What a difference 30 years makes.

Back in 1975, writer and director George Lucas was struggling to find someone to produce his space epic “Star Wars,” going from studio to studio to find anyone willing to give it a chance.

Now, with “Star Wars” and the four sequels it spawned firmly entrenched in American culture and movie history, with all of them landing a spot on the top 30 worldwide grosses of all-time, Lucas is putting the finishing touches on the final film in the series.

“Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” opens on May 19, and Lucas does not seem to be much concerned about the massive fan base which has made him a billionaire. He recently told a group of theater owners “That’s not my job, to make people like my movies. They either like them or they don’t. That’s completely out of my hands.” Spoken like a true artist.

Lucas is undoubtedly trying to deflect the massive waves of criticism that have come after the release of the two previous prequels, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” He has promised that the latest film will be like “Titanic” in space, a tearjerker that focuses on the downfall of main character Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen).

Skywalker is, of course, best known as Darth Vader, the feature villain in the original trilogy. In “The Phantom Menace” Skywalker was an innocent young boy who got swept up in a whirlwind of events that landed him with Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and future-wife Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). During “Attack of the Clones,” Skywalker was a teenager stuck between the forces of the light side of the Force, embodied by Kenobi and fan-favorite Yoda, and the dark side, represented by Darth Sidious. The new movie will finally reveal how Skywalker turns completely to the dark side, and also show the birth of the famous Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia, the heroes of the original trilogy.

Despite the promise of a heart wrenching love story, fans of special effects and explosions should not be put off. The “Star Wars” movies are known for their intense battle scenes and cutting-edge special effects, and “Revenge” will be no different. The movie picks up at the end of the Clone Wars, the intergalactic struggle that began in the previous film.

Each movie is known for showcasing exotic locales that could only exist on sound studios and computer hard drives. While “Phantom Menace” gave us the aquatic swamp-world of Naboo and “Clones” sent us to the rocky crags of Geonosis, “Sith” will feature the lava-ruined world of Mustafar – where Obi-Wan and Anakin have their much-anticipated lightsaber duel.

The main adversary is the robotic soldier General Grievous, who leads the Separatist Army along with Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), the Jedi we last saw in “Clones,” doing a pretty decent job fighting with a lightsaber for a senior citizen. While Obi-Wan is hunting them down, Anakin is following around Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who subsequently crowns himself Emperor and invites the wrath of the Jedi, finally pitting Obi-Wan against his former pupil.

Lucas has basically had five movies to set up this film, so expectations are high. While the latest entries in the series have had their missteps, a movie with a darker tone that is full of action may not become a cultural milestone, but will at the very least provide a decent distraction this summer.

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