It's been 20 years since Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones hit theaters, and as Ewan McGregor noted during the Lucasfilm showcase at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Calif., the love for that movie and its fellow prequels has only grown since its 2002 release.
Star Wars Celebration 2022 celebrated the anniversary with a dedicated, completely packed panel. Stars Anthony Daniels, Temeura Morrison and Daniel Logan hit the stage along with production designer Doug Chiang, visual effects supervisor John Knoll, and sound supervisor Matthew Wood. Later on in the panel, McGregor and Hayden Christensen made a surprise appearance on stage to join in on the fun.
The panel, which was hosted by voice actor Ashley Eckstein, began with a brief intro video from George Lucas, who reminded fans that Episode II was the first one to be shot digitally. That aspect had a lot of impact on the look of the film, as Chiang explained. They designed most of Episode I by drawing on paper and trying to get back to the "heart" of the original trilogy's designs. When it came time to create the look of Episode II, they switched to creating on computers.
Chiang also described the process of creating the look of the clones, and how they made sure that Jango Fett's helmet and the clone troopers' helmets felt like they were connected, since the clone troopers evolved from Jango's original look.
The moment Eckstein turned to Christensen, the room erupted in lengthy applause and some standing ovations, which Christensen was very thankful for. But he turned the love fest back to his co-star, with whom he shares the screen again in Obi-Wan Kenobi, which just dropped on Disney+.
"I really looked up to Ewan," Christensen said. "That lends itself to the work, and Ewan was so gracious with me and took me under his wing, and that was how our relationship started. Then of course the friendship evolved, and that also came very naturally."
"We just got on straight away," McGregor added. "We spent a lot of time in the fight gym, and that's a really good way to get to know somebody. To fight with each other, you really have to trust each other. In those days, the lightsabers were made of some kind of metal, and by the time we finished each take, the lightsabers were bent. So, if you get that wrong, you can hurt each other. You have to have that level of trust. We spent a lot of time off set together too, and we just got close."
Wood worked primarily as a sound supervisor, but also got to star as Anakin in some little "home videos" that were made to help with pre-visualization. Lucas then used those videos to show the real actors the shots that were needed, so by the end of filming, Christensen thought he recognized Wood from other movies.
Wood also described going to Australia to record sounds for the movie, using unexpected sources like fruit bats and penguins to create the sound of the Geonosians, for example.
When it came to reflecting on characters, Morrison, who just starred in The Book of Boba Fett, remembered how Logan, who was playing his son Boba, wouldn't stop talking throughout the filming. The onscreen father/son duo then proved the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and spent the majority of the panel sharing stories from their time together.
Logan spoke about idolizing Morrison as a child, because he didn't know of other actors from New Zealand of Maori descent who had made it in Hollywood.
"I had no clue who Ewan McGregor was, or George Lucas or anybody else. The only person I wanted to meet was Temuera Morrison," he said.
Logan was adopted and never knew his actual dad, so Morrison became like a surrogate father, despite the fact that their time was short. One of Logan's biggest scenes in the movie is when he picks up Jango's helmet after Jango dies, which Logan likes to refer to as the "greatest scene in Attack of the Clones."
Logan had no idea what had happened to Jango until he watched the movie at the premiere and discovered that his dad had been decapitated, but he was certainly not sad about it, thinking that meant it was his turn to be the only Fett.
"I figured one of us would come back in Episode III, turns out this guy is another clone," Logan said.
Attack of the Clones filmed on the same stage as Moulin Rouge!, which also starred McGregor, but Moulin Rouge had gone long over its schedule, so there was essentially no time between the two movies. McGregor described a "bulldozer" coming in to take down the Moulin Rouge sets, and shared that he took his stunt double Nash Edgerton from Moulin Rouge to Attack of the Clones. All McGregor could remember about his big fight scene with Morrison was that Edgerton injured his face so badly that he had to send his mother away from watching the filming.
McGregor also shared a story about filming with the younger Fett, who was having trouble looking as suspicious as George Lucas wanted when he first met Obi-Wan.
"We did a few takes, and I just looked down to him and said, 'When I open the door, act like I've done a terrible fart,'" McGregor said, imitating the face Logan then made. "It totally worked."
Both actors also spoke of feeling a "responsibility" towards Lucas to honor the characters they created together.
"Getting to work with George Lucas and follow his lead and bring this character to life was easily the greatest honor of my professional career, and I guess I always felt like he gave me this amazing gift in this character, and I've always felt a bit indebted to him," he said.
McGregor said that making Lucas laugh was always the best part, because "he can really go, you know?" Lucas, McGregor said, changed his life at the age of 7, which of course made Daniels laugh.
"While you were 7 and I was I don't know how old, and you were like, 'I can't believe I'm in a scene with C-3PO,' I was like, 'I can't believe I'm in a scene with Ewan,'" Daniels said.
Daniels, who has played C-3PO since the very beginning, recalled that he used to come to set fully suited-up, in order to have the "greatest impact" on the crew. "Several times, I heard George say, 'Now Star Wars has arrived."
Where to watch Attack of the Clones: