Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy: A Visit To Dex’s Diner

This interlude in AOTC packs a lot into a short seemingly simple scene. Dex’s Diner is another one of Lucas’s throwbacks to mid-20th century Americana. Even though it is on Coruscant, it looks familiar enough inside and out so that the audience instantly recognizes what it is and you’d almost be willing to try whatever the GFFA’s versions are of chocolate milkshakes, club sandwiches, French fries, chef’s salads, cherry pies, and a damn good cup of coffee (perhaps that’s “jawa juice”). A jukebox plays a bouncy tune. Dex might have several arms but his gruff but friendly demeanor is reminiscent of t.v. greasy spoon proprietors like Mel on the ‘70s sitcom “Alice” or Al on “Happy Days.” Plus he’s got issues with keeping his pants up.

The scene though is more than Lucas marinating in his small town youth. For one thing, it moves the detective story arc forward since Dex knows where the poison dart comes from and about the cloning operation on Kamino. It also shows how Obi-Wan has changed somewhat since TPM. In that film, Obi-Wan didn’t seem terribly engaged with people outside of the Jedi Order. You can practically see him rolling his eyes every time Qui-Gon gets chummy with a local and there is that “why do I sense you’ve picked up another pathetic lifeform” comment. Now here he is warmly embracing Dex like an old friend and taking advantage of Dex’s underworld knowledge when he’s exhausted sources at the Temple. Some of Qui-Gon had rubbed off on Obi-Wan and he probably knows at this point that it helped make him a better Jedi.

What Dex has to say is important too. He jokes about the Jedi (not) knowing the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  It indicates that even the guy who runs a regular diner knows the Jedi are starting to trust knowledge over wisdom. “If it’s not in the archives it doesn’t exist,” though of course it can. There’s a theme throughout AOTC that the Jedi were “too sure of themselves” and even “arrogant.” Which, along with their vision being clouded by the Dark Side leads to their downfall.

Most of Obi-Wan’s detective arc scenes are in dark or shadowy locations. Even Kamino, where it’s very bright in the interiors, is a dark and stormy planet. This scene is in bright “daylight,” which indicates honesty and openness.

Ewan is just way too adorable in this scene and he plays off of the guy playing Dex beautifully.
Bonus trivia: Dex’s full name is Dexter Jettster, the last name of course taken from Lucas’s son Jett. He’s not to be confused with Dex Dexter, a character on ‘80s nighttime soap opera “Dynasty.”

Extra bonus trivia: If you watch the closeups carefully, you’ll notice Obi-Wan’s got a pierced ear ;).

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32 Responses to “Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy: A Visit To Dex’s Diner”

  1. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    There’s a theme throughout AOTC that the Jedi were “too sure of themselves” and even “arrogant.” Which, along with their vision being clouded by the Dark Side leads to their downfall.

    I believe that the “Dark Side” that was clouding the Jedi’s vision were their own shortcomings.

    • lovelucas Says:

      I like that theory and can subscribe to it totally. Great call!

      • susanbowes Says:

        “I believe that the “Dark Side” that was clouding the Jedi’s vision were their own shortcomings.”

        I agree 100%. 🙂

      • Hoggle Says:

        Me too.
        I also liked how the cut scene of Obi with the Driods would have inter-cut with his & Anakin’s time after the Jedi Council assignments, introduced the Driod types who are involved in the same issue with Padme’s more mystical death in RoTS, as well as just being a cool short scene.

        Dex is talking about a major thematic conflict that is going on in the first six films i’d say.

        The character that thwarts Palpatine’s strategic powers of foresight the most in those in the sixology, & the most polar opposite character to the PT Jedi’s mode of operations, is Leia i find.

        Really enjoyed the vast majority slices of daily life type stuff scenes in the Prequel’s cinema ( the best sustained sequence for that is the Tattooine episode in TPM ), generally were great fun story telling in the more subdued yet still successfully epic universe Star Wars style.

  2. Sergey Holod Says:

    The music we hear in Dex’s Diner was written by John Williams’ son, Joseph

    • lovelucas Says:

      What a cool piece of – don’t take this wrong – trivia! I can hear that “bouncy” instrumental even now. Great father/son moment/movement for the Williams Family. Thanks for sharing this info.

