Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Part 1)
Welcome, readers! Today we’ll take a dip back into the Prequels as I start to unpack one of my most-requested pieces of Star Wars content — Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I cherish this film for all the same reasons I love pretty much everything else in the canon: namely, it is delightful, bananas, a ton of ridiculous nonsense happens, Padme’s wardrobe is extensive and unbelievably over-the-top for the workplace and/or desert, and Obi-Wan is extremely handsome and extremely tired in it. It also features some of the BEST — you heard me, I SAID THE BEST — classic cornball Star Wars dialogue ever. The only thing I can truly fault this film for is that Jedi Trainee Hair is in it, and we all know how I feel about that. (On the plus side, I anticipate that this will provide me with some quality humor material.)
So with that, settle in and join me as we begin to make our way through this film. We’ll learn about the Shadowy Conspiracy that lurks behind the Clone Wars, hear some of the first snippets of The Imperial March Lite, and, most importantly, we’ll learn about Anakin Skywalker’s feelings regarding sand.
All right, enough preamble: it’s crawl time! We learn from the Flying Words of Backstory that this guy, Count Dooku, has started a Movement! He’s told the Republic that he’s taking his business elsewhere, and he’s taking a bunch of systems with him! They’re called the Separatists! This is important because they will be the Bad Guys for the next several years of timeline content! There aren’t enough Jedi to keep the peace in the rapidly-breaking-apart universe! (This in and of itself qualifies as a Recurring Theme, since Star Wars is ALWAYS TELLING US HOW BUSY THE JEDI ARE. Interestingly, they still seem to have an AWFUL LOT of time to sit around in the dark gossiping about each other despite their “busy” schedules but I digress!) Padme Amidala, who is now a Senator, is on her way to Coruscant ahead of a vote to determine whether or not the Republic will form an army to help the Jedi out (SPOILER ALERT: they already have an army, they just don’t know it yet. Ha!)
Recurring Theme: Hard-Working Handmaidens
Padme’s ship arrives on Coruscant, and after a few moments Captain Typho announces to a disguised Padme that HUH: he was wrong! I guess no one was trying to kill you after all —
BOOM! Yeah, you were right the first time, Typho. Corde, disguised as Padme, takes the brunt of the attack and Padme gets to pull the “watch someone you care about die in your arms” card from the Deck of Star Wars Sadness.
Man, the handmaidens really committed, didn’t they? I mean, Padme’s not even the queen anymore and they all stuck around to back her up? Even if it meant someone might, you know, murder you? Damn. That is a strong sisterhood.
Recurring Theme: Palpatine Is Oh So Worried About The Republic
Back in Uncle Palpatine’s den of barely-disguised evil, a small group of Jedi are talking with him about the attempt on Padme’s life. They blahblahblah a bit about how bad and destabilizing this all is, and Palpatine, with Very Deep Concern, asks Yoda if he “really thinks it will come to war?” and oh my God, I love and hate when he does this shit.
Yoda replies that it’s REALLY hard to see what’s going to happen what with all this DARK SIDE fogging up the room! I wonder where THAT’S coming from. Sigh. Too bad none of the Jedi knew what the hell was going on, ever.
Recurring Theme: The Jedi Order Is Pretty Totally Sure One of Their Guys Isn’t a Murderer
BONUS Recurring Theme: When In Doubt, Blame Mining
Padme arrives, WEARING SEQUINS TO THE OFFICE, with a bunch of other people (Bail!) and asks if the Jedi know who tried to kill her just now. Mace tells her that they are like almost totally sure it was probably disgruntled spice miners. Oh my God, it is ALWAYS ABOUT MINING OR TAXES OR TRADE ROUTES OR FARMING with these people. STAR WARS: What Is Your Deal. I guess I know why Anakin thought “Jedha City was destroyed in a mining accident and not BLOWN UP BY THE FUCKING DEATH STAR” was a solid, foolproof excuse given that these guys partially raised him.
Padme, because she is not an idiot, is like “no, I’m pretty sure it was Count Dooku,” and at this, every Jedi in the room is like GASP HOW DARE YOU. You see, Count Dooku used to be a Jedi, too. Then he turned in his two-week notice and peaced out from the Order, but evidently the Order still wants to stay friends and they simply cannot FATHOM that he would try to assassinate someone! He’s a “political idealist, not a murderer!” “It’s not in his nature!” they protest.
