Going to see a Star Wars movie opening night has been a tradition for me since I was eleven years old. That was the year the Phantom Menace came out. And my parents who raised me on the original trilogy took me to see it. From there my love for Star Wars continued to blossom. The beauty of getting to see a movie of this nature in a theater full of fans is getting to see the audience reactions, and to be a part of those moments.
The prequels have plenty of moments that brought us joy. Say what you want about Jar Jar Binks. But I remember laughing so hard at him as a kid. I remember Jango Fett getting people excited. And I remember Anakin’s betrayal bringing tension and tears in Revenge of the Sith. But nothing will ever top the joy that was felt near the end of Attack of the Clones with Yoda’s fight with Count Dooku.
You have to remember that up until this point, we had only been told that Yoda was once a great Jedi Knight. We had never seen him fight before, and in the prequels he was still presented as very old. So the audience expectation was that his warrior days were still long behind him. But when he came out to face Count Dooku and dropped his cane. The excitement in the theater was palpable.
There are very few moments I have experienced in a theater I can compare this to. But when I tell you that the second Yoda drew his saber that the audience lost their minds. I mean it. They lost it. Yelling. Laughing. Cheering. It was just pure joy to be in that theater experiencing this moment. The only example I can think of that topped this one for me, was the portals opening in Avengers: Endgame.
Attack of the Clones is arguably not one of the better Star Wars films. But it gave us a moment that so many people got to treasure together. Even when I play Battlefont, and get to flip around as Yoda, I smile. Because I remember what it was like to be there. Watching that little guy kick ass for the first time, and not knowing that it was coming. It’s moments like this and many others in the Skywalker Saga that make these movies so much fun. We had nitpick all we want about theories and plot points. But at the end of the day, Star Wars just brings smiles to the faces of so many. And that’s what it’s all about.