Mike Koehler, an Oklahoma blogger and father of three, announced the project on his new website: AT-AT For America.
“We were once a country that made things. But now we are stuck in an economy in limbo,” Koehler explains. “Nerds, I have a great idea to make America great again. We can show our brain power, our manufacturing prowess, our organizational skills and our geek-fueled eye for detail. That idea: an AT-AT for America.”
For those of you who aren’t appropriately versed in Star Wars lore, the AT-AT (AKA 'All Terrain Armored Transport') was a giant four-legged robot employed by the Empire to destroy the rebel alliance on the snow planet Hoth. Distinguishing characteristics include long, gangly legs and a vulnerability to strings of wire (hopefully, this design flaw will be removed from Koehler's version).
Interested parties can view the full sequence below:
Koehler cheerfully admits that he has neither the money nor the technical expertise to pull off this venture on his own. However, he is hopeful that his rally cry will inspire others to join the cause: “I am hoping this project spreads like wildfire, inspiring the nerds, makers, geeks, motorheads, sportos, dudes, steampunks, Jedis, halfwits, greasers and geniuses to band together for one goal.”
If Koehler is to be believed, some big names in the geek community are already behind the project, including Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. The project is currently in the early planning stages, which involves "getting the blueprints together, securing build site and getting legal advice."
So just how big is an AT-AT? According to official Star Wars documentation, the AT-AT is over 15 metres tall and can carry up to five speeder bikes and 40 Imperial stormtroopers at once. To be ‘fully functional’ the finished robot must also be capable of traversing vast swathes of snowy terrain; which might be a bit tricky.
The AT-AT, as depicted in The Empire Strikes Back.
The original AT-AT models in The Empire Strikes Back movie were created by Industrial Light & Magic and ranged between six and 50 centimeters in height (matte paintings and clever editing were employed to enhance their sense of scale).
“The AT-AT would become an instant monument of America’s obsession with popular culture and our ability to be awesome,” Koehler boasts. “If America can put a man on the Moon, we can bring a little bit of Hoth to the Earth.”
If you'd like to donate to the project, you can make a contribution via PayPal on the AT-AT for America website. (There's no word on whether you have to be American.)