Q: Why do you pronounce "AT-AT" phonetically?
- A: The term "AT-AT" is never mentioned in any of the Star Wars movies -- they're referenced only as "Imperial Walkers." However:
- ILM model maker Charlie Bailey, who physically worked on the AT-AT scenes in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, says the English word "at" twice in rapid succession in the Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-Ray extras.
- J.J. Abrams, director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, uses the phonetic pronunciation on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray when referencing the AT-AT that Rey lives in.
- See the very first public mention of the AT-AT by name in the original 1981 Kenner commercial. Phonetic.
- See the second commercial mention. Phonetic.
- Even LEGO previously used the oldest & once most common, military-style phoneticism.
- This phonetic pronunciation was once even verified "correct" (or certainly at least quite valid) by a Lucasfilm representative.
The fact is, pronouncing the letters is always perfectly fine for acronyms*!
To be even more clear, you can (and should) quote me when I say there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying "ayy-tee ayy-tee." However, being a 30+ year fan of the franchise I personally choose to stick to the original way.
* I had to made that sentence ridiculously huge a year in because detractors always conveniently, intentionally tried to ignore it every single time they read this FAQ just to be stubbornly argumentative and falsely claim that I said the exact opposite. Sigh.