53

During their fight, it looked like Mace's arm was cut off and he was hit by the force lightning and thrown out the window. But, we never actually see his body. It seems to be a recurring theme that if you don't actually see a body in a movie, the person might still be alive.

There are several things that make me wonder. For instance, the fact that multiple people have had limbs cut off and survived. Luke survived a rather intense session of force lightning with the Emperor so we know that it is possible. Also the Jedi are telekinetic. I'd assume they could stop themselves from falling, or at least slow themselves down enough to land gently. Given that info, it seems possible to me that Mace could have survived.

Have there been any books or other canonical references saying that he actually did die during their fight?

  • 4
    They cannot exactly slow themselves while falling in order to land gently, but given the traffic in Coruscant, he could have manipulated his fall enough to land on some vehicle (like Anakin does in Ep2). – bitmask Mar 11 '12 at 8:56
  • 2
    This is a problem I have whenever I see Sith or Jedi killed by falling. In many other scenes Jedi are seen falling great distances without much concern. It seems like they can at least greatly slow their rate of falling to nonlethal speeds. In the 2003 animated series, Mace Windu jumps all they way up on top of a massive mountain/hillside far above the battle and then he jumps back again into the battle. In those scenes, Mace doesn't appear to be concerned in the least about falling. – Mark Rogers Mar 11 '12 at 16:32
  • 1
    MAAACCGYYYYVVEERRRRR – Jared Mar 11 '12 at 20:07
  • 2
    Have we ever seen anybody unambiguously die from a long fall in the Star Wars universe? Heh, maybe that's the explanation for the lack of safety railings everywhere: nobody can die from a long fall, so the railings aren't needed. After a fall, the rescue droids just scoop you up and you spend a few weeks in one of those bio-tanks healing and then you're fine. – Kyle Jones Mar 17 '12 at 1:31
  • 3
    Even being cut in half and then falling to your doom doesn't necessarily kill you in Star Wars. coughMaulcough What makes you think Windu couldn't pull out of it somehow? – jpmc26 Dec 8 '14 at 6:05
37

According to all versions of the script/screenplay I've been able to find, the description of this scene is:

As MACE stares at ANAKIN in shock, PALPATINE springs to life. The full force of Palpatine's powerful Bolts blasts MACE. He attempts to deflect them with his one good hand, but the force is too great. As blue rays engulf his body, he is flung out the window and falls twenty stories to his death. No more screams. No more moans. PALPATINE lowers his arm.

Revenge of the Sith - Illustrated Screenplay

A couple references to the script:

  1. IMSDb - viewable online
  2. ASVW blog - downloadable pdf

Prior to its redesign and linking to the Wookiepedia for community-based character management, Starwars.com said the following for Mace Windu (via Wayback Machine):

Defenseless, Windu was bombarded with Sith lightning as Sidious unleashed a torrent of deadly energy at the Jedi Master. The forked bolts of lightning penetrated Mace's body, illuminating his form from within. The final blast bodily lifted him into the air, sending his form hurling into the Coruscant skies, to crash lifelessly somewhere in the vast cityscape below.

While the removal of the above could also be used to foment uncertainty, all significant character details were archived in favor of Wookiepedia.

Conclusion: The script appears to describe Lucas' intent was clearly death; without mystery (and this was, at one time, detailed at Starwars.com).


Side note: Discovery of an active Mace Windu Twitter account does not refute the above. =)

  • I haven't read the novelization. Did it include some of the same text? – xecaps12 Mar 12 '12 at 17:30
  • You know... that's a great question. I haven't read the novelization yet myself, though it may have to be my next purchase now. – Josh Mar 12 '12 at 17:55
  • 2
    as DavRob60 pointed out, others in SW have canonically survived scripted death with more damage. – n611x007 Jun 26 '12 at 23:13
  • 3
    So Jedi Master Windu did fall to his death ... from a certain point of view – Giuseppe Nov 19 '13 at 9:33
29

As others said, he is probably dead, but other have survived similar deaths in the Star Wars universe.

