In an excerpt from the book, George Lucas talked about the film’s lightsaber duels and how they brought out the best in the cast’s performances, especially Christensen and Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Ewan McGregor. Noting that McGregor had always been “a great swordfighter,” Lucas explained:
“He and [Darth Maul actor] Ray Park were very good [in ‘The Phantom Menace’]. Christensen is very athletic, and he’s also very good at it. The difference in this particular film is they [McGregor and Christensen] have to fight each other. As actors there’s a little bit of competitiveness about who’s going to be the better swordfighter.”
Fan rankings might be partially based on just loving our favorite characters, but it’s also influenced by the skills we see on the screen — something that is determined by the fight choreography. That also means there has to be a decision made about skill levels before shooting takes place. Obviously, that starts with the script, but Gillard also gave Lucas and his fellow creatives his own personal rankings for the film’s various Jedi and Sith to draw from.
Gillard spoke about his rankings for Rinzler’s book, explaining:
“On ‘Attack of the Clones,’ I had to give them levels. Sidious is a level nine [out of 10]. On this film [‘Revenge of the Sith’], Obi is eight — he’s moved up — Anakin is a nine; Mace [Samuel L. Jackson] is a nine, Yoda is a nine. They’re up with Sidious. Once you get to eight, you have a Pandora’s box. You could go any way with it. The way not to go is the dark side. But it would tempt you, because that would jump you right past the others. So you need to arrive at level eight at the right age — not as young as Anakin. That young, the dark side is just too tempting.”