, highlighting the fact that he would do anything for them, including becoming a Sith Lord.
The book expands on Anakin's fear for Padmé's life as a driving motivation for his desire to become a Jedi Master and be given access to resources allowing him to learn about the Sith. His frustration over his slow promotion is more directly connected to his need to protect his wife from the occurrences predicted in his visions.
A subplot is used from the original script draft where Anakin is jealous of Obi-Wan and suspects that Padmé is having an affair with him. Palpatine further feeds this fear in him, driving the couple further apart and adding to Anakin's confused emotional state, which eventually results in his turning to the dark side.
The book presents more of C-3PO's thoughts regarding events, including a scene of 3PO allowing Obi-Wan into Padmé's apartment, though the droid was wary of Kenobi. His talk with R2-D2 before Anakin left for Mustafar was also expanded, with 3PO telling R2 rumors about what was happening. Additionally, Bail Prestor Organa's decision to have C-3PO's mind wiped is given more context, in light of the droid's obvious inability to keep sensitive information (in this case, about the Skywalker twins' true parentage) to himself (in contrast with R2-D2).
In the book, Grievous lacks the sickly cough and is described as virtually unbeatable (similar to his depiction in Clone Wars). He is also described as being unable to laugh, which he did in the film. However, he does fear both Anakin and Obi-Wan, who he notices are much deadlier than any other Jedi he has faced. During the duel with Obi-Wan, Grievous finds himself completely outmatched. When Obi-Wan and Grievous fight on the landing platform, Obi-Wan is able to severely damage Grievous's limbs simply by using the Force, while in the film, a similar attempt (though striking Griveous's much thicker legs, and without an electrostaff) only injures Obi-Wan.
Grievous' true emotions about the Neimoidians are also revealed in the novel. He quickly becomes annoyed with them, constantly wishing he could remove their brains. Nute Gunray and Rune Haako are only safe from Grievous' "grip" due to Darth Sidious' protection over them. The bridge crew of Invisible Hand is not so lucky, though; Grievous kills all of them.
The Neimoidians on General Grievous's flagshipEdit
General Grievous kills almost all of the Neimoidians on board the Separatist flagship, either because of the annoyance they caused, or because they failed to complete their assigned tasks. The casualties presumably included Lushros Dofine, although none of them are identified by name. Those who were not killed by Grievous absorbed randomly deflected blaster bolts from the Droidekas that had been deployed to kill Anakin and Obi-Wan. This is in direct contrast to the film's version of the bridge scene, wherein Grievous simply tells the crew to keep the ship in orbit before leaving the vessel; during the flagship's crash-landing the Neimoidians are shown fleeing the bridge, apparently alive and well.
The Jedi's Council rulingEdit
The novelization elaborates on the events of the Jedi Council's decision to nominate Anakin to spy on Palpatine that were originally only alluded to in the film. Specifically, they discussed the rare opportunity Palpatine unintentionally presented to them to have Anakin keep tabs on the Supreme Chancellor to see his doings. Obi-Wan is shown to explicitly be against the decision, because he knows Anakin is not the type to simply do what he's told (due to his own personal experience with Anakin), and because Anakin's not the type to hide his emotions (also citing this is exactly the same reason why the Council ruled against having him promoted to Jedi Master), which consequentially also made Anakin very honest and fiercely loyal, also citing that it carried the risk of utterly destroying his and Palpatine's friendship throughout the years, which would have been too great especially if it turned out the Supreme Chancellor was confirmed innocent. However, Obi-Wan ended up out-voted and reluctantly submitted to the decision. The scene also implies that the Jedi Council had ulterior motives to their having Anakin specifically spy on the Supreme Chancellor besides simply concern for the Republic's well being, as Mace Windu cited that trying to sabotage Anakin's friendship with Palpatine to ensure Anakin remained distant from the Supreme Chancellor was the best reason for making Anakin their spy. The sequence also revealed that, at least during Obi-Wan's brief time among the Council, the Jedi Council's more prone to entering arguments over what to do than actually entering communion with the Force to reach a decision as various Jedi Masters have reportedly done since before the return of the Sith.
