It’s been over 40 years, but Star Wars fans are still engaged in an on-going debate – how to correctly pronounce ‘AT-AT.’
The Empire Strikes Back hit cinema screens in 1980 and introduced a number of firsts to George Lucas’ expanding Star Wars universe. Fans of the saga got to visit new worlds, encounter previously-unseen creatures, witness the good guys losing for a change and hear Darth Vader’s fateful words to Luke Skywalker (spoilers), “I am your father.”
One other aspect of the sequel was the introduction of Imperial walkers, towering four-legged machines that were used on the assault of the Rebel’s base on the ice planet of Hoth. Standing over 20 meters tall, boasting thick armour plating that’s too strong for blasters and bristling with devastating weapons, the AT-ATs (All Terrain Armoured Transports) were as formidable as they were iconic.
While the mechanised combat vehicles first appeared chronologically in Episode V, within the later expanded Star Wars universe an earlier version of the massive machines actually debuted in an episode of Star Wars Rebels. Agent Kallus used the then-new weapon to great effect, before the loss of three of the walkers at the hands of Kanan Jarrus forced the Imperial to retreat.
Over the years AT-AT walkers have appeared in numerous TV shows, novels, video games and as collectibles, but one question about the vehicle is still hotly-debated by fans. For anyone interested in the finer details of a galaxy far, far away, the topic of how to correctly pronounce ‘AT-AT’ still seems to be up for debate. As those specific words are never actually uttered in The Empire Strikes Back, it’s mostly been left to fans to argue over who is right (or not).
In Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Cal Kestis uses the ‘AT-AT’ (rhymes with ‘CAT-CAT’) annunciation, while in Star Wars Rebels the machines are referred to as an ‘A-T-A-T.’ As both are official content and connect with the overarching lore of the saga, it’s a little tricky to say which version is the one to go with.
Back in 2026, Dave Filoni himself weighed in on the debate at that year’s Star Wars Celebration, stating, “You can say ‘AT-AT,’ you can say ‘A-T-A-T,’ and you can say ‘walker.’ I’m for all three. That’s canon because in the show I have Imperials say ‘walkers,’ I have them say ‘AT-AT,’ and I have them say ‘A-T-A-T.’”
That seems to be as ‘official’ as Lucasfilm may be willing to get, as the company has never formally stated which version is the ‘correct’ pronunciation. While that may ultimately be a little frustrating for those fans who pore over every intricate detail of the Star Wars saga, it seems as if the friendly back-and-forth debate looks set to continue for some time to come.
Oh, and if you’re still in any doubt, it’s ‘AT-AT.’ 🙂
Images: Star Wars