‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’ Cut Down a “More Gruesome” Order 66 Scene

Ian McDiarmid, whose twisted Palpatine commanded the slaughter of almost every Jedi in the galaxy [...]

Ian McDiarmid, whose twisted Palpatine commanded the slaughter of almost every Jedi in the galaxy with Order 66, said Star Wars — Episode III: Revenge of the Sith originally featured a "more gruesome" Jedi-killing sequence.

"I think it was a little more gruesome than you ended up seeing, you know. A lot of young potential Jedi ended up on the cutting room floor," McDiarmid said during a panel appearance at Salt Lake City's FanX convention over the weekend, explaining the toned down scene was "probably a good idea" to avoid a harsher rating.

Revenge of the Sith was ultimately rated PG-13 — a first for the Star Wars series.

Recalling a discussion with creator and writer-director George Lucas, the actor said of the sequence, "On the other hand, George says, 'That's what he's like, this guy, he's uncompromising. People should know it.'"

Asked which movie of his filmography is his favorite, McDiarmid quickly pointed to Revenge of the Sith, because "that was the big transformation movie for the character, and I had a lot to."

"I got to play that great scene — and one of the best scenes I think George has written. I know he's often teased about his writing, but he surpassed himself in the scene at the opera," McDiarmid said of a scene shared with Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), who is soon corrupted by the future Emperor.

That scene — "When the old monster finally nails it with Anakin and gets him over to the Dark Side," McDiarmid said — emerged as one of his favorite in the entire long-running saga.

McDiarmid approached the role as picturing the disfigured and malicious Palpatine as little more than just "a solid block of evil," saying he believed "the Dark Side, to him, is the essence of his being."

"I used to refer to it as just a solid block of evil, with nothing at all in his background except that," he said. "He came out of the womb — what a horrible thought, whose womb might that have been? — as a solid block of evil."

Disney-Lucasfilm next releases Star Wars: Episode IX December 20, 2019.