- "Every saga has a beginning."
Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is a 1999 Star Wars film written and directed by George Lucas. It was the fourth live-action film to be released in theaters, but is chronologically the first film of the saga. It was also the first and, to date, only Star Wars film to be re-released in 3D. The film was produced by Rick McCallum and stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, and Ian McDiarmid as the primary characters.
The film takes place thirty-two years before Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the first film released in the saga, and begins as two Jedi attempt to resolve a trade dispute and eventual invasion of the planet Naboo by the Trade Federation. Unknown to the Jedi is that the situation is being manipulated by Sheev Palpatine, the Senator of Naboo and secretly a Dark Lord of the Sith called Darth Sidious. The Sith, the ancient enemies of the Jedi, reveal themselves to the Jedi after a thousand years in hiding; while the Jedi discover a young Tatooine slave named Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force—and who will grow up to become Darth Vader. Meanwhile, Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo fights to save her people from the invasion.
The Phantom Menace was released in theaters on May 19, 1999, becoming the first Star Wars film since Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi sixteen years earlier. The release was accompanied by extensive media coverage and great fan anticipation. Despite mixed reviews from critics and fans, the film grossed $924.3 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing Star Wars film when unadjusted for inflation. The film was re-released on Blu-ray in September 2011, and was re-released in theaters in 3D on February 10, 2012.
The film was the first major story in the prequel era and began fifteen years of canon Star Wars storytelling that would primarily take place around the time of the prequel storyline. The success of the film allowed for the next two chapters of the prequel trilogy, as well as the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film and television series. Numerous Star Wars Legends stories were also told in or influenced by The Phantom Menace and the prequels.
- "I have a bad feeling about this."
"I don't sense anything."
"It's not about the mission, Master. It's something…elsewhere…elusive."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi to Qui-Gon Jinn
There is trade dispute between the Trade Federation and the outlying systems of the Galactic Republic, which has led to a blockade of the small planet of Naboo. Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, leader of the Galactic Senate, has secretly dispatched two Jedi, Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to serve as "ambassadors" to the Federation flagship, in order to meet with Viceroy Nute Gunray and resolve the dispute. Unknown to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the mysterious Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, who secretly orders Gunray to invade Naboo (as well as implying that he would ensure that their invasion was made legal when asked if it was illegal by Gunray) and kill the two Jedi upon their arrival. Using poison gas, the Viceroy attempts to poison the two Jedi knights as an assassination attempt, but fails. After having to battle their way through squads of battle droids, Jinn and Kenobi make their way to the command deck where Gunray is located, shielding himself behind blast doors. The Jedi are forced to flee upon the arrival of two Destroyer Droids, but with their ship, Radiant VII, now destroyed, the two Jedi stow themselves aboard two separate Federation landing crafts leaving for the surface of Naboo to begin the invasion. Queen Amidala then contacts Gunray expressing her disapproval of their blockade of Naboo, with Gunray explaining that they wouldn't have done it without the approval of the senate. After questioning Gunray regarding the arrival of ambassadors sent by the Chancellor, Gunray claims that they have been greeted by no such ambassadors, leaving Amidala startled. Gunray, after ending communications with her, informs his aide that they should disable all communications on the planet in case she suspected an invasion. Meanwhile, Amidala is conversing with Senator Sheev Palpatine regarding the recent attempt at negotiations and how Gunray claimed that they did not receive any ambassadors. Surprised, Palpatine states that he had assurances from the Chancellor that his ambassadors did arrive. However, Palpatine is unable to finish his sentence and his hologram begins to short out. Naboo Governor, Sio Bibble, suspects that the shorting out of communications is a sign that an invasion from the Trade Federation in imminent.
On the planet's surface, Qui-Gon saves local native outcast Jar Jar Binks from being crushed by an MTT. Later, STAPs attack but are destroyed by Qui-Gon. Jar Jar Binks shows the two Jedi the way to an underwater Gungan settlement, Otoh Gunga, escaping the Trade Federation army. Meanwhile, the Trade Federation invades Naboo and captures Queen Amidala. The Jedi meet the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, and ask him to help the people of Naboo, but Nass refuses and sends them off in a bongo submarine. They are attacked by an opee sea killer and a colo claw fish but both fish are eaten by a sando aqua monster. The Jedi, with Binks in tow, reach Theed, the capital city of Naboo, and rescue Queen Amidala from the Trade Defense Force. They depart for Coruscant, the Galactic Republic's capital planet, to ask for help from the Senate. An astromech droid named R2-D2 manages to repair the Queen's starship and they narrowly escape an attack from Federation battleships.
