While I don't address everything you said with a quote, I do believe almost all your points are covered somewhere in my post.
First, the red text:
This reveals that the George Lucas' work on "a system of levels" is used by (and presumably for) Nick Gillard for the purpose of gauging the competence of combatants.
George Lucas has stated that there are two separate Star Wars universes:
This viewpoint is recognized by Lucas Licensing, which handles the Expanded Universe:
There's two things to take from this. One of which I already stated, the second is that the Expanded Universe is subjective (i.e. foggy mirror).
Now, here's the best part: within the context of the Expanded Universe continuity, levels were established to organize continuity within Lucas Licensing.
You're familiar with them, and also probably familiar with the quote I'm about to show you, but perhaps you need a refresher:
Man! So George Lucas' unpublished notes are the highest level of authority within the same continuity of Exar Kun's amulet blasts?
(please log in to view the image)
Which then leads us into the blue text:
Anakin Skywalker is stated to be a tier nine in George Lucas' tier system. Published or not, it doesn't matter, it's G-Canon.
So, let's outline what we have here:
Both within George Lucas' absolute continuity, and the Expanded Universe's subjective continuity, Anakin is a level nine swordsman.
That's fact. That's law. That's that.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Now, with that established, let's address some points!
This argument made my physically cringe when I read it. Rather than arguing for the sheer incompetence of Nick Gillard, let me propose you with the likely alternative: George Lucas never designed a set scale in the first place. It's not of George's nature to always set-in-stone something like that. Simply look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dvi_qx-2j1Q&t=1m17s. This isn't Lucas being incompetent either, it's that just details aren't relevant to conveying the point. It doesn't matter to Lucas what scale is used for lightsaber combat. Frankly, what very well might have happened is Lucas simply used different scales during different meetings with Nick Gillard - perhaps even within the very same meaning. However, the main idea is still expressed. Regardless of what scale is being used, there is incredible consistency with the tiers: Anakin still ends up the same level; Obi-Wan still ends up the same level. So yeah, this is a completely minor point to me, and it should be for you too.
Except why are you expecting lightsaber duelists to be static? They're not. Some lightsaber duelists can't be constrained to a simple level. Indeed, Anakin is alongside Sidious, Yoda, and Mace - he is in their tier, is he not? That does not preclude Anakin from being, in certain situations, greater than them, however. Again, consider Mace varies between an eight and a nine, yet he is also listed alongside Sidious and Yoda, who do not. There is no contradiction in this quote.
This... just isn't true. We know it isn't true since we know they're created to gauge how skilled combatants are. Yes, of course it doesn't factor in context to specific situations, but it's mighty useful for forum debating, is it not? In regards to Anakin and Obi-Wan, again, refer to Sasukedc's post. Sasukedc goes through the Revenge of the Sith novelization (line-edited by George Lucas, mind you), in which it explains Anakin was significantly handicapped in his fight vs Obi-Wan due to a variety of factors that would not come into play on a neutral battlefield. So, indeed, if there is a list of factors for a fight, it might not be that important. If it's standard mindset in an empty environment, like almost all versus fights are, it's very important.
Registered: May 2005
Location: .::The Anti-Fanboy Confederation::.
Sorry for abandoning this discussion for so long, but I was busy with other stuff.
Maybe I didn't make myself clear or there was just something you didn't get right. Let us try that again.
Lucas words – G Canon or not?
I find it kind of puzzling, that you threat the idea, that Lucas spoken words are "G canon" as a fact. Because, that idea is actually quite debatable, even according to the quote your posted yourself:
"Anything in the films and from George Lucas (including unpublished internal notes that we might receive from him or from the film production department) is considered "G" canon." – Leland Chee.
Emphasis mine. There is a little problem with that. Canon material, as defined by the Holocron database, is just stuff that is within the database, which probably doesn't include stuff that George Lucas said to Nick Gillard on the set, in order to enable his stunt coordinator to gauge the combat skill of some fictional characters. And that Lucas put that level system down in form of notes, appears to be rather questionable, provided the contradictions of Gillard. Something, that you admit yourself:
Of course, the irony here is, that you are, essentially, arguing based on the single idea that Lucas did set something like that in stone, namely in a level system. But that was my entire point to begin with: We have absolutely no idea, what Lucas told Gillard exactly. It could have been virtually anything, starting with "Hey. Those guys are on one level. Make that fight look interesting" to " Maybe Mace Windu is an 8.9 and Sidious is a 9.2, but in this case, Mace has the upper hand because Vaapad adds 0.2 to his skill and the Shatterpoint-ability with 0.2 give him an edge." I’d doubt, that Lucas said the latter.