  3. The Burning Blogger Of Bedlam Says:

    This scene felt like a definite ‘American Graffiti’ throwback from Uncle George. I also love that you can see a Sebulba-like Dug making his way out of the diner during the Obi-Wan/Dex conversation.
    Has anyone ever done any Dexter Jettster spin-off novel or comic or something? I’d love to see that.

    • gregcorssino Says:

      There actually was one in one of the old Clone Wars comic issues that have multiple stories.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Not that I know of. I think he might’ve shown up in some of Jude Watson’s YA books but don’t quote me on that.

      • lovelucas Says:

        Don’t quote me either but I’m 100% sure I read about Dex as part of Jude Watson’s series. I think he comes to the aid of Ferus Olin.

    • James II Says:

      I know for a fact there is a chapter in The Life and Legend of Obi-wan Kenobi that is dedicated to when Obi-wan first met Dex, I liked it, it was fun and funny, shows just how smart, and clever our favorite Dinner owner really is.

  4. Keith Palmer Says:

    I’d picked up on the sense of Obi-Wan having become friendlier with “non-Jedi” between TPM and AotC myself, although there have been times I’ve supposed his “if droids could think, there’d be none of us here” comment means he still has some prejudices to work through. (For my own part, I’m not completely happy with whoever’s overtones of “Artoo is one of a kind,” even if that’s used just to put down Threepio…)

  5. Jacobesico Says:

    It’s a great scene.

    I love the line “Well if droids could think, there would be none of us here.”

  6. susanbowes Says:

    The scene in the diner with Dex was definitely a homage to American Graffiti. I love that we finally see Obi-Wan connecting to an ordinary “civilian” who wasn’t Force sensitive. It shows that Qui-Gon still had a strong influence over him.

    I agree with ladylavinia1932 when she says…”I believe that the “Dark Side” that was clouding the Jedi’s vision were their own shortcomings.” — Even Yoda said that the Jedi were getting too arrogant. It’s only natural that the Dark Side would cloud their judgment.

    However, I do disagree with Keith Palmer when he says that Artoo isn’t “one of a kind.” We’ve got to remember that Artoo belonged to Anakin. (a gift from Padme) Anakin was “always good at fixing things” (Threepio) which proved that he also worked on Artoo giving the droid special features that other Artoo units didn’t have. It’s very apparent that Anakin didn’t need a translator to understand the little droid either. Even Luke didn’t have that ability, at least not in the beginning of the saga when we see Luke talking to Artoo via the translating device in Luke’s fighter.

    • Artiom Deyev Says:

      Yes, and the yellow speeder in the Coruscant chase (when they try to catch Zam Wessel bounty hunter) is also a reference to American Graffiti. There’re many such little references in AOTC (count Dooku and his whole appearance is a bit of a homage to Christopher Lee Dracula), which is very cool. “The more one looks into it, the more one sees”.

      • susanbowes Says:

        As far as attributing Christopher Lee’s “Dracula” in Revenge – if you listen closely you can hear the flap of bat wings when Dooku jumps over the railing before confronting Obi-Wan and Anakin. I especially liked it when Vader took his first steps that Lucas attributed to Frankenstein. I LOVED all of Lucas’ references to classic films. Mr. Lucas is definitely a Master at his trade.

  7. jayoungr Says:

    I think people put too much weight on that “pathetic lifeform” comment from TPM. Do remember that the last fellow traveler Qui-Gon had picked up was Jar Jar, and I think anyone can be forgiven for not immediately seeing his value (though he absolutely does prove to have value in the end).

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I got the vibe from those scenes that this was something Qui-Gon did all of the time and Obi-Wan in his youth didn’t quite understand why.

      • susanbowes Says:

        I agree with you about your comment lazypadawan. I also think that Obi-Wan’s statement about “pathetic lifeforms” is very important to the plot. It proves that Obi-Wan wasn’t very understanding of his Master’s acceptance of every lifeform, which also showed Obi-Wan’s arrogance, at least at that point in time.

