As the intensely despised Stars Wars: The Clone Wars opened this weekend to a kind of half-dud response ($15 million and change), and since it’s been called the absolute end of the road by many a longtime Star Wars fan, I thought it appropriate to rewind nine years and three months to the first major display of Star Wars prequel-mania.

I was off the boat like that after seeing The Phantom Menace, but to think that it took others nine years to come to the realization that bloated Beelzebub George Lucas had spiritually destroyed his own franchise while making money hand over fist is amazing. Nine years of holding on and keeping the faith, and for what?
I’ve scanned five pages of my Mr. Showbiz article, which ran in early May 1999 and which I called “The Fandom Penance.” Here are page #1, page #2, page #3, page #4 and page #5.