Day 5 of the Prequel Appreciation Week.
I mentioned yesterday that Episode II wasn’t even “in the running” for favorite Prequel film, so it seems appropriate that I grant it my favorite scene.
There are so many things about this scene to love. First of all, like its twin Episode V, Episode II is weak on a lot of things from dialogue to continuity–but, like its twin Episode V, it never fails to disappoint on a visual. The lines, colors, framing are all top-notch.
Ever since I read about Luke Skywalker standing on the roof of the palace drinking hot chocolate and watching the traffic below, I have longed to see Coruscant. As the most significant planet birthed in the EU and fleshed out on screen, it should hold a special place in any fan’s heart, and certainly mine. I remember there was a preview pack of Episode I cards in my Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game–the design on the back of the cards was the Coruscant skyline and I used to stare at it in rapt attention.
I pored with the same attention over McQuarrie’s concept art in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. What was life like in this city-planet, so unlike anything in my experience, the teenage girl living in rural Ohio, the nearest town consisting of 11,000 people twelve miles away? The Episode I glimpses were so brief, they were little more than tantalizing. I didn’t get to really find out until Episode II in 2002, four years after my first piqued curiosity.
From the speeder chase that dives from the skyline to the nightclubs, to the shipping lanes, Senate hall, and corridors of the Jedi Temple, Episode II delivers Coruscant visuals like no other. And of all those scenes, the best, the most amazing is Dex’s Diner in the commerce district (CoCo Town).
In a deleted scene (and in the book), we see the Temple archive droids let Obi-Wan down. They can’t give him the information he needs, so, like his mentor Qui-Gon, he turns to the streets, to the common folk outside the Temple who know what’s what. He has a long relationship with this place, as Qui-Gon used to come here for help when it was Didi’s diner. As Qui-Gon had a non-Jedi confidant and assistant in Didi, Obi-Wan has Dexter.
I really love Dexter (as the previously linked post indicates). He’s a great character who just radiates cool backstory. This scene is one of the rare places of Episode II where the dialogue shines: all showing, no telling. There’s the added bonus that Dexter reminds me of the first college professor I ever had, an amazing naturalist who died in 2005 but whose class Local Flora changed my life. I may be importing a lot of Jaworski’s personality onto Dex, but they both had encyclopedic knowledge of anything you could ask about and an interesting story to go along with. They also both preferred a wardrobe of holey shirts and baggy pants, though Jaworski’s shirts were black — seriously, Dex, it hides the dirt better! Get a clue ;)
So, in short, while there’s a lot in E2 I’ll fast forward out of frustration or boredom, this is a scene I could watch several times in a row and undoubtedly find something new and interesting every time. I love it.