  1. Boba Fett, who somehow survived his fall in the Sarlacc.
  2. Darth Maul also survived a scripted death.

    However, Maul managed to survive his defeat at the hands of Kenobi. Through his hate and will to live, as well as his hatred against Kenobi, he reached out with the Force and grabbed an air vent. He escaped to Lotho Minor in order to escape Sidious' anger for his failure.

    Darth Maul's recent appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode Brothers (Season 4 episode 21, first aired March 9, 2012) even make his survival T-canon.

So, we canonly say that he is dead, until further notice.

  • 3
    Oh snap. +1 for those two examples. – AncientSwordRage Apr 11 '12 at 18:58
  • Oh no! Bobba Fett is dead! Bobba Fett is dead! Don't tell me he survived... Didn't read... what a pity... – n611x007 Jun 26 '12 at 23:10
  • So Maul used Force glue to glue himself back together after being sliced in half? – iMerchant Jun 30 '16 at 21:04
  • @iMerchant Not exactly. – JAB Nov 16 '17 at 22:40
6

He's dead. He never rendezvoused with Yoda and the other Jedi. After the fall of the old Republic he never went into exile. He never came out of exile in episodes IV, V and VI. Had this not been a prequel, we could have had some hope, but this character is basically never seen or heard from again after his death scene. So he's gone.

Out of universe, it's not going to be easy to get Samuel L. Jackson on board for another round, even if Lucas does another movie or a TV show, which I really really doubt. If Windu survived in the extended universe, he would have already appeared in the books.

  • He might have been injured too much to make the rendezvous, but still survived and got offworld. I wasn't sure if there were many books besides the Coruscant Nights ones. I'd heard there was supposed to be a tv series that was to take place after episode 3. Since there hasn't been a lot written about after episode 3, I still wonder if Lucas has something up his sleeve. – xecaps12 Mar 11 '12 at 16:11
  • 7
    None of your post is conclusive. you can't prove a negative, so don't go around answering questions like you can; particularly when other Jedi/Sith of lesser power have survived worse. Darth Maul survived far more damage than mace did, and he returned later. – Gabe Willard Mar 11 '12 at 21:20
  • @GabeWillard chill out. He's just a character. Lucas and the script writers intended him to be dead. Until they change their minds, he' dead. And we can't predict whether they'll change their minds. – HNL Mar 13 '12 at 6:05
  • 1
    I'm just pointing out that your answer really isn't one, and you are portraying it as the God's truth... It's an opinion, due to the fact it can't be verified. I'm pretty sure Lucas intended Maul to be dead, too. But idk, since Lucas doesn't post here. Wrong answers are dangerous to the community. I didn't mean anything personally. – Gabe Willard Mar 13 '12 at 6:08
  • 1
    In your answer you indicate that it would be hard to get Samuel L. Jackson again: "it's not going to be easy to get Samuel L. Jackson on board for another round." All the interviews I have read with Mr. Jackson about his Star Wars experience have been positive (can't say the same for other actors). That certainly doesn't mean I've read every interview. Basically my question is could you please provide some context? – ahsteele Sep 3 '12 at 4:30
6

In-Universe

The (fully canonical) factbook 'Ultimate Star Wars' is delightfully blunt.

Mace seems to be winning until Anakin suddenly intervenes and cuts off the Jedi Master's hand. Palpatine seals Mace's fate with a blast of Force lightning, sending him through the window to his death

The official "Revenge of the Sith" novelisation (by Matthew Stover) also states that he died:

Before he [Windu] could follow through on his stroke, a sudden arc of blue plasma sheared through his wrist and his hand tumbled away with his lightsaber still in it and Palpatine roared back to his feet and lightning speared from the Sith Lord’s hands and without his blade to catch it, the power of Palpatine’s hate struck him full-on.

He had been so intent on Palpatine’s shatterpoint that he’d never thought to look for Anakin’s.

Dark lightning blasted away his universe. He fell forever.

The film's Junior Novelisation indicates that his body hit the ground with considerable force:

Another wave of Force lightning struck Mace and slammed him backward, and back again, then it lifted him through the space where the window had been, high into the night sky — and then let him drop the hundreds of meters to the ground below. Anakin stared after him, horrified. “What have I done?” he whispered.

