'AT-AT for America' tripped up by Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm fires a tow cable and trips up one man's dream to build a fully functional, full-scale AT-AT walker from "The Empire Strikes Back."

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
2 min read

The official logo for the now-defunct AT-AT for America movement Andrew Grexa

In "Star Wars," after the destruction of Alderaan, Obi-wan Kenobi collapses in a seat and solemnly says, "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

Something slightly terrible has happened: Lucasfilm has cut short a grassroots movement to build a full-scale, fully functional AT-AT vehicle from "The Empire Strikes Back." Michael Koehler, the 38-year-old social-media consultant behind the idea, shared the unfortunate news on the AT-AT for America blog:

"Long story short, I can no longer solicit any kind of support for the AT-AT for America project in its current form. Seeking financial donations to build a piece of Lucasfilm intellectual property goes far beyond what is considered proper."

Koehler wrote that the biggest flaw in the plan was the lack of actual planning, according to Steve Sansweet, official fan liaison for Lucasfilm. The rep informed Koehler that the idea should have been discussed with the studio before being shared with the world. Koehler admitted that the AT-AT for America idea had grown far faster than he imagined, and he seemed surprised at the media coverage. All donations for the project will be refunded, but hope is not lost yet. Koehler said he still wants to build something with the hundreds of people who expressed interest.

"I have a tiny kernel of an idea with what we could do going forward with AT-AT for America that I will discuss with Mr. Sansweet and Lucasfilm once I get a plan together," Koehler wrote.