      • jayoungr Says:

        Susanbowes: Yes, I know your opinion of Obi-Wan is quite low. But he seems amused, rather than annoyed. To me.

      • susanbowes Says:

        I do like Obi-Wan’s character. It’s just that I believe he has a lot of flaws, just like the other Jedi. They were all arrogant, and most of the time this is overlooked when fans talk about Anakin’s flaws.

        Everyone seems to forget that Anakin was the Chosen One with a higher Midichlorian count than any Jedi. I believe that the Midichlorians made Anakin’s emotions more powerful than anyone else’s and that’s why he got so upset by Obi-Wan’s belittling his efforts while training him. That’s why it was so easy for Palpatine to manipulate him through the years as well, especially when it came to saving Padme’s life.

      • Hoggle Says:

        Anakin is the more vital/pure character out of the two, Obi is alot more hypocritical than Anakin, but Obi’s got the more steady and heroic arc, which is often interesting in how cross sections of fandoms relate to such juxtapositions. 💢

  8. Michael Says:

    Good call on Obi-Wan’s growth here from TPM and the way that he differentiates himself from the other members of the Jedi Order. This scene is a great example of what Ewan brings to the role: warmth, dry wit and good-natured charm.

    Oh, and that retro waitress droid with the Yankee accent should be installed in every diner in the country.

  9. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    However, I do disagree with Keith Palmer when he says that Artoo isn’t “one of a kind.” We’ve got to remember that Artoo belonged to Anakin. (a gift from Padme) Anakin was “always good at fixing things” (Threepio) which proved that he also worked on Artoo giving the droid special features that other Artoo units didn’t have.

    Artoo had originally belonged to Padme. She was already in possession of the droid before either of them set foot on Tatooine for the first time. Threepio originally belonged to Anakin and later, Shmi. By “Revenge of the Sith”, Anakin had given Threepio to Padme and the latter gave Artoo to him.

    • susanbowes Says:

      Yup. Artoo belonged to Padme and she gave the droid to Anakin as a gift. In turn, Anakin gave Padme his padawan braid, symbolizing his becoming a Jedi Knight. I’m not sure when he gave her Threepio, but I’ll take your word for it.

  10. lovelucas Says:

    “The scene though is more than Lucas marinating in his small town youth. ”

    LP – you sure have a way with verbs: George marinating. I like that image. Love Dex and the rapport with Obi-Wan, “buddies” and that Obi-Wan trusts him and his….wisdom. Good call on Obi-Wan’s growth/maturity = consideration for other life forms. Just my opinion but wasn’t Qui-Gon the real deal? I’ve always appreciated him from the first time I saw TPM and when you (and Yoda eventually) recognize he was right all along in just about all things – and perhaps ALL things – makes you realize he really was the perfect Jedi.

    • susanbowes Says:

      I agree that Qui-Gon was the best Jedi there was. Obi-Wan grew through him, but he never quite compared to his Master.

      • jayoungr Says:

        Don’t agree. Qui-Gon was in touch with some things that others of his time were missing, but he was also lacking in some areas where they succeeded.

      • susanbowes Says:

        In what way? I know he was only human with many of our flaws, but out of all the Jedi I think he was more “down-to-earth” and more in touch with the natural Force than the rest of the Jedi were, especially the Council members. He refused to see things “their” way. That’s why he was never granted the right to sit on the Council.

  11. LadyJediScientist Says:

    I have always loved this scene! It is a very simple scene: just two characters talking to each other, but it does so much. It moves the story forward, introduces the audience to a new character & shows us Obi-Wan’s growth as a character. It also provides the audience with a sense of the familiar in the midst of an excotic environment. Not to mention, Dex himself is a wonderful example of excellent character design😉

  12. James H Says:

    Little snippet… I think there might be a slight nod to The Philadelphia Story in which Cary Grant’s character is called Dexter and Virginia Weidler plays a character called Dinah (the sister of Katharine Hepburn’s character).

    At one point Cary Grant’s character refers to Dinah as “Dexter’s Dinah”. It occurred to me that with George Lucas being such a cinephile that there could be a small nod. 🙂

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