“Steven [Spielberg] saw the rough cut,” Lucas says, sitting at home at a table in his kitchen. “I felt I needed to show it to Steven to figure out what the reality was, because we’d earlier had a rough-cut screening for ILM to test the film, and some of the people had strong opinions about things that were contrary to the way I was going. Some people were having a hard time with the reason that Anakin goes bad. Somebody asked whether somebody could kill Anakin’s best friend, so that he really gets angry. They wanted a real betrayal, such as, ‘You tried to kill me so now I’m going to try and kill you.’ They didn’t understand the fact that Anakin is simply greedy. There is no revenge. The revenge of the Sith is Palpatine. It doesn’t have much to do with Darth Vader; he’s a pawn in the whole scheme.
So I had to ask myself, What was I trying to say and didn’t I say it? Did it just get missed or is it not there? I had to look at it very hard. I had to ask myself, Is this how the audience is going to react? Fortunately, Steven confirmed that most of everything was working. So, I may lose a certain demographic—maybe, maybe not. But I had to make a decision, and I decided that I’m not going to alter the film to make it more commercial or marketable. I have to be true to my vision, which is thirty years old, but I have to be true to it.”
I respect this about Lucas: he made the films he wanted to make, with the story he wanted to tell. It was his vision that Anakin fell through greed, and he saw it through to the end. He made that decision knowing that it would be unsatisfying to a certain demographic, and that they might reject it. It makes RotS all the better for it, the prequels better for it.
He actually had something to say, and stuck to it, even if it wasn’t what would have been expected or sensational or what a studio
like Disneywould have pressured him to do. That certain demographic rejected the message both then and now, but their dissatisfaction and discomfort with the told story doesn’t make their alternate readings and headcanons accurate—it was always about Anakin’s greed.