Star Wars II Attack of the Clones (2002) - Illustrated Reference

Poster art by Drew Struzan
Poster art by Drew Struzan
Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen
Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen

Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones was directed by George Lucas and premiered on 16th May 2002. Starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Pernilla August, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Logan and Jimmy Smits. Screenplay by George Lucas. Music by John Williams. 142mins.

- Episode II – Opening Title Roll -

There is unrest in the Galactic Senate. Several thousand star systems have declared their intentions to leave the Republic.

This Seperatist movement, led by the mysterious Count Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights to maintain peace and order in the galaxy.

Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi...

Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor
Samuel L. Jackson and Ewan McGregor
Samuel L. Jackson and Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Hayden Christensen
Hayden Christensen
Ian McDiarmid
Ian McDiarmid
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson
Temuera Morrison
Temuera Morrison
Jimmy Smits
Jimmy Smits
Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee

Obi-Wan: Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me?
Anakin: Don't say that, master. You're the closest thing I have to a father.

Ewan McGregor (1971-) / Obi-Wan Kenobi

Born in Perth, Scotland, Ewan McGregor’s films include – Shallow Grave (1994), Trainspotting (1996), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), Star Wars I The Phantom Menace (1999), Rogue Trader (1999), Moulin Rouge (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001), Big Fish (2003), Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005), The Island (2005), Deception (2008), Angels & Demons (2009), The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009), The Ghost (2010) and Haywire (2011).

Padme: Please don't look at me like that.
Anakin: Why not?
Padme: Because it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Anakin: Sorry my lady.

Natalie Portman (1981-) / Padme

Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Natalie Portman won a Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan (2010) and was Oscar Nominated Best Supporting Actress for Closer (2004).

Her films include – Leon: The Professional (1994), Heat (1995), Mars Attacks! (1996), Star Wars I The Phantom Menace (1999), Cold Mountain (2003), Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005), V for Vendetta (2005), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Brothers (2009), No Strings Attached (2011) and Thor (2011).

Anakin: I wasn't strong enough to save you mom. I wasn't strong enough, but I promise I won't fail again.

Hayden Christensen (1981-) / Anakin Skywalker

Born in Vancouver, Canada, Hayden Christensen’s films include – In the Mouth of Madness (1994), The Virgin Suicides (1999), Life as a House (2001), Shattered Glass (2003), Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005), Awake (2007), Jumper (2008), New York, I Love You (2009) and Takers (2010).

Palpatine: You don't need guidance, Anakin. In time, you will learn to trust your feelings. Then, you will be invincible. I have said it many times, you are the most gifted Jedi I have ever met.
Anakin: Thank you, Your Excellency.

Ian McDiarmid (1944-) / Supreme Chancellor Palpatine

Born in Tayside, Scotland, Ian McDiarmid’s films include – The Awakening (1980), Dragonslayer (1981), Return of the Jedi (1983), Gorky Park (1983), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), Restoration (1995), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Star Wars I The Phantom Menace (1999) and Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Samuel L. Jackson (1948-) / Mace Windu

Born in Washington D.C., Samuel L. Jackson was Oscar Nominated Best Supporting Oscar for Pulp Fiction (1994). His films include – Patriot Games (1992), Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Jurassic Park (1993), Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995), A Time to Kill (1996), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), Jackie Brown (1997), Sphere (1998), The Negotiator (1998), Deep Blue Sea (1999), Shaft (2000), Unbreakable (2000), Changing Lanes (2002), Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005), Snakes on a Plane (2006), Black Snake Moan (2006), Jumper (2008), The Spirit (2008), The Other Guys (2010) and The Avengers (2012).

Pernilla August (1958-) / Shmi Skywalker

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Pernilla August’s films include – Fanny and Alexander (1982), Attack of the Clones (2002), The Bomber (2001), Everybody Loves Alice (2002), Daybreak (2003), Day and Night (2004) and Mouth to Mouth (2005).

Jango Fett: I'm just a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.

Temuera Morrison (1960-) / Jango Fett

Born in Rotorua, New Zealand, Temuera Morrison’s films include – Once Were Warriors (1994), Barb Wire (1996), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Speed 2 Cruise Control (1997), Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Vertical Limit (2000), Renegade (2004), Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005 as Cmdr. Cody), Couples Retreat (2009) and Green Lantern (2011 as Abin Sur).

Jimmy Smits (1955-) / Senator Bail Organa

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jimmy Smits films include – Running Scared (1986), The Believers (1987), Old Gringo (1989), Switch (1991), The Million Dollar Hotel (2000), Bless the Child (2000) and Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005). TV series L.A. Law (1986-1992) and NYPD Blue (1994-2004).

Count Dooku: You must join me, Obi-Wan, and together we will destroy the Sith!
Obi-Wan: I will never join you.

Christopher Lee (1922-) / Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus

Born in London, England, Hammer Horror legend Sir Christopher Lee has appeared in over 200 films and TV movies, they include - Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951), The Crimson Pirate (1952), The Battle of the River Plate (1956), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966), The Devil Rides Out (1968), Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), Horror Express (1972), The Three Musketeers (1973), The Wicker Man (1973), To the Devil a Daughter (1976), Airport 77 (1977), 1941 (1979), Gremlins 2 (1990), Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003), Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Hugo (2011).


Count Dooku: I have good news for you, my lord. War has begun.
Darth Sidious: Excellent. Everything is going as planned.

Filming on Attack of the Clones began in June 2000 finishing in September, reshoots took place in March 2001, it was the first film to be shot completely with digital cameras.

Paul Walker, Colin Hanks and Ryan Phillippe were all considered for Anakin Skywalker, Hayden Christensen nabbed the role because he and Natalie Portman looked good together.

Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Ahmed Best (Jar-Jar Binks) can be seen out of costume in the bar Obi-Wan and Anakin enter when searching for the assassin Zam Wessell (Leeanna Walsman).

Due to the amount of hate levelled at Jar-Jar Binks by Star Wars fans in Episode I, Lucas substantially reduced the goofy alien’s screen time in Episode II.

Christopher Lee at 78 was too old to do his own stunts during the climactic duel and in some long shots a stuntman was used, his face digitally replaced with Lee’s.

The old building with pillars Anakin and Padme are seen walking by in one scene is the same one Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains and Anthony Quayle are walking through in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) just before the intermission.

Jango Fett: Do you like your army?
Obi-Wan: I look forward to seeing them in action.
Jango Fett: They'll do their job well. I'll guarantee that.

All the Clone Trooper’s seen in the film were computer generated using motion capture, reportedly no trooper costume was built for the film.

The droid factory battle was added to the film after principal photography had finished, Lucas decided the movie needed one more action scene before the climactic battle in the Geonosian arena.

George Lucas son Jett Lucas is the young boy in the scene where Obi-Wan visits the Jedi Archive looking for info on Kamino.

With a running time of 142 minutes, Attack of the Clones is the longest of the 6 Star Wars films.

John Williams provided another excellent score for the Star Wars saga, the love theme “Across the Stars” was especially well received.

Attack of the Clones was Oscar nominated for Best Visual Effects, losing to Lord of the Rings II The Two Towers.

It was also nominated for 8 Saturn Awards including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director and Best Music.

Clones won Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Supporting Actor (Hayden Christensen) and Worst Screenplay and was nominated for 5 other 'Razzies'.

Attack of the Clones cost $120m to produce and it’s worldwide box office gross was $649.3m,

it was the first time a Star Wars film wasn’t the biggest film of the year in fact it was the 4th highest grossing movie of 2002, following Lord of the Rings II The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Spider-Man.

A general improvement over Episode I the film was still attacked by critics and fans for its gawd-awful love scenes and dire dialogue. Anakin must have called Obi-Wan “master” at least a hundred times during the first 20 minutes of the film.

On the upside Christopher Lee was a good villain, the various alien worlds look great, there is an epic love theme by John Williams, the visual effects are better than ever and to top it all an excellent final 30mins of action involving arena monsters, Jedi battles and lightsabre duels.

Obi-Wan: I have to admit that without the clones, it would have not been a victory.
Yoda: Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.

The Star Wars Saga would continue with Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).

The Critics Wrote –

"An exhilarating two hours of serious fun." (Richard Corliss, Time Magazine)

"George Lucas has reached deep into the trove of his self-generated mythological world to produce a grand entertainment that offers a satisfying balance among the series' epic, narrative, technological and emotional qualities." (Todd McCarthy, Variety)

"There are two moments, one early and one late, in which the sententious hooey is cast off and some of the old ''Star Wars'' spirit peeks out. The first is an aerial chase through traffic-clogged skies, in which the great cinematic challenge of conveying flight is breathtakingly surmounted. The other is a lightsaber duel between the evil Count Dooku (Mr. Lee) and Yoda. Watching the elfin, leaping Yoda mix it up with the tall, graceful British bad guy momentarily dispels the ponderous tedium that has come before, but it is too little, too late." (New York Times)

“This movie is an improvement on the execrable Phantom Menace: never less than a watchable, entertaining spectacle. Its attempt at complexity and ambiguity is engaging, even admirable.” (The Guardian)

"There is a certain lifelessness in some of the acting, perhaps because the actors were often filmed in front of blue screens so their environments could be added later by computer. Actors speak more slowly than they might--flatly, factually, formally, as if reciting. Sometimes that reflects the ponderous load of the mythology they represent. At other times it simply shows that what they have to say is banal. Attack of the Clones is a technological exercise that lacks juice and delight. The title is more appropriate than it should be.” (Roger Ebert)

"Other than McGregor, who continues to cut a dashing figure as the sagacious Jedi, the movie is plagued by bad acting." (Hollywood Reporter)

"The climactic battle, featuring Jedi's kicking-ass and clones attacking is a mind-boggling fusion of technology and entertainment that eclipses anything seen before in the fantasy genre. And then, along comes Yoda's astonishing, crowd-pleasing battle with Count Dooku. Clones is the anti-Phantom Menace - funny, complex and enormous fun. Welcome back George.” (Empire)

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Comments 4 comments

Chris Dane profile image

Chris Dane 4 years ago from Maryland, USA

Is it bad that this is my favorite Star Wars movie? I'm not saying it's better than Empire, I'm just saying I like to watch it on the odd Tuesday more.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Hi Chris, thanks for commenting. Nothing wrong with choosing Clones as your favourite, it's probably my favourite of the Star Wars prequels. It's all good fun and frolics before it all gets a little too serious in the next episode. :)


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Wow I got a kick out of realizing that ten years later that Christopher Lee is still making movies....and probably not doing his own stunts. Nice collection of photos from the movie. Easily the worst of the six Star Wars movies in my humble opinion. Even Lucas has said that the movie is a very slow uneventful piece to the masterpiece. I remember sitting in the theater shaking my head in disgust with some of the 3rd grade level lines in this movie. Hayden Christensen had big shoes to fill and I do not think he did that very well. And judging how his career has gone post Star Wars I think many people feel the same way.

Thanks for a nice addition and a nice reference piece on Star Wars: Attack of the Clones....and now we get to the best of the second trilogy with your next hub.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks for commenting Bruce, much appreciated. Sorry you didn't like this one, I enjoyed it more than the other two. I think the banal love story and cringeworthy lines put people off but visually its astounding, pure space opera.

And its good to see Natalie Portman joining in the action and zapping some bad guys, all she does in the third one is whine and cry.

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