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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 epic space opera film directed by George Lucas that tells the tale of Anakin Skywalker's turn to the Dark Side of The Force, becoming the iconic Darth Vader. It is the sixth Star Wars film overall, and the third and final film in the prequel trilogy. Years after its release, the film inspired an ironic fandom and the creation of memes revolving around its characters and dialogue.
Lucas began working on the script for Revenge of the Sith before production of Episode II: Attack of the Clones ended. The film began production in 2003 and was released in 2005. Revenge of the Sith broke several box office records during its opening week and went on to earn over $848 million worldwide, making it, at the time, the third-highest-grossing film in the Star Wars franchise. It stars Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan Kenobi, and Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala.
The film opens with Anakin and Obi-wan rescuing Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from the hold of General Grievous and Count Dooku. After a battle, Anakin beheads Dooku at Palpatine's urging. Then, Anakin reunites with his wife, Queen Amidala, who is pregnant. Anakin has prophetic visions that Amidala will not survive childbirth. Chancellor Palpatine then tantalizes Anakin with knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force, including a way to stop people from dying. Eventually, Palpatine reveals he is Sith Lord Darth Sidious, and brings Anakin to the Dark Side promising the knowledge that only he can save Amidala. Anakin betrays the Jedi and has a climactic showdown with Obi-wan that leaves him scarred and burned while Amidala dies giving birth to Luke and Leia.
The film received generally positive reviews, particularly in comparison to the first two prequels, which were poorly reviewed. The film has a score of 68 on Metacritic and a 79 on Rotten Tomatoes. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus was "With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion." However, the film was not without its critics, as professional critics and fans alike still bemoaned the dialogue, particularly the love dialogue. In his massive video review of the film, Mr. Plinkett pointed out the love dialogue was more comedic than romantic. In addition, Hayden Christensen's performance won him a second Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor.
The nostalgic fandom surrounding the third and final film in the Star Wars prequel trilogy began to gain momentum around September 2014, when the canonical birth name of Darth Sidious, the first Emperor of the Galactic Empire in the saga, was revealed to be "Sheev Palpatine" in James Luceno's 2014 Star Wars novel Tarkin, unleashing a heavy influx of Sheev-themed image macros, quotes and photoshopped parodies. Soon, the trend became known as "Sheev Posting," in the same vein of "Baneposting" among the fans of The Dark Knight trilogy, which continued to spread on 4chan, Reddit and other Star Wars fan communities in the following years. By January 2017, the online popularity of Revenge of the Sith had reached its highest peak since its box office release, along with other two titles in the prequel trilogy, as the so-called "meme war" continued on between the fans of the prequel and sequel trilogies.
Revenge of the Fifth
Revenge of the Fifth is an unofficial Star Wars holiday annually observed by the fans of the franchise on May 5th, the day after the celebration of Star Wars Day on May 4th, which is designated as a tribute to a popular wordplay on the iconic catchphrase May the Force Be With You. While the holiday has been casually observed as a day to join the "Dark Side" and praise the Sith Lords since as early as May 2010, it became a popular day of celebration for the Star Wars fanbase at large in May 2012 with the launch of the RevengeOfThe5th.net, a website dedicated to spreading the words of the spin-off holiday, by Eric Shirey and Victor Medina.
Sheev Posting refers to the practice of parodying the Star Wars villain Darth Sidious, whose birth name was revealed to be Sheev Palpatine in the 2014 novel Tarkin. Similar to the trend of "Baneposting" among the fans of The Dark Knight trilogy, Sheev Posting typically takes the form of image macros and photoshopped parodies based on still images of the character as portrayed in the franchise, most notably scenes from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith wherein Palpatine reveals himself as a Sith Lord.
"I Have the High Ground"
"I Have the High Ground" is a catchphrase based on a line said by Obi-Wan Kenobi during his climactic battle against Anakin Skywalker in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Online, the phrase is often used in the context of the Star Wars meme war and the prequel trilogy fandom. The moment has inspired many image macros, and was parodied in a Robot Chicken sketch in 2016.
"I Am The Senate"
Chancellor Palpatine's line "I Am the Senate," which comes at a crucial fight with Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu, inspired memes in 2016, surging again in popularity around the same time as Grievous' surge in popularity on /r/dankmemes.
"Execute Order 66"
"Execute Order 66" is a line said by Chancellor Palpatine in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith that sparked numerous image macros in the years following its release and resurfaces amidst the Star Wars Episode III meme revival in early 2017.
General Grievous is an antagonist character who was first introduced in the 2004 film Star Wars: Clone Wars and subsequently featured in the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Grievous appears at the beginning of the film, where he fights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker while holding Chancellor Palpatine prisoner. He fights Obi-wan in a later scene, where he is killed.
"This Will Make a Fine Addition to My Collection"
In early 2017, an image macro of General Grievous saying "This will make a fine addition to my collection" began growing popular on the /r/dankmemes subreddit. In the original context, Grievous says the line to Obi-wan about his lightsaber before foolishly showing him exactly where he's keeping it. In the image macros, the line is paired with various captions that alter the context.