2002 was a big year.
I had my GCSE exams in the May/June period. Which was key Star Wars time.
In the months leading to the film coming out there was the trailer which was mind-blowing. The merchandise which was plentiful, I got my first figure in the January, a preview figure of Jango Fett, stuck in a crouching position with two blasters. I had him stood on the desk next to the computer as I chatted with the group in the Holocron chat rooms.
In the April of that year the inevitable wave of merch happened. I used to babysit a family friend on Saturdays and the weekend the toys came out my friend Andy and I took the kid to Toys R Us and we stood in awe of all the new toys. Andy and I gravitated to one in particular, Kit Fisto. We were transfixed by the tentacle dreadlocks. The kid bought a Jango Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi with Assassin Droid.
The next day, babysitting cash in hand, Andy and I went to town and I bought The Art of Attack of the Clones, which included the script.
I read it. I enjoyed it a lot.
I should have been reading text books, oops.
The tickets were released. I booked tickets for the Saturday and Sunday, Saturday with Andy and our friend Nick and Sunday with my then girlfriend (who was a Star Wars fan) and her friend Kealy.
Then one Thursday morning, when we should have been revising, Graham and I were in town and he asked if I wanted to go to the cinema. I said of course, anything to avoid the dreaded revision. He said Star Wars? I took a moment and realised that it was out. It was opening day. The cinema was only just about to open. Attack of the Clones first screening on opening day. This was unheard of in my mind. I agreed with little hesitation.
Now at this point, even though I had read the script and was able to shed some insight, Graham was a master of the Star Wars lore. If I had a question he would more than likely be able to answer, if not him he knew someone who could. We kept sharing info as the film played. We were in heaven.
Needless to say we did not revise much that day.
Friday I revised. I think.
Saturday, Andy, Nick and I watched it. My only criticism was the CGI Yoda. I understood the reasoning, look at what Yoda does in the film.
Then Sunday. Waiting for my girlfriend and her friend I waited in Game playing Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2. That was the deciding factor, at some point I needed to get me a Game Cube.
Third time was a charm.
The novelisation was a birthday purchase. So far I have only ever read it the once. I remember enjoying it but the DVD came out the following November, not like Phantom Menace that I read a couple of times before it came out on VHS almost a year after the cinema.
I saw it a fourth time, with someone I had never met before. Andrew (not to be confused with Andy), one of my closest friends’ (Charlie) boyfriend who lived in Ireland and had come over to visit and as it turned out he is a Star Wars fan. We went to see it one afternoon whilst Charlie was at work.
Fourth time and I still loved it.
I did buy a few figures but I really wasn’t a fan of the Attack of the Clones figures. I’m not much of a fan of figures stuck in poses and with annoying play features, like Obi-Wan with a magnet in his hand stood in a karate pose which wouldn’t work in a toy lightsaber fight and the Anakin with one magnetic arm and one that spins when you turn the wheel on his back. Not a fan of that.
The one toy I did buy, before the film came out, was the Lego Jedi Star-fighter that I bought on a family visit to London.
When it came to the DVD release it took me a while to buy it, it came out at the same time as a few other DVDs I was after, Fellowship of the Ring Extended Cut and Spider-Man. But the unspoken love of the Galaxy far, far away won and AOTC was the one I got when it came out.
As always, at that time when I got a DVD I went straight to the special features and even now as I write this I’m rewatching the documentary, ‘From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II’.
And so, as Christmas passed and the New Year loomed we knew we had to wait another two and a half years for the next film.
Andrew is now a Lincoln-based artist, follow him on Twitter @SpireGallery for more on his works.