Natalie Portman Calls ‘Episode III’ Showdown ‘Pretty Sick’

Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen performed their own stunts.

Every “Star Wars” fan knows at least one huge throwdown between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker awaits in “Episode III,” but few have any idea how it’s going to go down.

Natalie Portman, however, is uniquely qualified to talk about the epic Jedi showdown, seeing as how she recently finished shooting her third and final appearance as Padmé Amidala in the epic prequels.

“I saw a pretty amazing fight scene between Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen,” the actress said. “It’s pretty sick.”

While she was reluctant to give further details about the fight itself, she did reveal something unusual about the high-energy dual. “They did it all themselves. They were thinking of having stuntmen do it, but they were better than the stuntmen. It’s pretty awesome.”

It’s been more than a quarter century since “Star Wars,” the first installment of George Lucas’ saga, hit theaters and hooked audiences with its special effects, serialized storytelling and esoteric teachings.

The prequels — which take place before “Star Wars” and its two sequels, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” — tell the story of how the evil empire came to power and how Luke Skywalker’s father fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader.

Despite critical derision, 1999’s “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” earned more than $431 million. Three years later, “Attack of the Clones” received somewhat more positive reviews and also enjoyed blockbuster success.

Christensen (Skywalker), McGregor (Kenobi), Portman and Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu) (see “On Death’s Door, Samuel L. Jackson Just Wants To Keep His Lightsaber” ) have all completed principal photography in Sydney, Australia, on the still-untitled final installment.

Considering the amount of computer-generated effects work the “Star Wars” films undergo, Portman said she’s as clueless as anyone as to whether the series will wrap up in a way that’s satisfying to fans.

“Is it gonna be worth it? We just shot it and we worked really hard. I think all of us were trying to make it as good as possible. It was our last chance to sort of, you know, do something with it,” she said. “So, I’m hoping. But they work on it for two years after we finish shooting, putting the special effects and all that stuff.”

“Star Wars Episode III” is due in theaters May 25, 2005, the 28th anniversary of the original’s release.