Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith premiered May 19, 2005.
It was my brother’s twenty-sixth birthday. We’re three and a half years apart but I used to tell people we were twins and they believed me.
My younger daughter, Aeris, was born just five weeks earlier. She narrowly escaped being named Anakin.
I saw the film three times opening weekend: The midnight showing. That evening with friends from work, where I was known as ‘the Star Wars girl’. And as part of a day long marathon of all six films on the weekend.
My first viewing I started crying about two minutes in, when Anakin’s and Obi-Wan’s starfighters flew in symmetry across the screen, And I never really stopped. That moment, and the whole movie, still makes me emotional even though I’ve now watched it at least fifty times. There are tears in my eyes as I write this.
I’ve spent hours, days, years thinking about all the different ways the story might end if only one moment changed. If only one choice was different. There are so many ways the story could have gone if it hadn’t already happened long ago and far away.
There’s this moment in the final climactic lightsaber battle when Obi-Wan and Anakin are pulled apart by erupting lava. And they look at it with twin expressions of shock and dismay and bewilderment.
I relate to this moment. Sometimes the lava is a deadline. Or a bill. Or my ambition. Sometimes the lava is a global pandemic. Sometimes the world is actually on fire. Anakin and Obi-Wan keep fighting. Luke throws his weapon away. Rey heals Ben. Taking action can matter more than the result. No choice is forever.
I don’t like ranking Star Wars films. The story is bigger than any one part and quality is subjective. There are moments I love in every film and others that make me roll my eyes and tear my hair out. But Revenge of the Sith is the exception that proves the rule. Revenge of the Sith is my favorite Star Wars film despite or maybe because of its flaws.
It’s personal. I can’t separate Revenge of the Sith from Return of the Jedi, from what made me a fan in the first place. It was always going to be my favorite film. I latched on to Darth Vader as a little girl and I never let go.