The departure of the Separatist CouncilEdit
In the film, Obi-Wan overhears Grievous briefing the Separatist Council about their new hideaway on Mustafar before they depart in front of Kenobi's eyes. In the book, the Council departs days before Kenobi's arrival. Grievous witnesses them frightfully scurry onto their starship.
In addition, Nute Gunray stays behind for a few minutes to discuss the safety of the Council and financial problems of himself and the other Confederacy leaders before departing. Immediately after, Grievous is contacted by Sidious as in the film.
The Battle of KashyyykEdit
The Battle of Kashyyyk is completely absent from the novel. Luminara Unduli, Quinlan Vos, Chewbacca, Tarfful, and Commander Gree do not appear, nor are they mentioned. The book does explain why Yoda went to Kashyyyk in the first place, however: it was an attempt to lure Darth Sidious out of hiding. Palpatine was allegedly manipulating the Jedi into isolating Anakin from his two closest mentors—Obi-Wan and Yoda—before tempting him with the power of the dark side.
Palpatine tests Anakin's thirst for powerEdit
Palpatine offers to give Anakin anything he wants. At first, Anakin wonders if the Chancellor is only playing a childish game with him. He wishes for a new speeder, although this was probably meant as a test of how serious Palpatine was being at the time. Palpatine asks if this is all he wishes, and the 'game' escalates until Corellia is mentioned. Sidious asks him if he wishes only the planet or the entire system. Anakin told him he wanted the whole system. The point of this game is to strengthen Palpatine's assertion that the Jedi hold Anakin back, and that he must choose for himself (a Sith idea, as it focuses only on what he wants) what he desires, "letting himself out," as Palpatine puts it. It also represents the length to which Palpatine is willing to go for his future apprentice; it is clear that he would, in fact, have given Anakin the entire Corellian sector had he so desired.
The arrest of the ChancellorEdit
In the novelization, Mace Windu contacted Yoda once more after learning the truth of Palpatine's identity, sanctioning his upcoming decision and action with the approval of the Grand Master of the Jedi Order.
The novelization stated that Darth Sidious could indeed sense the approach of the four Jedi Masters, as well as the emotional turmoil of Anakin Skywalker, who was still waiting in the Council Chamber. The novel also described Palpatine's preparations for the upcoming duel in detail, including how he recovered his Sith lightsaber and prepared an audio recording.
The Jedi cornered the Dark Lord, trying to stop his escape. Sidious sprang into action quickly. During the duel, Saesee Tiin was beheaded when Sidious tricked him and caught him off guard. Agen Kolar was then impaled through the head by Sidious's lightsaber. In the movie, Kolar dies first (effectively making him the first victim of the Great Jedi Purge), followed by Tiin with a slash at the side, and although both die of different lightsaber markings, Tiin is not beheaded, and Kolar was slain from a chest wound. Kit Fisto and Mace Windu, who survive due to their prowess, take the Chancellor on in a final attempt to make him stand down.
Anakin Skywalker, recognizing the consequences of what he did by revealing Palpatine, rushed to the Chancellor's office. Shaak Ti stood in his way and tried to convince Anakin not to go, but Anakin rudely refused to obey the Jedi Master.
As he arrived, he witnessed the epic battle between Kit Fisto, Mace Windu, and Sidious by hovering his speeder outside Palpatine's office window. He could not yet determine who the combatants were, seeing only their lightsabers. Kit Fisto was decapitated shortly after Skywalker caught sight of the duel. When his green blade flickered out, Skywalker smashed the window to Palpatine's private office and leaped through. There, he found the dead body of Kolar and the heads of Saesee Tiin and Kit Fisto (who was also only slashed in the movie). Anakin was able to watch the epic lightsaber duel between Windu and Sidious for some time, instead of arriving just in time when the Jedi knocked down Sidious in the movie.
Mace Windu could sense the approach of Anakin through the Force before he broke the office window, so it was reasonable for Darth Sidious to have the same experience. When the fight moved to the ledge, Mace described sensing Sidious's momentary hesitation as the Sith Lord decreased his speed.
