Originally Posted by edlib
Lucas painted himself into a corner with this one.
He had to have the Jedi confront Palpatine, which they wouldn't do alone, (so there had to be more than one of them there....) but also get down to a one-on-one fight, which is more dramatic, and far easier to film and stage.
There are a couple of "in-universe" clues in the ROTS novelization and movies which point to why he was able to dispatch with them so easily:
a.) He was so powerful with the Dark Side that it clouded the Jedi's abilities, and stunned them all, with the exception of Mace. This was hinted at in Ep. II, and also when Obi and Anakin got captured on Grievous' ship. His mere presence diminished their force abilities.
b.) None of the Jedi were trained to handle another force-user, and hadn't been training against other saber wielders. Only the Jedi descended from Yoda's training (Yoda, Dooku, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Anakin... and I'm not sure where Mace fits in there) took the threat of the return of the Sith seriously, and were the only ones truly prepared to fight against someone trained in the Jedi arts and armed with a lightsaber. Everyone else had been practicing to fight against opponents armed with blasters.
c.) They never expected him to fight back against obviously superior numbers.
The real reasons for eliminating the rest of the Jedi Masters right off the bat are far simpler though: it makes for a much better movie.
Notice that Lucas always pares down all the lightsaber duels to a one-on-one conflict almost immediately. In Ep. I Obi-wan is taken out of the fight early so that it's just Maul and Qui-Gon, and he doesn't catch up until Qui-Gon is down.
In Ep. II first Anakin is down, then Obi-Wan, then both are down when Yoda appears.
In Ep. III Dooku lays the smackdown on Obi-Wan pretty early, so that it's just Anakin left.
It's an obvious trend.
A one-on-one fight is far easier and quicker to shoot, not to mention far, far easier on all the stunt coordinators, fight choreographers, stunt people and actors.
Plus the fact that the other Jedi in that scene are all aliens. You never really see a non-human Jedi fight the way the human ones do, not even in the Ep. II arena battle scene. Why? You try seriously fighting in a heavy, bulky, hot foam-rubber suit that blocks most of your vision and restricts your movement dramatically. Plus, 5 minutes of serious athletic fighting in suit like that on a hot soundstage under thousands of watts of film lighting, and you'd better have the paramedics handy, since you are going to pass out from heat exhaustion and dehydration.
You could replace them with CG characters... but that's highly expensive and time consuming, and since all that you really want to get to is the far more dramatic one-on-one battle of Windu vs. Sidious, that would end up most likely being very expensive fight footage that got cut in the interest of time, anyway.
It was also a cramped set. There wasn't a whole lot of room to have an extensive 5-person fight anyway, as this was supposed to be an office.
At that point in the movie the momentum has built to a crescendo... that fight is really just there to provide Anakins real turn to the dark side, anyway. You really don't want a huge fight at that point in the movie as a film maker, anyway. A huge saber fight at that point would probably take away from the drama of the final, ultimate showdown of the Mustifar duel.
Those are the real reasons why the Jedi didn't fight back... the unfortunate realities of making a film.
Since when was Obi-Wan/Anakin/Qui-Gon been pupils of Yoda? I don't ever remember any of them being Padawans of Yoda.
I am really sure that with the Return of the Sith at the end of the Phantom Menace that the Jedi Knights were being prepared. Yoda himself seemed uneasy; he knew of the existence of two, and only one had been slain. Yoda, and in effect the entire Jedi Council, knows of the growing Sith threat. The Jedi are not so stupid as not to prepare themselves for a fight.
And if the Battle of Geonosis wasn't the biggest hint that they had to start training against other lightsaber-wielding opponents, then their order was doomed from the start.
Plus, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu held their own against General Grievous, who was faster, could climb walls/ceilings, and could, if he wanted to, wield 4 lightsabers, which he usually only used two. The arguement that they could not fight against Lightsaber-wielding opponents is absurd; if they could not fight against lightsabers, Grievous would have won.
While I agree that George Lucas made the fight a Mace Windu VS. Palpatine to be dramatic, and to an extent it is, but it fails. The dramaticism created by this conflict is never resolved; Anakin Skywalker kills Mace Windu, and concludes the dramaticism with Mace, but never is the conflict between Palpatine and Windu resolved. Even though the Chancellor was just faking it, if Anakin hadn't intervened, Mace would have killed him, effectively ending the Return of the Sith. In this, we can see that none of the two checkmated eachother, for it was the intervention of Anakin that led to the conclusion, thus ending with a lingering..."What if?"
Which isn't always a bad thing.
And the CGI?
Yoda Vs. Palpatine.