On Death's Door, Samuel L. Jackson Just Wants To Keep His Lightsaber

Actor goes into 'Star Wars Episode III' knowing his Mace Windu character is a goner.

Most people have no idea when their life will end, but Samuel L. Jackson has his expiration date narrowed down.

Or at least that of his "Star Wars" character, Mace Windu.

"I'm just going to die, you know?" Jackson said recently of George Lucas' plans for "Star Wars Episode III," which the actor begins work on next month in Australia. "I'm basically going down there hoping that I'm going to have this really awesome lightsaber battle with somebody that takes me out in the proper way. You know, the way a Jedi of my status deserves to be taken out."

Like Jackson, Ewan McGregor — a.k.a. Obi-Wan Kenobi — is looking forward to getting his hands back on the Jedi knights' signature weapon, even if he isn't too psyched about shooting scenes on empty soundstages in front of green screens, interacting with things that will be added in later.

"I like the fighting sequences [the best]," he said. "They're good fun to prepare for and also good fun to shoot. It's one of the rare instances in the 'Star Wars' movies when you're working with someone else, because you can't really swordfight on your own. However, most of the other scenes seem to be played into midair with computer-generated characters."

Both Jackson and McGregor appeared in 1999's "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" and last year's "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones," the record-breaking blockbuster prequels to Lucas' iconic science-fiction trilogy of the late '70s and early '80s.

"I never realized I would end up with some kind of franchise character that's in the middle of a big franchise of its own, but it's very cool," Jackson said. "Mace is kind of evolving for me. And it's been a wonderful experience being able to be in 'Star Wars,' first of all because I was a huge fan. I used to sit around and wonder how you got into something like that and how great it would be to be in it. Fortunately for me, somebody must have heard me and I'm in it!"

Not much is known about the plot of "Episode III" except that in order for it to bridge the gap between the two trilogies, Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) has to get pregnant, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) will become Darth Vader, and all of the Jedi — save for Kenobi and MTV Movie Award-winner Yoda (see "MTV Movie Awards: Gollum, Yoda Steal Show; Sloppy Jackasses Rock Red Carpet") — must die. Jackson isn't upset about seeing his character knocked off, though.

"[I owe] thanks to George for creating a character like Mace Windu that makes me, like, the second-baddest dude in the universe," he said. "It's kind of awesome. And then, you know, to top that off, giving me the oddest lightsaber in the universe. I got the only purple lightsaber in the universe.

"And hopefully," he added, "I get to take it home with me after they kill me."

"Star Wars Episode III," the last in the series, is scheduled to hit theaters in 2005.