LOL: sure, guys. No Jedi has it in them to go on a killing spree. JUST KEEP RIGHT ON TELLING YOURSELVES THAT. I hope that all works out for you. I absolutely love this accidental screengrab I got of Padme’s reaction face here, which pretty much sums up “Person In Star Wars Who Has To Deal With the Jedi In Any Capacity”:
Recurring Theme: Move The Chess Pieces Around
Padme insists that she still thinks it was Dooku, and Palpatine uses this opportunity to be like “well WHOEVER it was, totally not me of course, one thing’s for certain: you’re in danger. So I think you should probably get some extra security. Some super dopey security that I can later exploit for my ultimate plan!” Padme balks: she doesn’t want any more security! She can handle herself!
Recurring Theme: Master Yoda, Not Sure About This Guy
For the ten-trillionth time, Yoda gives Palpatine the side-eye. OH MY GOD, YODA, SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS PLEASE:
Palpatine, grinning slightly wickedly, is like “well, Senator Amidala, maybe it won’t be so bad if I send someone you’ve already seen and probably had a life-threatening crush on when you were a teenager sorry the author of this recap is talking mostly about herself again: what if Obi-Wan Kenobi becomes your personal bodyguard? HMM? How about that?”
Padme is STILL NOT SWAYED SOMEHOW, and Palpatine persists: do it for me, Padme. Why, it’s like the thought of losing you would surely be enough to drive a man to mass-murder!
PADME: girl, when someone offers you Obi-Wan’s personal protective services, YOU DO NOT SAY NO. Get with the program here.
Eventually it’s settled: Padme will be put under the watchful eye of the Amazing Ginger Wolfman and his Hormone-Besieged Teenage Charge Who Has Been Saddled With a Very Unfortunate Haircut.
Recurring Theme: Elevator Bromance
Speak of the handsome devils, they’re in an elevator (WOW THAT NEVER HAPPENS. I swear to God, I feel like the Force Ghosts need to appear to Kylo Ren WHILE he’s riding in an elevator at this point. I feel like that’s probably where Anakin and Obi-Wan are spending eternity together. It’s where they spent some of their best bonding moments in the living world, like that time Obi-Wan awoke to find himself looking at what he instinctively knew was Anakin’s ass, or that time Anakin maybe asked Obi-Wan about whether or not he made it past third base on Mandalore.)
The two of them are riding in silence until Obi-Wan finally is like “…Anakin, chill the hell out,” which, hahahaha. Sure. He’ll get right on that. They have some Banter about how Anakin is always saving Obi-Wan’s ass, and amusingly they spend like the first half of this conversation dorkily smirking and beaming at each other on the sly like they’re on a first date and are too nervous to make eye contact.
Oh Star Wars. Why is everyone in this series so into each other. Obi-Wan accuses Anakin of being a sweaty disaster (it won’t be the last time,) and Anakin finally is like AHHHH THERE’S GONNA BE A GIRL WHAT AM I GONNA DO HELP.
Please, everyone: Anakin has not seen Padme in person in TEN. YEARS. And he is THIS discombobulated about seeing her again. Can you even imagine how much Padme fanboying Obi-Wan had to put up with over the years? I know I say it in every entry, but that man is a damn saint.
The Most Relatable Moment in Star Wars
Team Handsome finally arrive at Padme’s posh apartment that I am still totally jealous of, where Jar Jar greets them and shows them in.
Padme is like heeeeeey, look: it’s Obi-Wan. Yes please and thank you…
…OH MY GOD LOOK WHAT HE BROUGHT WITH HIM:
I have never felt closer to a character in Star Wars than I do to Padme in this moment. I, too, would be unable to comprehend what was happening if the government sent me Obi-Wan and Anakin as presents. She’s very pleasantly surprised, and who can blame her? She asks: is that REALLY Anakin? Wow, you’ve grown!
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, An Embarrassment
Anakin. Oh my God. OK, so Anakin has clearly been watching too many soap operas and is also like the single most awkward human being who has ever existed (I include his Vader Years in all of this statement,) and so his next few lines are just colossally entertaining. At Padme’s observation that he’s grown, he first says that she has, too, and then realizing perhaps that grown women don’t typically like to be told they’ve gotten bigger, stumbles over his words and clarifies: uh, he meant that she’d grown more beautiful! And THEN, realizing that THAT is probably not super appropriate to say to a Senator in a workplace conversation, AGAIN stumbles and is like “I meant MORE BEAUTIFUL FOR A SENATOR.” More. Beautiful. For. A. Senator.
