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Star Wars: Episode III - Oldman in talks to voice villain

Story by: Jack Foley

HOT off the heels of playing Harry Potter 'villain', Sirius Black, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it has been confirmed that the British actor is in talks to provide the voice for the new Star Wars bad guy, in the final film in the trilogy.

Even though his agent refused to reveal which role Oldman had been offered, strong rumours exist that he will take on the role of General Grievous, the military leader of the Separatist armies.

Not only is the character a skilled strategist, but he is also the greatest ever hand-to-hand Jedi killer - which would account for the longest ever fight sequence we have been promised.

He is part-alien, part-robot - which would account for the vocal support only.

Oldman is no stranger to playing the bad guy role, having also provided scene-stealing turns in the likes of Hannibal, True Romance, State of Grace and Dracula.

POSTED EARLIER: Star Wars fans rejoice (in America at least), as George Lucas has announced a US release date for Star Wars: Episode III - with a UK date sure to follow shortly.

Lucasfilm confirmed that Episode III will come out on Thursday, May 19 2005 – exactly three years to the day since the release of The Phantom Menace.

An official statement goes on to reveal that there will be 'a near-simultaneous release around the world', with only Japan having to hold on for a further two more months, until July - which is, apparently, the 'traditional month for Star Wars premieres'.

As hype builds ahead of the release of the movie, further leaks have been coming from the website, including details of the longest fight scene in cinema history, and more plot revelations (as if any were needed, anyway!).

In a further statement released by Lucas, a brief premise has been sketched out for the third prequel, which is sure to complete Anakin Skywalker’s journey to the Dark Side of The Force, and his inevitable transformation into Darth Vader.

The statement in question reads: "After three long years of relentless fighting, the Clone Wars are nearly at an end. The Jedi Council dispatches Obi-Wan Kenobi to bring the deadly leader of the Separatist droid army to justice.

"Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, Chancellor Palpatine has grown in power. His sweeping political changes transform the war-weary Republic into the mighty Galactic Empire. To his closest ally, Anakin Skywalker, he reveals the true nature of power and the promised secrets of the Force in an attempt to lure him to the dark side."

In relation to the fight scene, however, fans are promised something to rival any of the sword play in recent hits such as Kill Bill and The Last Samurai, with the added bonus of any confrontation involving the revered light sabers.

According to Episode III stunt co-ordinator, Nick Gillard, the Jedi-style swordplay is derived from all of the great sword styles and has only been mastered by about 12 people on Earth - himself included.

Hayden Christiansen, who plays Anakin Skywalker, is, however, the toughest of the apprentices, and possesses the skill of having his feet in the right place.

More importantly, however, Gillard is quoted, in an interview with The Times and on Empire online, as stating that, ‘in the next film, Ewan McGregor has more than 1,000 moves, which are more complicated to learn than dialogue. The climactic fight scene is, at 12 minutes, the longest fight scene in cinema history."

For those waiting impatiently for their next fix of The Force, however, further details of the original Star Wars DVD box set have been released.

With only five months to go before release, another Star Wars fansite,, has published a full list of special features to expect.

The first three discs will, of course, contain the original movies, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, while the much sought-after fourth disc will contain:

Star Wars: The Independent Films - A 150-minute documentary charting George Lucas's vision, and the way he revolutionised the film industry.

The Evolution of Characters - A 30-minute look at the formulation of the series' characters, from early concept art to the final realisation.

The Influence of Star Wars - A 20-minute documentary on how the effects pioneered in the trilogy opened the doors for a new generation of visual effects.

Lightsaber Fights Featurette - A 10-minute special on the lightsabers we all know and love, including everything from the idea behind them and the actors that wielded them to the effects that made them possible.

1977 Featurette - A 20-minute documentary showing the saturation of popular culture by Star Wars, newspaper coverage of the day, toy adverts and songs inspired by the films.

Episode III Behind The Scenes - George Lucas and Hayden Christensen talk us through the final instalment and the birth of Darth Vader.

Not to mention, teasers, trailers and TV spots for all three original films, and their 1997 Special Edition re-releases; about 300 never-before-seen photos from the films, poster art and classic artwork, and a Star Wars Battlefront computer game demo.

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