Samuel L. Jackson Opens Up About Intense Lightsaber Training For Star Wars

Mace Windu

The Star Wars prequels are almost universally looked down on by movie fans. But if there's one thing the movies deserve credit for, it's making exciting lightsaber fights. Generally, the action in the prequels is dizzying and awesome, with the lightsaber duels major steps above Darth Vader and Obi-Wan in A New Hope. However, with that increased choreography comes increased work for the actors. Samuel L. Jackson detailed the training that went into learning one fight sequence in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and pretty intense.

Lightsaber battles? It takes a long time to learn those, or it did when I was doing them. The last one I did with the Emperor was 99 moves through three rooms, backwards for me. So, two weeks in sneakers and shorts, two weeks in boots, another week in Jedi robe/boots/lightsaber before we actually shot it. So, it was pretty intense.

Samuel L. Jackson played Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy, a character who's gone on to appear in a variety of different Star Wars TV shows, comics, and books since he made his debut. Mace is famous for his unique purple lightsaber (which was requested by Jackson), and he sure put it to use during the movies. The Jedi Master was involved in his share of scraps in the trilogy, fighting guys like Jango Fett and Palpatine himself, and it required lots of prep time for Jackson to nail the fancy footwork of the Jedi.

Samuel L. Jackson told GQ that training for lightsaber battles could be pretty intense. He used the specific example of training for Mace's final fight about Palpatine, one that involved his character moving backward through three different rooms. The fights in Revenge of the Jedi are probably the most complex in Star Wars (Anakin vs Obi-Wan especially), so it's easy to see how getting ready for filming this was a challenge for all parties.

To see exactly what took so long for Samuel L. Jackson to train for, here is the fight between Mace and Palpatine. It definitely has some over the top campiness in certain moments, but I can see why it took five weeks to prepare.

Samuel L. Jackson's days in a galaxy far, far away may be over, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of Star Wars to look forward to. There are some big rumors coming out of Lucasfilm at the moment, but you can next see Star Wars: Episode IX in theaters on December 20, 2019.

Matt Wood

Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.