Whether it was an intentional trick on the part of Sidious or whether Windu truly out-sparred the Sith Lord is confirmed in neither the movie nor the novel. Mace confessed, however, that Vaapad could not overpower the Sith Lord, and it was his shatterpoint ability which allowed him to gain the upper hand. In the book, Mace Windu did not kick Sidious's jaw, and he sliced the Chancellor's weapon in half rather than knocking it from his grasp. It should be noted that in actuality, this would be impossible without the shatterpoint ability, as the casing of Palpatine's lightsaber is built out of lightsaber-resistant Phrik alloy.
When Mace held Sidious at blade point, he explained to the Sith Lord why Darth Sidious and his shadowy order always lose: because they were always defeated by their own fear. Sidious countered by screaming "Fool! Do you think the fear you feel is mine?" instead of "No! No!! NO!!! YOU WILL DIE!!!" and blasted the Jedi Master with Force lightning.
In the fight, Mace Windu realized that Sidious's shatterpoint was Anakin Skywalker himself. When Anakin approached Mace, who was struggling to deflect the lightning blasts, Mace sensed that Sidious did not fear Anakin at all, and that the Sith Lord would make no move to defend himself. Mace concluded that this was the shatterpoint of the Sith, and the absolute shatterpoint of the dark side itself.
Ultimately, when Mace was betrayed by Anakin and blasted by Darth Sidious, his last thought before plummeting to his death was the shocking realization that although Anakin Skywalker indeed was the shatterpoint of Darth Sidious, he forgot to look for the shatterpoint of Anakin himself: his desire to save his wife at any cost.
Order 66 was described in a few short sentences, with no mention being given of any specific Jedi's death or identifying any clone commander who executed the order. However, Cody does remark that he wishes he had been told about the order before he gave Obi-Wan back his lightsaber. Only Obi-Wan's scene was the same as seen in the movie, except for the fact that Cody ordered more than one AT-TE to fire at Kenobi. Yoda's case was not described either, and he next appears when he meets Obi-Wan on board the Tantive IV.
In the book, Matthew Stover provided the reasons why the Clone Wars were being fought in the first place, describing them as "the perfect Jedi trap," a concept introduced earlier in the novel as Obi-Wan arrives on Utapau. This is the first account of the full extent of Sidious's plotting.
The return to the Jedi TempleEdit
The novel better described how Obi-Wan and Yoda avoided attention in the Temple. Cin Drallig is mentioned as Obi-Wan's fencing instructor; after seeing his corpse lying on the ground. Obi-Wan is mortified at the fact that Anakin could do such a thing, but he must let go of his attachments.
Slaughter of the Separatist CouncilEdit
The mission to Mustafar is depicted somewhat differently in the novel than in the movie. In the film, Nute Gunray greets Vader before the massacre begins. In the novelization, San Hill greets Vader before being killed. In addition, all those depicted dying in the novel (except Poggle the Lesser, due to a language barrier) speak, whereas only Nute Gunray speaks in the film.
The leaders also die in a different order from in the film: San Hill, Poggle the Lesser, Shu Mai, Wat Tambor, Rune Haako, and finally a pleading-for-life Nute Gunray, each of which have their last words before dying. Passel Argente and Po Nudo are not depicted dying in the novel, while both are seen running from Vader and being sliced down shortly after in the film. None of the aides beside Rune Haako are mentioned either and neither is Senator Tikkes. Anakin is depicted as enjoying killing the council members in the book and savoring each death, but in the movie Anakin is shown to be cold and full of hate.
Emperor Palpatine vs. Yoda duelEdit
In the novel, it became clear that Darth Sidious was indeed superior to Yoda in lightsaber combat. Yoda also realized that the Jedi Order mistakenly focused on fighting the old Sith rather than the new, evolved Sith of Darth Bane's order. Yoda described that "he had lost before he started. He had lost before he was born." However, he was able to learn a new insight "which held the hope of the galaxy" during the battle.
In the novel, Palpatine is happy that Yoda has arrived, because he now has the chance to kill the famed Jedi himself; he cherishes the chance to battle his foe, and even greets him with a "Happy Empire Day!" upon Yoda's entry. In the film, Palpatine tries to escape and only fights when Yoda allows him no other option.
