‘Star Wars’: Connecting the dots

DVD of epic proportions dedicates itself to the details

Don M. Burrows

OK, admit it. You’re going to rush out Tuesday and buy the latest “Star Wars” DVD.

You aren’t going to do this because “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” was far superior to the previous two films, which, well, sucked. You bought those DVDs, too. And you don’t know why. It was as if you were under some sort of generational obligation to the franchise.

Well, relax. Now you can buy a “Star Wars” DVD openly and without rationalizations (someday my kid might like that pod-racing brat) or denials (Jar-Jar was just misunderstood). Having seen a selection of the extras on the upcoming DVD, I can attest that the film and special features will finally delight even a 30-year “Star Wars” veteran.

For one, the producers promise several deleted scenes. This includes the long-awaited one that shows Yoda, following his flight from the emperor, arriving on Dagobah, where we finally met him in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

But the special features’ strength is largely due to the time spent exploring the six films’ continuity, which Lucas strove for in minute detail.

In “The Chosen One,” a documentary chronicling the story of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader through the cinematic sextet, we get to see the effort that went into matching Hayden Christensen’s Skywalker with the face we finally saw at the end of “Return of the Jedi.” The art crew even ensured that the scarring of the older Vader’s face matched that of Christensen’s charred character at the end of “Sith.”

The attention to continuity runs throughout the features. We see Ewan McGregor impressively transformed into a young Sir Alec Guinness to match the elder Obi-Wan. This might seem apparent in the films themselves, but it is even more striking to see makeup artists work from a photo of Guinness to duplicate his hairline.

Indeed, Lucas even matched the lightsaber Kenobi picks up after his duel with Skywalker at the end of “Sith” to the 1970s model handed to Luke – the one he was told belonged to his father. One scene shows the director perusing a lineup of sabers that Anakin used throughout his six-film swordplay career.

This same continuity resonated narratively in “Sith,” and made longtime fans embrace the film after a pair of disappointments. It paid off all the backstory glimpses in the books and all the action figure fantasy duels we concocted as kids: Obi-Wan versus Anakin, Yoda versus the Emperor.

“Sith” also provided vindicating details I only wish I could send my third-grade classmates in a memo: See, I told you Darth Vader was made in a volcano – and no, I never suggested his suit was a blackened version of the X-wing getup. And furthermore, all of you who laughed at me for toting a green lightsaber when I came dressed as Yoda for Halloween: Eat it.

I’ve heard others in my generation say it, and I suppose I must concur: Even though the first two episodes left much to be desired, Lucas redeemed himself with “Sith.” In so doing, he made the wait for another “Star Wars” trilogy – which for me began with his 1987 interview on Nickelodeon, when he hinted at another film – worth it.

That said, let’s hope it’s over. The series is on a high note. I don’t think the franchise should risk a “Star Wars: Episode VII,” or even a “Star Wars: Episode III 1/2” exploring the 15-20 “lost” years between the two films.

Let’s relegate that remaining material to video games and cartoon shorts, George. For instance, let’s forgo another TV movie about the Ewoks and maybe focus on a revival of “Droids.”

So enjoy “Sith,” but don’t bother trying to watch the first two DVDs before viewing the new one, something you always plan but never accomplish. We know you’ve never actually made it all the way through your copy of “Phantom Menace.” So why start now?