Please, before I continue, everyone look at both Anakin’s awkward drunk face I accidentally caught, but more importantly, Obi-Wan’s FACE:
YOU GUYS. YOU. GUYS. Obi-Wan looks like he’s trying to sublimate into the Force two-plus decades ahead of schedule out of embarrassment. This is amazing. Anakin is such a dork! I genuinely love this; I am 100% serious. Sometimes when people rip on this movie, I want to be like HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER MET A SOCIALLY AWKWARD 19 YEAR OLD? Because, as a lifelong nerd, I have met a lot of them in my day. (Perhaps some of my fellow nerds are repressing memories from their own awkward youths.) This right here is not a wholly inaccurate portrayal, and also I legitimately adore that Darth Vader is a hilarious human being. Also please keep in mind that Anakin is trying to flirt in front of his older brother, who is literally the most dedicated expert-level flirt in the Galaxy, so that’s gonna put some pressure on him there. How well could this have gone, given the circumstances?
Padme replies with a smile that Anakin will always be that little boy from Tatooine to her, and, I mean…come on, Padme. Give the boy some credit before you just burst his bubble like that. He tried so hard here. He fought valiantly to still be charming despite his total lack of social skills and his terrible haircut.
Recurring Theme: The Bitchy Bickerings of Obikin
So the gang settle into Padme’s living room, and Padme is like “OK Kenobi, let’s get down to brass tacks: I don’t need some Space Knight swooshing his hair around and protecting me, I need to know who’s trying to kill me” and Obi-Wan is like “…but swooshing my hair around and protecting you is what I was sent here for, and I’m so good at it! LOOK AT ME IN THIS MOVIE, PADME. You know you want to see my hair in the wind!”
Anakin, sensing a chance to earn back some of the points he lost in the last conversation, is like NEVER FEAR PADME WE SHALL GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS!
Obi-Wan is like EXCUSE YOU:
And the two of them begin to just bitch it out right there in front of everyone: Anakin is like blahblahblah of COURSE we have to investigate why else would they have sent us? and Obi-Wan is like FFS LISTEN TO ME GOD WHEN IS IT HAPPY HOUR ALREADY…
…and my faaaaavorite part here is that Padme is like “…wow, OK, awk-ward,” and pretty much just cuts them off and is like “well hopefully we’ll just get it all figured out somehow anyways. Have you guys considered couples’ counseling, by the way, because you two are already a mess and this is only Episode 2?”
So Padme leaves the room to retire for the evening, probably because she is dying of secondhand embarrassment for both Obi-Wan and Anakin, and Anakin immediately starts complaining to everyone within earshot about how badly that went because Padme did not just fly into his arms and profess her undying love for him. She hardly even recognized him! (What the hell did he expect?!) He’s been writing her love poems every day for a decade!!
Jar Jar is like “nooo, she was totally thrilled to see you! I swear!” and Obi-Wan, in one of the MOST underappreciated lines this character has ever, ever had tells Anakin he’s focusing on the negative…and besides, “…she was pleased to see us”, which he adds while leaning over with this mildly impish smirk, and he is like .5 seconds away from HIGH-FIVING ANAKIN HERE.
Kenobi, oh my God, control yourself. I think sometimes we all forget that yes, while everyone in Star Wars is into Obi-Wan, the reverse is also true: Obi-Wan is totally into EVERYONE.
Also I love that Obi-Wan thinks the conversation went well, considering that Anakin practically threw up on Padme out of nervousness, and then the two of them made everyone uncomfortable by having a marital spat in public. Sure, Kenobi: you guys really knocked it outta the park this time. God help me, I love these two guys so much.
Somewhere in the midst of downtown (?) Coruscant, a bounty hunter named Zam Wessel is getting her orders from what will later turn out to be Jango Fett, a guy who is extremely important in the Star Wars universe. He is important, you see, because literally millions of copies of himself will eventually inhabit this universe, and while some of them will be bad guys, like Boba Fett, the vast majority of them will become the Clone Army of Great Clone Wars Fame that we all know and love (but especially Captain Rex.) (Also Cody.) (Also Fives.) (OK fine it’s really hard to make a comprehensive list; all of the clones are obviously amazing.)
Fett hands Zam a tube that contains fucking terrifying gigantic Space Centipedes and tells her not to mess this up. I’m glad I’m not a bounty hunter, because NO THANKS. Zam takes off.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Serial Robe Discarder
Back at Padme’s apartment, Team Handsome is keeping watch on the place while Padme sleeps. I would like everyone to note that Obi-Wan waltzes into the room from wherever the hell he was before, and he takes off his robe (because of course,) and then just throws it either on the floor or on the sofa. Kenobi, you don’t live here! Use a hanger for crying out loud. UNGENTLEMANLY.
