SFX Issue 83

October 2001


Attack Of The Groans

Lucas reveals Episode II title to widespread ridicule

Yup. Attack Of The Clones . According to the Lucasfilm website, this title is supposed to “harken back to the sense of pure fun, imagination and excitement that characterised the classic movie serials and pulp space fantasy adventures that inspired the Star Wars saga.”

Many don’t agree. “It’s a terrible, terrible title,” said the never-shy Ewan McGregor. This follows on from comments made earlier this year when he said the script for The Phantom Menace “could have been better.” Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, also did not seem impressed when told the title on a radio show, refusing to comment beyond saying it was “retro”.

Various polls went up the week after the announcement. CNN.com reported a 57% disapproval rating. Only 22% approved, the rest didn’t care. TheForce.net reported a whopping 63% disapproval, though 31% liked it. One notable approval came from weighty Ain’t It Cool News mogul Harry Knowles.

Many were expecting The Shadow Falls , or Rise Of The Empire . Even normally loyal Lucasfilm employees were said to be disappointed.

Not to be outdone, we here at SFX have done our own opinion poll among a motley bunch of SF luminaries. Let consesus commence...

“In Star Wars , Ben’s mention of ‘The Clone Wars’ was a juicy teaser of a real universe beyond the film... Attack Of The Clones sounds like a pants episode of Scooby-Doo ...”
Dan Abnett, comics writer

“F**king shameful. Unforgivably clumsy and artless. Sure, he wants a good old old-fashioned pulp serial kinda feel, but that’s no excuse for plain crapness. Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are good old-fashioned pulp serial titles, but by this rationale they might just as well have been called The Empire Comes Back Again And Fights Everyone And Wins This Time .”
Andy Diggle, editor, 2000 AD

“Almost as good a title as Plan 9 from Outer Space , though not as commercial as my own Sex Pirates Of The Blood Asteroid .”
Dave Langford, writer, and swashbuckling raconteur

“It sounds like some sort of anal malady as in: ‘Ooh me arse, I think I’m having an…’ Having said that, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi have a similar Saturday Morning, B-Movie feel and no one ever complained about them. Nor have they ever questioned the rather bland and unspectacular A New Hope . Perhaps after waiting so long for that most recent of absurdly titled installments, we have all finally just ran out of patience.”
Simon Pegg, actor, writer, Spaced

“It’s better than The Phantom Menace , which sounded like a fart gag, but not as good as the old Timeslip story ‘Day Of The Clone’, which sounded like Frederick Forsyth writing sci-fi.”
David Bishop, editor, Judge Dredd Megazine

“The title sucks. It sounds like a very bad ’70s B-horror movie. There is no inspiration at all. It’s a simple, straightforward name that brings no threat or anticipation to the public at all.”
Rafael Zawada, editor of Holland’s SF Report

“It’s a silly title, but so were all the others. I have the impression that George Lucas hasn’t taken on board anything that has happened since 1977 when the success of Star Wars enabled him to retreat into a bubble surrounded by people telling him how great all his ideas were. Attack Of The Clones sounds like the title slapped on a two-part Gemini Man or Bionic Woman story repackaged as a TV movie. Then again, after Jar Jar Binks – does anyone care?”
Kim Newman, author and film critic

“It sounds like a temporary and opportunist attention-seeking title designed to grab a few headlines while the DNA’s still hot.”
Mike Pilkington, online editor, Fortean Times

“It’s abysmal. George Lucas was a terrible writer in the ’70s and in a decade and a half he hasn’t learned from his errors. Anyone who prefers Star Wars to Star Trek is a fool.”
Stewart Lee, author, comedian

“I’d prefer Send In The Clones .”
Dave Gibbons, comic artist and writer

“Being a big fan of the early ’60s Marvel pre-super hero comic books, I find Attack Of The Clones to be a fine title. It helps us keep in mind the intended tone of the entire series, which is more ‘classic adventure-fantasy’ than ‘techno-science fiction’. I only wish it were a bit more over the top, something like: Attack Of Goomombu, King Of The Slime Clones . Whatever it’s called, I’m sure it’ll be a fine film. I’m looking forward to seeing it.”
Bill Mumy, actor, Lost In Space, Babylon 5
“PS Did anyone ever notice the similarity between Luke, C-3P0 & R2-D2 and Will Robinson, Dr Smith, and the Robot? Or is it just me? Probably just me. Never mind.”