How The Star Wars Prequels Pulled Off Jedi Jumps And Flips Without Any Wires

These air ramps were involved in some of the best stunts in the whole movie, like Darth Maul’s aerial backward somersault, which actor Ray Park performed by traveling 40 feet across the stage, according to the “Star Wars: The Making Of Episode I – The Phantom Menace” book. 

In a separate interview with Vulture for a retrospective on “The Phantom Menace,” Gillard talked about the final big stunt of the movie, the moment Obi-Wan jumps from a huge pit, does a somersault, then slashes Maul in half, seemingly killing him (until he came back, of course).

Because of how intricate and difficult it is to have a stunt actor, let alone the star of the movie, do this stunt and actually land on his feet, a different solution was required, to shoot the sequence backward. Park and Ewan McGregor’s stunts performed the sequence in reverse, with Obi-Wan sewing Daul back together with his lightsaber before jumping into a pit at the end. A bit less glamorous but impressive nonetheless.

Even without the acrobatics, the lightsaber duels were still fast-paced, intricate dance choreographies. “Revenge of the Sith” in particular has so many movements that you wouldn’t even notice all of them without pausing and going frame by frame. Much of this wasn’t even in the script, like Dooku’s death by decapitation.

Though this might create a disparity in the quality of lightsaber action between the original trilogy and the more recent “Star Wars” movies, there’s something to love about every duel in any era.

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