Yoda deflects Palpatine's Force lightning to blast the guards into unconsciousness rather than being knocked across the office. But then Sidious increases its power, and Yoda goes unconscious. Yoda knocks Palpatine to the floor with his physical body instead of a Force push.
Palpatine and Yoda then move to sabers. They ignite their weapons and have a vicious lightsaber duel. Unlike the film, which had a classic saber duel between the two masters, the novel describes them as trading kicks and blows as well as Palpatine using his lightning. The saber duel is on ground, but then goes on the podium into the Senate, just as the movie shows. The two opponents then hurl Senate pods at each other, just like in the movie. However, in the movie, both Yoda and Palpatine use the Force to hurl the pods, whereas in the novel, one uses the Force and the other uses the controls. Palpatine and Yoda then proceed to have a lightning battle as in the movie.
At the end of the battle, the lightning energy ball does not explode. Sidious leaps safely to a nearby podium, and the Grand Master follows. At this point, Yoda is "out" of Force energy. Palpatine turns around and blasts Yoda, who is still in the air, back against another podium; Yoda then falls to the bottom of the Senate Chamber.
Palpatine himself was not knocked over by any blast, but he was described as "a very old, very tired man" after the epic battle. Palpatine could not direct the search for Yoda as he hurried to rescue Darth Vader, but he told the clones to destroy the whole building if they had to.
Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader duelEdit
The duel is shorter than it is in the movie, as the novel focuses more on the duelers' emotions rather than on the details of the battle itself. The book has addressed the famous "Obi-Wan's interchanging lightsaber" issue when he was choked by Vader. The way Vader loses his limbs is the same, but the dialogue is reversed, from "I hate you" followed by "You were my brother Anakin, I loved you" to having Obi-Wan speak first.
The feelings of VaderEdit
The book discloses more about Anakin's feelings as he is locked into the armor, both about the suit itself and about other recent events: his feelings for certain people (such as Padmé and Obi-Wan), his anger towards Obi-Wan for trying to turn Padmé against him, and his anger at Obi-Wan leaving him to die. While the film gives the audience a glimpse of Anakin/Vader's feelings about the death of his wife, the book shows such things in more depth, and shows his regret, his disbelief, and his sorrow at losing not only his wife, but his child.
Next in the book are the birth of the Skywalkers and other matters. Little was changed in the ending in the novelization, although more was revealed about Yoda's thoughts of what went wrong with the Jedi Order and his ability to communicate with a deceased Qui-Gon Jinn. One noteworthy change regards the future of the twins: Bail Organa offers to take Leia not really believing there is any chance of success, and becomes somewhat sheepish when Obi-Wan and Yoda agree to it.
From its publication in 2005 until the canon reboot in 2014, this book, like all other novelizations, was considered part of the Expanded Universe and classified as C-canon. However, Matthew Stover stated in 2006 that George Lucas was closely involved in its editing:
Though I did not personally watch him do it, I received from LFL a Word document of Revenge of the Sith with Mr Lucas' edits, which was distinct from the edits I'd already gotten from Sue Rostoni and Howard Roffman and the rest of the LFL crew, and this document was edited in such a detailed fashion that even individual words had been struck off and his preferred replacements inserted, as well as some passages wholly excised and some dialogue replaced with the dialogue from the screenplay. If that's not line-editing, I don't know what is.
What's in that book is there because Mr. Lucas wanted it to be there. What's not in that book is not there because Mr. Lucas wanted it gone.
Even before the 2014 decision to declare most material from the Expanded Universe (rebranded as Star Wars Legends) noncanon, later material from Star Wars: The Clone Wars contradicted certain elements of the novelization. For example, the novelization depicted Yoda speaking with Qui-Gon Jinn seemingly for the first time since Jinn became a Force ghost, whereas an arc in the sixth season of The Clone Wars showed Yoda being summoned to Dagobah by Jinn's ghost and directed to the Force Priestesses for training.
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This is a gallery of the different cover variations of the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization.