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One Underrated Scene Proves Attack of the Clones Could Have Been a Much Better Movie

Forget it, Obi-Wan. It’s Coruscant.

Lais Borges/Inverse; Lucasfilm
Celebrating the Prequels

One of the most random and offbeat yet memorable moments in the Star Wars prequel trilogy comes in Dex’s Diner during Attack of the Clones. With a classic wipe transition, the movie drops Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi in this railcar-type space diner on the bustling city-planet of Coruscant. Transports whizz by outside, and inside the music sounds like ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll by way of a jukebox cantina band. Jawa juice is on the menu, and the droid server’s nametag reads Flo in Aurebesh. But it’s the four-armed owner, Dexter Jettster (Ron Falk), who makes the biggest impression with his tendency to interject sinister little laughs into everything he says.

When Dex hugs Obi-Wan with three hands — while pulling up his pants with a fourth — it’s clear these guys are friends. Yet Dex also exudes slovenly menace, as if he’s spent too much time on the frayed edges of the galaxy. Though his scene only lasts two minutes, he’s one of those characters who arrives so fully formed that the viewer can imagine a whole life for him. It comes across in details like the holes in his grease-stained shirt and the mention of his days prospecting beyond the Outer Rim.

His food doesn’t look half-bad, either.


Attack of the Clones animation director Rob Coleman told StarWars.com that Dex was inspired by Ernest Borgnine, while Falk’s real-life sciatica influenced the character’s limp. As Dex squeezes into a booth with Obi-Wan, his lines are peppered with jabs at the Jedi and dark chuckles, like, “I should think you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge and … heh, heh, heh … wisdom.”

Beneath Attack of the Clones’ creaky dialogue and awkward romance is an intriguing, noir-lite subplot where Obi-Wan becomes a private investigator, hot on the trail of an assassin’s murderer. Production notes described Dex as “an enormous character straight out of a Forties detective film,” and his role is to fill Obi-Wan in on the murder weapon’s origin. It’s a Kamino saberdart, which hails from a planet not on the Jedi Archives’ maps. When Obi-Wan arrives, he uncovers a conspiracy to raise a clone army under the Jedi’s name.

This subplot has the makings of a good mystery that slowly exposes the seedy underbelly of the Jedi Order. Dex manages to convey the atmosphere of greed and distrust in a single line, when he tells Obi-Wan the friendliness of Kamino’s cloners all depends “on how big your, uh, pocketbook, is … heh, heh, heh.” It almost lands like a double entendre. If Attack of the Clones has any saving grace, it’s weird glimmers of genre-inspired genius like this, where Obi-Wan is free to play P.I. and rub elbows (and elbows and elbows) with a shady diner owner.

This article is part of the “Celebrating the Prequels” series, a two week-long series of articles about the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy leading up to the 25th anniversary of The Phantom Menace.

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