The factbook "Star Wars in 100 Scenes" is also pretty unequivocal on Windu's fate.

The killing blow never lands. Anakin steps forward and severs Windu's hand, allowing Sidious to blast his attacker and send him plummeting from the building to his death. Anakin has made a fateful choice for himself and the galaxy.


Out-of-Universe (just for a bit of fun)

The possibility of his having survived was jokingly discussed on the set of Star Wars III.

While Phillip Wade (Plo Koon) and Tay Bayliss (Stass Allie) are being touched up by creatures department technicians. Silas Carson (Ki-Adi- Mundi) and Jackson arrive. "You're a hologram from Mygeeto listening to Yoda on Kashyyyk." Lucas says to Carson, who seems perplexed by the director's relatively esoteric vocabulary.

"I had no clue what George was talking about." Carson would later confess.

"Okay, the next shot is of Agen Kolar and Anakin," Fletcher says, and the chairs are reoriented. While waiting, there's a fair amount of joking that Mace Windu isn't really dead, and that, during the credits, he could perhaps crawl back through the window, with his clothes just a bit singed.

"Yeah, "Jackson says, "Mel Gibson could do it : The Resurrection."


Samuel Jackson (the actor who portrays Mace Windu) has remarked that he thinks that Mace survived the fall.

“I was trying to figure out, ‘Really? Can’t you just, like, injure me—whatever?’ But in my mind, I’m not dead! Jedi can fall incredibly high distances and not die.

Apparently he shared this theory with George Lucas and was told in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to think that, that George had no problem with that.

  • Doesn't seem to state it as directly as the script that Josh mentioned in his answer. I've driven in a car with my kids on trips that took "forever" and had my universe blasted away after a bad breakup. Neither of which were literally true. – xecaps12 Oct 30 '14 at 19:04
  • @xecaps12 - While I agree that you can stretch English to breaking point, in this case it's pretty clear that he means that Windu got dead. – Valorum Oct 30 '14 at 19:05
  • I was just pointing out the difference between the script and novelization. To me, the novelization gives us a slight chance we'll see Mace in Rebels. Granted, it is a very, very slight chance but more so than the script does. – xecaps12 Oct 30 '14 at 19:22
  • @xecaps12 - I suppose you could also take it literally and conclude that he somehow gained immortality. – Valorum Oct 30 '14 at 19:39
  • @xecaps12 - You might want to have a quick look at my latest edit. Unless it's in a flashback, Mace ain't coming back. – Valorum Jun 30 '16 at 19:43
3

Yes, it is possible he survived. We never see his force ghost. Just because someone falls and dies doesn't mean they can't be revived, etc. especially in sci-fi. Also, most deaths in movies are explicit, showing the persons last breath or the like: this has no such scene.

Just because the script says he falls to his death, doesn't mean he is dead forever...from a certain point of view.

  • 1
    Generally, I would agree with you, but ... many jedi die without force ghosts appearing. Falling, dying and being revived is ultimately resurrection and I'm not sure we've ever seen the Jedi Order invoke or use such practice (doesn't seem within the natural order of the Force itself), and, perhaps most pertinent to this question, even if just picking at straws, should he have been resurrected (or cloned from genetic material, etc), it would still mean he didn't survive this encounter. – Josh Mar 15 '12 at 16:17
  • Didn't Anakin kill (almost) the complete Jedi Order + bring the Republic down for the knowledge about "keeping" a single person "from dying"? – n611x007 Jun 26 '12 at 23:25
0

The Force enhances the abilities of its users to fight, manuever, and employ intuition, but it doesn't turn them into Gods. You might as well ask why was Aayla Secura cut down so easily by the troops she was leading in the wake of Order 66. Palpatine had "played possum" in order to trick Anakin to come to his aid; it's obvious by the ferociousness that he attacked Mace Windu that he had the ability to finish him off at will as well. Look at how quickly and easily he'd disposed of the three Jedi accompanying Mace. Besides, Mace was in shock not only for having his sword hand cut off, but that it was cut off by Anakin in an impulsive act of betrayal. His defenses were down.

protected by Community Oct 1 '12 at 15:46

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.