But here, we are essentially coming back to the term "context": Whatever Lucas said, was clearly designed to give Gillard an idea how to orchestrate these fights and for nothing else. Pulling that out of the context is very likely to generate false ideas about what Lucas wanted. Especially, when we do have the man's very own words, proclaiming that you need to be Yoda or Mace to compete with the Emperor, while Anakin would have had a shot at him somewhere in the future. This is also rather apparent from Sidious' line to Yoda: "Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us." He will become means that, as of "now" (in terms of the RotS movie) he is not.
Now are Lucas words G-Canon? They may be. But the way certain people handle his words as "ultima ratio" that can't be contradicted in any way, is completely absurd and also total bullshit. Just let me give you one of the more prominent examples for that: If you take that idea at face value, that Lucas words is essentially "the law" in the Star Wars universe, the official G-Canon take on how Anakin got his scar is this:
I think Anakin got it [his scar] slipping in the bathtub, but of course, he's not going to tell anybody that." – Georg Lucas, "Revenge of the Sith" commentary.
Is that now the absolute G-Canon version of the story? Do I need to ask myself how reliable a "level 9 lightsaber combatant" is, if he can't even make it out of the bathtub unharmed? Or can we conclude, by taking a look a the context, that this was a joke and that the EU explanation for Anakin's scar is still the valid one?
And if you value Lucas' words so much, you may want to listen to the man talking about the limitations of his own authority. According to Lucas himself, the only authority he does have is in his universe, which is the movie universe and only there:
"[...]here's my world that I made up, there's the licensing world that's the books, the comics, all that kind of stuff, the games, which is their world, and then there's the fans' world, which is also very rich in imagination, but they don't always mesh. All I'm in charge of is my world. I can't be in charge of those other people's world, because I can't keep up with it. – George Lucas, interview at ShoWest in 2008.
Emphasis mine. But even that discussion is merely academic. It doesn't matter if the level system, that Lucas may have talked about, is G-Canon (or absolute) or not because we do not have it in Lucas own words. We just have it being referenced by Nick Gillard. The Problem with that?
Nick Gillards words aren't canon
This was the first thing that I nitpicked at, when entering this thread. To use something as the basis of an argument it has to be accessible in some manner. You may find that somewhat academic, but there is a reason why "hearsay" is usually not allowed as evidence before a judge. It can be inaccurate, might be ambiguous, can be coming from an unreliable source. Do you notice something? All arguments that can be made against "hearsay" in a courtroom do apply to Nick Gillard. He is inaccurate in his "retelling" of the level-system (which I've also pointed out and which you have tried to gloss over), which makes his word unreliable.
More importantly, though, is the fact that the very same thing you want to "prove" here is not coming from Lucas at all.:
Emphasis mine. So as far as canon is concerned, Anakin is an eight – the very same as Sidious, Yoda or Mace. As far as Nick Gillard is concerned, he might be above them, but that higher rating does not exist in the level system, meaning this is made up by Gillard. And guess what: His opinion doesn't matter jack shit. What does matter is the opinion of George Lucas which – following the level-system, if Gillard recounts it correctly – puts Anakin on one step with the others.
However: Taking George Lucas words into account, Anakin – as of RotS – was not capable of competing with Sidious, given you have to be Mace or Yoda to do so, according to Lucas own words. Which, in turn, would put Yoda and Mace above Anakin.
That Anakin in the future would have become more powerful than any other person appears to be a rather safe bet, given that Lucas himself directly stated that and that it is part of the RotS script (Sidious proclaiming as much when confronting Yoda).
Is that level-system important?
How could it be?
It puts pretty much all people within it on the very same level. And where it makes a difference (Obi-Wan), we have the fight going south for the one on the higher level. And, gosh, context is important.
And that "context" doesn't need to be situational, but can also be inter-personal. It's very likely that Kenobi would perform better against Anakin, against which he did thousands of hours of practice fights than against Yoda or Mace Windu (even assuming they are all on one level). Mace might be better against Dark Siders because of Vaapad kind of "negating" some of the advantages given to Dark Side practitioners, hence him being able to defeat Sidious, where he would probably fail to defeat Yoda (who is on the same level).
There is nothing that those "levels" tell us. In fact, they just give us a very simplified view of George Lucas' movie universe. Which is reasonable, if you want to give your stunt choreographer a quick hint how skilled certain people are with a lightsaber, but certainly doesn't make much sense as a basis for discussing fights between fictional characters. With most of the said characters not having been sorted into that level system. And, of course, everybody will put his favourite on level 8/9 which is quite reasonable, given how the qualifier for that apparently is "being overall better than Obi-Wan Kenobi" which, as far as force abilities are considered, applies to pretty much every halfway powerful character that is to be found in the EU.