So: Kenobes asks Anakin for an update on how things are going over here with Padme Watch 2002, and Anakin remarks that he had a camera in there to spy on her, but she covered it up. He thinks maybe she didn’t like him staring at her WHILE SHE’S TRYING TO SLEEP. OK, Anakin, I’m going to try and help you here kid, because I like you and I know you’re not actually a peeping tom, and God knows there was virtually no chance you would NOT be the most awkward person ever given how your life has gone thus far, but yeah: in general, even women who like you don’t appreciate being gawked at while sleeping. That’s my Snark Wars Hot Romance Tip of the Day. (Also, FFS Kenobi: could you not have taught him that in addition to the seven thousand course hours you’ve dedicated to “letting your enormous robe blow around in the wind”?)
Take the Bait
After Anakin informs him that Padme’s set up Artoo to let them know if anything nefarious happens in her room, Obi-Wan deduces that Anakin is using her as bait to try and catch whoever it is who was trying to kill her. Anakin’s like “Well…yeah, but don’t worry I’ve totally got this…” which is of course a lie because, good intentions or not, Anakin has never had a handle on anything in his life and he never will.
Obi-Wan, deeply annoyed as usual, is like “you can’t sense everything that’s going on in there” and Anakin spits back “oh YEAH? And you CAN?” and Obi-Wan, entertainingly, just says “Possibly.” LOL.
Zam makes her next move from the shadows, loading the Creeptastic Creepy Crawlers into a probe droid of sorts…
While back at Padme’s, Obi-Wan notes that Anakin looks tired:
Anakin replies that he hasn’t been getting solid sack time lately. Obi-Wan asks if it’s “because of [Anakin’s] mother”, and Anakin solemnly nods.
Evidently Anakin’s been having some potentially shirtless nightmares these days and they’ve centered around his mom. Anakin says he doesn’t understand why he keeps dreaming about her lately. Obi-Wan, not without sympathy, tells him that “dreams pass in time”, and OK, I feel the need to just note here: it is not clear here that Obi-Wan is under any impression that these dreams are about Anakin’s mother dying or that they are scarring him for life or anything. Either Anakin hasn’t yet begun to dream about that particular narrative, or he’s not being entirely forthcoming here.
Anyways, as tiring as Anakin evidently finds these dreams, he switches gears: he’d MUCH rather have sweaty shirtless, uh, dreams about Padme. LOL forever that he just throws this out there. I feel awkward for Obi-Wan. Anakin Skywalker, get it together.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Suppressing A Whole Lot of Things
Obi-Wan chides him — now NOW, Anakin, get a hold of yourself (but not in that way): you’ve made a commitment to me, er, I mean, the Jedi! Be mindful of your angsty hormone-fueled thoughts which I certainly have never had except for my entire old EU backstory and possibly also my current canon backstory, where I was an angsty teen and then carried on with at least one person! Oh, Obes Kenobes. Let’s be honest: neither of these two should even be here right now. Flirty McFlirterson and Anakin “Shirtless Nightmare Haver/Cologne Ad Model” Skywalker should not have been left to go to waste in the Space Monastery. Obi-Wan should be drinking brandy in a palace on Mandalore, and Anakin should be…well, I don’t know. As much as I do love him with Padme, I feel like he needed to just CHILL OUT for a while somewhere before settling down. Like, Anakin needed a gap year somewhere. Let this boy go backpacking or something.
Speaking of Obi-Wan’s Tragic Backstory: Obi-Wan makes sure to throw in there that BESIDES, Padme’s some politician, and you know how THEY are. The worst! I feel like the TCW writers later making Satine a politician was just like an epically dickish move (which surprises me not at all, because we know the writers hate Obi-Wan.) YOU DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH, KENOBI.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan and Anakin Forget They Have a Job Because They’re Too Busy With Each Other
This conversation devolves into the two of them bitching at each other again, this time with Obi-Wan blathering on about politicians and how he totally never had sex with one a lot of times, and Anakin being like GAAAAAHHHD MASTER THIS IS SO BORING STAAAAHP LECTURING, because Anakin is twelve, apparently.
With the Handsome Twins distracted by bitch-flirting, not for the last fucking time, Zam is able to sneak the Terrifying Space Centipede into Padme’s room:
While the ONE TASK THESE TWO HAVE GOES UNCOMPLETED, Anakin announces to Obi-Wan that PALPATINE is a politician and HE doesn’t appear to be corrupt! Oh my God, Anakin: you are just…not the most perceptive guy. I am sorry. I love you, but you are really really bad at knowing about…anything. It’s OK, you’re not exactly the only person in this series with that problem.