Due to the damage the ship's hyperdrive sustained in the attack, the Queen's party is forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine for repairs. While searching for a new hyperdrive generator, they befriend young Anakin Skywalker, a slave boy, whose master is Watto, a Toydarian junk dealer. Watto has the required parts in stock, but Qui-Gon is unable to purchase them, as Republic credits are worthless on Tatooine.
Anakin is gifted with piloting and mechanical abilities, and has built an almost-complete droid named C-3PO. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force in Anakin, and feels that he may be the Chosen One – the one who will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force. By entering Anakin into a podrace, Qui-Gon orchestrates a gamble in which the boy (alone, since Qui-Gon was unable to include the youth's mother in the bargain) will be released from slavery while also acquiring the parts needed for their ship. The night before the race, Qui-Gon does a blood test on Anakin and discovers that the boy's midi-chlorian reading is off the chart. Anakin wins the race and joins the team as they head for Coruscant, where Qui-Gon plans to seek permission from the Jedi High Council to train Anakin to be a Jedi. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to kill the two Jedi and capture the Queen. Maul appears just as the group is leaving the planet, and duels with Qui-Gon. The fight is cut short when Qui-Gon manages to escape his black-robed assailant by jumping onboard the Naboo Royal Starship as it takes off.
On Coruscant, Qui-Gon informs the Jedi Council of the mysterious attacker he encountered on Tatooine. Because of that being's obvious mastery of the Jedi arts, the Council becomes concerned that this development may indicate the reappearance of the Sith, a religious order who were followers of the dark side of the force and thought to be long gone. Qui-Gon also informs the Council about Anakin, hoping that he can be trained as a Jedi. After testing the boy and deliberating with one another, the Council refuses, deeming him too old for training according to the Jedi Code. They are also concerned due to their sensing of a seemingly clouded future and a strong presence of fear in the boy. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine, warning of the corruption in the Senate, advises Queen Amidala to call for a Vote of No Confidence in Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum. Seeing no alternative, the Queen takes this advice when she addresses the Senate. Palpatine is among the candidates to replace the Supreme Chancellor, and the Queen later announces to Palpatine that she herself will return to their home planet to repel the invasion of her people. She is frustrated by the Senate's deliberation and lack of action, and feels that even if Palpatine is elected Chancellor, it will be too late. The Jedi Council sends the two Jedi to accompany the Queen back to Naboo, hoping to shed light on any Sith involvement.
Queen Amidala, back on Naboo, attempts to locate the Gungans at Otoh Gunga, but Jar-Jar, after searching Otoh Gunga, informs them that it was abandoned. He then leads them to a sacred area which he was certain they were at. Upon arriving at the Gungan Sacred Place, Amidala negotiates with Boss Nass to form an alliance and unite in battle against the Trade Federation. Captain Panaka and several other security forces were also dispatched to rescue anyone imprisoned in the Trade Federation's prison camps, although they were only able to successfully extract a handful. Next, Amidala informs Qui-Gon and Nass of her battle strategy: with the Grand Gungan Army acting as a distraction to the bulk of the main Trade Federation forces, the Naboo resistance led by Amidala, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan will infiltrate Theed via a secret entrance located inside one of the waterfalls. Nute Gunray, taking the bait regarding the Gungan Army, informs Darth Sidious about the Grand Army, the latter then promptly ordering Gunray to wipe out the Gungans and the Naboo as the Trade Federation prepares for battle. Captain Roos Tarpals orders the Gungan Grand Army to start up their shield, to protect them from ranged attack. OOM-9 has his tanks fire first, but seeing them fail to penetrate the powerful shield, orders them to cease fire. Daultay Dofine gives the command to activate the battle droids. These droids march through the shield, and its generator is destroyed. After much fighting against the Federation's droid army, defeat for the alliance seems imminent.
However, victory comes when young Anakin Skywalker accidentally takes control of a starfighter and goes on to destroy the Federation's Droid Control Ship from the inside, killing Daultay Dofine and rendering the droid army useless. Meanwhile, Amidala and her force fight their way back into the royal palace and capture Nute Gunray.
