Plan the fight like its a drama
"For the final fight in Episode III, I always saw that story as Obi-Wan didn’t want to kill Anakin, even though he’ d been ordered to, because he loved him.
So I wrote it like a husband fighting his wife, or a wife attacking her husband and he cant hit her, so he’s got to absorb it all around the house and hopefully at some point she’s going to get tired and give up."
Dont be too concerned with the past
"When I was mapping out the prequel fights I looked at the lightsaber battles in the first films.
But George then said ‘Don’t worry about that style, they were old guys, we need to do something new.’"
Fight to win, but make sure you look cool doing it
"Lightsaber fighting has always interested me, in that you should never do it unless you win.
The urge to win is the key, style is supplemental.
If you trained under a martial arts master for twenty years, that’s all you’d learn; how to win.
But at the same time, in the Star Wars universe, it’s got to look spectacular. "
Forget the rules, but dont cheat
"There are no rules in Jedi fighting, but we decided there were 8 stages – Yoda was at 8 – that you need to learn each stage and if you miss one, or you get one wrong, then you are going to the Dark side.
It’s a bit like taking drugs. If you dropped acid and got enlightened it wouldn’t be the same as being as being enlightened by a Buddhist."
The fight must reflect the character
"I knew that Obi-Wan had been taught by Count Dooku and Dooku was little bit crazy so that would have passed onto Obi.
Obi was a little bit violent in his younger days, so he’s now going to pass that on to Anakin, who’s already too old to be taught, so that flaw is gonna develop.
So when you’re writing lightsaber fights, you have a philosophy behind it. It’s not just ‘this guy hits another guy.’
The Sith might be nastier fighters, but they have built-in flaws, so in the grander scheme of things, they’re going to lose."
Make sure Samuel L Jackson gets involved
"Originally Sam Jackson wasn't going to do a fight. He kept calling me and emailing me, he said I’ve got to get a fight, I have got to get a fight.
So I kept lobbying George and eventually George said 'Okay, he can have a fight - he can fight Jango.'
Which was a relief, as Sam had sent me an email saying 'If you don’t get George to get me a fight on this movie I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger and you will know my name is Mace!'
So I was glad that didn't happen (laughs)."
Anyone can learn how to use a lightsaber
'I can teach anyone the moves. And, in fact, if they can't do specific moves, we can drop them and improvise (as Total Film proved when Nick tried to teach TF how to fight - see above) during the training period.
Sometimes actors didn't feel comfortable doing certain moves, so we just dropped them.
I don't like rules, so if people aren’t happy with a move, then we don't have to do it.
Everyone’s different, they have different skills, so I like to work around that.
And sometimes improvisation can lead to great stuff that surprises you.'
Star Wars: The Complete Saga is out on Blu-ray on 12 September