Remembering Attack Of The Clones At Twenty

Twenty years ago Star Wars fans finally had one of the most pressing questions in the saga answered: what were the Clone Wars? In finding out the answer, fans witnessed the beginning of the end of the Republic, and LEGO was there to make sure we could build and play out all the intrigue and action.

Initially released in 2002 to coincide with the build-up to the premiere of the second episode of the Prequel Trilogy, the first set – 7143 Jedi Starfighter – actually arrived in late February/early March to tie in with the Sneak Preview wave of action figures that Hasbro produced at the tail-end of their Power of the Jedi (2000 to 2002) line to help build up hype for the movie.

The big product push came in April when big toy chains like FAO Schwarz, Toys “R” Us and KBToys (what happened to them?) took part in the Midnight Madness retail launch, held on the night of the 22nd, just 24 days before the premiere of Attack of the Clones.

While not as momentous as the Midnight Madness held for the launch of The Phantom Menace product lines, it was nonetheless a date to be remembered by many fans, and saw five more sets become available that night.

With action sequences on Tatooine, Kamino, Geonosis, and Coruscant captured in the simplistic style with yellow-skinned minifigures that reflected the early years of the LEGO Star Wars theme, the all-new-for-2002 Attack of the Clones collection, which ranged in price from $9.99 (7103 Jedi Duel) to $89.99 (7163 Republic Gunship) had something for every child and collector – and still contains two important collecting outliers to this day.

Unique to this release of Attack of the Clones sets are three sets that have only ever been released once in the 20-year history of the collection: 7113 Tusken Raider Encounter, 7133 Bounty Hunter Pursuit and 7153 Jango Fett’s Slave I are three of the very few LEGO Star Wars models that have never been revisited, and these 2002 releases are still the only way to begin Anakin’s descent to the Dark Side, act out the chase between Obi-Wan, Anakin and Zam Wessel, as well as Jango’s escape from Kamino and flight to Geonosis.

Another notable milestone in the Attack of the Clones collection was the first double-sided face prints on minifigures (sw0059 Zam Wessell), a minifigure feature that soon became a common way to give a character two expressions, but in this first case, it was to represent this Clawdite skin changer’s two visages.

On a side note, all the sets had a curious sequential pattern that jumped by 10 and all ended in 3, but to this day LEGO has never issued a set numbered 7123, leaving fans wondering if it’s a long-lost AOTC set.

Occurring at the same time as the first Attack of the Clones assortment was the launch of the new Writing system that included pens topped by 1714 Anakin Skywlaker (the first misprint variant in the LEGO Star Wars license), 1715 Jango Fett (who was unique in having a full chrome-plated helmet), a 1716 Clone Trooper, and 1732 Obi-Wan Kenobi minifigures in 2002.

Following its theatrical release, the second Prequel Trilogy movie has only really been revisited twice. In 2003, with Attack of the Clones still in the public consciousness, LEGO brought out three sets to add to the battlefield on Geonosis: 4478 Geonoisan Fighter, 4481 Hailfire Droid and 4482 AT-TE.

This second assortment had one curiosity of its own – the very first packaging variation in the LEGO Star Wars theme came into being due to a transition from the original black boxes to a medium blue that was in line with the design of the (community-dubbed) Saga collection that Hasbro had produced for their Attack of the Clones and inter-movie toys.

The next time LEGO really took notice of Attack of the Clones would be 10 years later when they released six Battle of Geonosis sets (75000 Clone Troopers vs. Droidekas, 75015 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid, 75016 Homing Spider Droid, 75017 Duel on Geonosis, 75019 AT-TE and 75021 Republic Gunship that were – for the most part – updates of previous releases.

This flurry of activity was tied to the planned September release of Attack of the Clones 3D in cinemas, but the underwhelming performance of The Phantom Menace 3D in 2012 and Disney’s intentions to reboot Star Wars with three new Sequel Trilogy movies saw its cancellation. That didn’t stop LEGO, however.

75021 Republic Gunship

Since then barely any attention has been paid to the movie that saw SPOILERS! Padmé take up her role in the Galactic Senate, the discovery of a secret Jedi army of cloned Mandalorians, Anakin’s first step towards the Dark Side, the Separatists make martial moves towards independence from the Republic, Palpatine given emergency powers and the shot that was heard around the galaxy.

Aside from the third assortment in 2013 we’ve only seen Episode 2 get a cursory amount of attention over the last twenty years, and with only a few subthemes outside of the primary System-scale sets receiving any kind of Episode Two focus at all, it seems that – based on the output form LEGO – this episode is the least favourite.

Starting in 2002 with two cross-over models (8011 Jango Fett and 8012 Super Battle Droid) from the short-lived Technic subtheme and three mini-scale sets (4487 Jedi Starfighter & Slave I, 4487 Republic Gunship and 4495 AT-TE) that came out over the next year.

The movie’s first Ultimate Collector Series set – 10215 Jedi Starfighter – appeared in 2010, and for over 10 years, it was the only high-end set sourced from Attack of the Clones.

A gap of three years followed until the 2013 wave of Attack of the Clones releases, which included two Planetary sets depicting a Jedi Starfighter & Planet Kamino (75006) and a Republic Assault Ship & Planet Coruscant (75007).

Two years later, in 2015, saw LEGO springboard a broad revival of the Star Wars theme off the popularity of the Rebels animated series and the build-up to the next Star Wars trilogy, and so the Spring and Summer releases of the year touched on Attack of the Clones, with additions to the Microfighter ( 75076 Republic Gunship and 75077 Homing Spider Droid), and Buildable Figure subthemes with 75107 Jango Fett

Since then the Attack of the Clones has barely had a nod, with only four sets coming out: in 2017 Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive (75191) was innocuously slipped into the Rogue One collection, the whirling dervish-like 75255 Yoda from his battle with Count Dooku was created for the Sculpture subtheme in 2019, 75309 Republic Gunship – the winner of a LEGO Ideas fan poll and the second UCS set of the movie – was released in 2021 and 40558 Clone Trooper Command Station was part of the Winter wave of 2022.

Of all the memories that the Attack of the Clones collection has given fans over the last couple of decades, it is probably the legacy of Jedi Bob that has probably put the most smile on faces.

A more detailed breakdown shows that Attack of the Clones sets only adds 17 System-scale construction sets, two Technic builds, five Mini-scale sets, two Microfighters, one buildable figure, two Planetary inclusions, one to the Sculpture subtheme, and two Ultimate Collector Series sets to collections since 2002.

That said, there are a few other sets that sharp-eyed fans could consider adding to the Attack of the Clones collection, however.

  • The argument could be made that, on a technicality, 7752 Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer is actually from Attack of the Clones, however, the inclusion of two Magnaguard minifigures means it is drawn from The Clone Wars animated series instead.
  • Whether the first-ever lightsaber prop replica – 6346098 Yoda’s Lightsaber – should be included with the rest of the sets from Attack of the Clones is debatable. Seen in action in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, the lack of a product description leaves it open to debate.

Year by year the trend is just as poor, with the initial interest dying off quickly and the promise of a 3D re-release of Attack of the Clones in 2013 rekindling the collections prospects being the only notable spikes.

Attack of the Clones set releases by year

After twenty years that’s the complete range of sets that represent Attack of the Clones, and scanning through our set database shows that, of all the Prequel Trilogy movies, Attack of the Clones – with 32 sets is the most under-represented of the three – and receives the most lackluster consideration by LEGO. 

Will this year, being the 20th anniversary of the movie, see more sets added to the collection? The most recent Summer wave rumors suggest that there will be three or four sets released this year. if predictions are correct these will be revamped models of previously released vehicles/spacecraft.

What are your hopes? Do you want to see more sets from Attack of the Clones released? What has LEGO missed over the years? Share your thoughts with us, and fellow readers, in the comments section.

Entertainment Earth

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.