Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy: “Obi-Wan & Anakin Vs. Dooku ROTS”

When Anakin and Obi-Wan reach the bridge where Palpatine is Dooku’s prisoner, the two Jedi are forced into a rematch with the Sith Lord who wiped the floor with them in AOTC.

It is an action scene, but as is often the case with lightsaber duels, there’s a lot more going on than a few guys trying to hack at each other with laser swords. At first there’s no music as the Jedi begin to engage Dooku. Obi-Wan is knocked out of commission and Anakin is left on his own. This is the point where the tone of the scene changes and the score cues up. Check out Anakin’s expression as Dooku throws Obi-Wan across the room and drops a piece of catwalk on him; he’s furious. He aggressively attacks Dooku and Dooku starts goading him. Unfortunately for Dooku, Anakin taps into that anger: he hacks off Dooku’s hands and Dooku finds himself at Anakin’s mercy.

This is essentially Anakin’s first big test before his fall to the Dark Side in the film…what Palpatine tests is whether Anakin is willing to kill on his orders. Even though Anakin hesitates at first, it doesn’t take much to convince him. Dooku in the meantime learns the hard way that he’d been betrayed; it’s amazing to me that Dooku didn’t see it coming. Palpatine then tests Anakin’s loyalty to Obi-Wan by suggesting they leave him behind. Anakin’s refusal reveals to Palpatine that in order to succeed in turning Anakin to the Dark Side, he has to destroy their friendship.

The scene is a great display of Nick Gillard’s work, as well as that of Christopher Lee’s double. Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine is his wonderfully-deceptive self, being the innocent and helpless supreme chancellor at first then the manipulative Sith Lord. This is the film where the mask comes off, and it slips in this scene as Palpatine becomes emboldened. Hayden Christensen not only pulls off the physical demands of the scene, he’s vulnerable and fearsome all at once. The space battle seen in the viewports while this all plays out reflects the drama and conflict happening on that bridge.

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8 Responses to “Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy: “Obi-Wan & Anakin Vs. Dooku ROTS””

  1. peacetrainjedi Says:

    Love the way Obi-Wan so effortlessly dispatches the pair of super battle droids that open fire on him as he ascends the stairs.

    And I agree that closing scene with Anakin saying “His fate will be the same as ours” is perfect on many levels, and Hayden knocks it out of the park.

  2. RK Says:

    Anakin is horrified that Dooku put him out of the fight so easily and when he sees what Dooku does to Obi-Wan (in an effort to nullify any further influence on Anakin) He gets angry and fights Dooku so successfully that now Dooku is on the defensive. Palpatine needs to know that Anakin will follow his instructions to kill and, unfortunately, it works. HOWEVER, the fact that Anakin refuses to leave Obi Wan is to his credit…he IS trying to combat the dark side but he’s very young and naive even though his Jedi skills are immense. Hayden’s acting here is feirce and most appropriate for the scenes. His sword skills show most excellently, his physicality and emotionalism is true and boyish all at once. He shows his his respect and love for Obi Wan but is continually drawn by Palpatine to the dark side. Even the very Jedi that should be directing him and protecting Anakin, allow him more and more physcial and emotional contact with Palpatine for their cause, with no thought to what it is doing to Anakin.

  3. Morgan Cherney Says:

    Not to mention that the viewport and Jedi battling before a seated Palpatine for apprenticeship is reminiscent of Luke battling Vader before Palpatine in RotJ, though I think we all recognized that 😉

    The only downside of this scene is that it was far too little screentime for an actor of Christopher Lee’s caliber. I don’t want to be telling Lucas how to make his films, but i think Dooku COULD have replaced Grievous as an enemy to overcome, or at least extend his role a bit. In the finished film, it’s like, “all right, more cunning from Dooku. Let’s see what he’s got for us in this installment–……well that was fast. Bye, Mr. Lee…” Just my two cents.

  4. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    Two issues I have with this scene.

    1. There’s a great line from Dooku that was shown in the clip in the video game, but was somehow cut from the film proper: “Just because there are two of you, do not think that you have the advantage.”

    2. The way the platform falls on Obi has quite clearly severed his legs, but he comes out in tact later. It’s a nitpick, but any legit SFX failure makes it harder to argue with haters (even if one can name a million mistakes in IV-VI for one in I-III).

    Other than that, you’re dead-on. The scene is amazing.

    • peacetrainjedi Says:

      Any additional Dooku/Lee lines, especially that one, would always make (any) movie better, I agree.

      But I must partially defend the second objection. Who knows, maybe the platform was built of lightweight materials, maybe Obi (or Ani) threw up a force shield to prevent any permanent damage. I wouldn’t call it an SFX failure, just one that can be misconstrued. Just remember, when Obi-Wan gets knocked down, he always, always gets up again. This clip summarizes it better than I ever could:

      • buick runner Says:

        Nothing is as bad as Han and the gang waking around with just gas masks in a zero G, vacuum asteroid cave that turns out to be a slug.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Ha! That video’s great!

        Everybody in Star Wars should’ve died 10,000 times over. Plus, things explode in giant booming fireballs in vacuum. It all stretches credibility. That’s part of the charm.

  5. Andromakhe (@KentressCrazy) Says:

    I always wonder if Anakin would have slain Dooku if Obi-Wan had actually been available to say no. I’m thinking not. Unfortunately for Dooku, he knocked him out.

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