Obi-Wan makes to reply but then both of them are like Gasp! FORCE ATTACK! as they sense danger, and take off for Padme’s room.
Recurring Theme: Not As I Do
Anakin dives forward and slices the centipedes in half, Padme bolts up in bed, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the guy who not 2 seconds earlier was like “Anakin my very stars, calm down oh my goodness” JUMPS THROUGH A BROKEN WINDOW, CLINGING TO A PROBE DROID, AND TAKES OFF FLYING INTO SPACE TRAFFIC in pursuit of the assassin.
I hope Anakin’s Force Ghost eventually realized how ridiculous Obi-Wan’s constant “well I NEVER“s towards Anakin were, and called him out about this in the afterlife.
So Obi-Wan goes flying around while half of Coruscant complains about him and Zam attempts to shoot at him (is this like a common thing? The Jedi are just always out there, hanging off of ledges and running into traffic and causing drama? Sounds about right,) and eventually ends up dropping into an open-cockpit speeder that Anakin is driving as Zam takes off into the night.
Recurring Theme: Thanks For Rescuing Me, Loser
SHOCKER: Obi-Wan is like “FINALLY WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG”. Dude: you are the one who JUMPED OUT OF A WINDOW UNEXPECTEDLY. I love you, Obi-Wan, but what the absolute hell is your problem with thanking people for saving your life. I THINK THE WORDS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ARE “THANK YOU”. Tsk tsk.
Anakin makes some smartass comments in reply about how he just couldn’t find a speeder he liked, blahblahblah, and then they chase Zam all over the place and Anakin’s suicidal piloting makes Obi-Wan Very Vexed Indeed.
Ultimately Anakin finds what he claims to be a shortcut, and heads after the bounty hunter by jumping out of the speeder into the open air. Obi-Wan, ridiculously, laments that he hates when Anakin does this. I know it’s been pointed out a hundred thousand times before, but THIS IS THE MAN WHO JUMPED OUT OF A WINDOW FIVE MINUTES AGO. Obi-Wan: truth mirror, you, now.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Has Anakin’s Back
Anakin drops down from an enormous height onto Zam’s speeder, wrestling with the vehicle and losing his lightsaber in the process. It lands almost immediately into Obi-Wan’s waiting hand as he follows them:
So, given the Recurring Theme about how This Weapon is Your Life and everything, is the implication here that Anakin’s life is a poorly-planned disaster tumbling into a void but that Obi-Wan’s there to catch it before it falls and is lost completely? Because that sounds pretty accurate.
Eventually Anakin’s meddling causes Zam to crash-land onto the streets of Coruscant. Anakin dusts himself off totally looking like a Superior Force God Who Is In Command of the Very Universe Itself. Oh no, wait, he actually looks more like the Before Guy in an antacid commercial:
Zam tears off, ducking into the Outlander Club, and Anakin races to catch up with her.
Obi-Wan lands his speeder and reconnects with Anakin, who is like BAD GUY WENT IN THERE LET’S GO LET’S GO CAN YOU VOUCH FOR ME I’M NOT OLD ENOUGH TO GET IN HERE I DON’T THINK:
Obi-Wan, in his Calm Dad Voice, is like “OK first things first: you need to take it down a few thousand notches.”
He counsels Anakin to be patient and think, two things Anakin is frankly awful at, but I won’t fault Obi-Wan for trying. He notes that the bounty hunter went into the bar to hide.
Dramatic Irony In Three, Two…
He then hands Anakin his lightsaber and is like “by the way, can you please not lose this thing? I really do not want to have to go on YET ANOTHER Crystal Quest with you on the ice cave planet and the Council said if you lose anymore the cost is going to have to start coming out of my stipend.”
The two of them strut their way into the Outlander now, and as they do, Obi-Wan muses aloud: why does he get the feeling Anakin is going to be the death of him?
Ha! Ah, hilarity. *bites knuckle, sobs* Thanks, Star Wars!
And that wraps it up for our first installment of this saga episode! Will Team Handsome get to the bottom of who’s trying to kill Padme? (Not really!) Will Obi-Wan bill the Republic for time he spent drinking on the job? (Probably!) Will Anakin find new and exciting ways to embarrass himself next time? (Almost certainly!) Thanks for reading, and see you next time!