At the same time, in a Theed hangar bay, Darth Maul (an apprentice of the Darth Sidious) engages in combat with the two Jedi, using a double-bladed lightsaber. The battle moves from the hangar, across a series of catwalks, to the Theed Generator Complex. During the fight, Obi-Wan is separated from his master when he is kicked off of a catwalk and falls. He grabs the edge of another catwalk below and jumps back up to where Qui-Gon and Maul continue to fight. By this time, Qui-Gon and Maul have become separated by a force field in the entrance to the Generator Room. Obi-Wan catches up to them, but is divided from his master by four force fields. When the force fields deactivates, Jinn and Maul continue their battle while Kenobi remains divided from the battle by one force field when they all reactivate. After a lengthy duel, Maul suddenly hits Qui-Gon on the chin with his lightsaber handle, stunning him, then rams his lightsaber straight into Qui-Gon's chest, mortally wounding him. Devastated, Obi-Wan redoubles his assault upon Maul and chops the Sith's lightsaber in half, but Maul eventually overpowers and nearly kills Kenobi when he Force pushes him over the edge of a seemingly endless reactor shaft. Obi-Wan saves himself from falling when he manages to grab onto a pipe protruding from the wall of the shaft. Maul then kicks the Jedi's lightsaber into the pit and prepares to finish him off. After Obi-Wan calms himself, he uses the Force to jump out of the shaft and summons his fallen master's lightsaber to his hand. Within an instant, he lands behind the surprised Maul and cuts him in half; Maul's upper and lower body falls into the shaft.
Obi-Wan reaches Qui-Gon moments before he dies, as Qui-Gon instructs Obi-Wan to train Anakin to become a Jedi, reiterating that Anakin is the Chosen One. Obi-Wan gives his word that he will. The newly-elected Chancellor Palpatine arrives to congratulate Queen Amidala on her victory, as Nute Gunray is sent to stand trial for his crimes.
After the battle, the Jedi Council names Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight. Kenobi conveys his master's wish regarding Anakin Skywalker to Yoda, who reluctantly allows him to become Obi-Wan's apprentice. Qui-Gon's body is cremated, and Mace Windu and Yoda agree that the Sith are definitely to blame for the tragedy. Being that there are only ever two Sith at any given time (a Master and an apprentice), both Masters believe that one must still remain.
The Naboo and Gungans organize a great victory celebration on the streets of Theed, in front on the palace. Obi-Wan and Anakin are present, the younger now wearing formal Jedi attire, and in his hair is a special braid: the mark of a Jedi Padawan. Queen Amidala presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to Boss Nass and the Gungan people.
Along the lines of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, all three prequel films were originally intended to be written and shot as one large production, and released back-to-back.
The role of director was offered to Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Robert Zemeckis. According to Howard, Lucas didn't necessarily want to direct Episode I. He further commented that all three directors turned down the position as the film was Lucas's "baby." Many fans began waiting outside cinema theaters as early as a month in advance of ticket sales.
The budget of Menace was estimated $115 million. Shooting took place from June 26 to September 30, 1997. As with Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Episode I's main exterior filming locations were in Tunisia. The podrace was filmed in a canyon near Sidi Bouhlel and Oung Jmel. A set was built near Oung Jmel to represent Mos Espa on Tatooine. The Slave Quarters Row were filmed in ksour's near Tataouine and Ksar Medenine. Small parts were filmed in Royal Caserta Palace in Italy and Whippendell Woods in the United Kingdom, but Hever Castle was later cut. Studio work was mainly done at Leavesden Studios in the United Kingdom.
Unlike the latter two films in the series which were shot on digital video, most of this film was shot in 35 mm, with a few scenes shot in digital video.
This episode was also the first of the Saga to be referred to primarily by its number (Episode One) by media and fans, to contrast it with the classical saga the public already knew. This reference also gave finally some sense to the riddling numbers IV-VI of the previous movies.
The Phantom Menace received enormous media-created hype, which made Lucasfilm's $20 million advertising campaign – with the distinctive artwork of Star Wars series artist Drew Struzan gracing the movie poster and other advertising – seem modest and almost unnecessary because of the unprecedented interest amongst both fans and the wider audience in the return of the franchise. Few film studios released films during the same week as the release of The Phantom Menace; among the more courageous were DreamWorks and Universal Studios, with the releases of The Love Letter and Notting Hill respectively. The Love Letter resulted in a box-office flop, whereas Notting Hill fared rather well and followed The Phantom Menace closely in second place. Challenger, Gray & Christmas of Chicago, a work-issues consulting firm, estimated that 2.2 million full-time employees did not appear for work to attend the film, resulting in $293 million in lost productivity. The Wall Street Journal reported that such a large number of workers announced plans to view premiere screenings that many companies shut down on the premiere day. Many fans began waiting outside cinema theaters as early as a month in advance of ticket sales.
More theater lines appeared when it was announced that cinemas were not allowed to sell tickets in advance until two weeks into the release. This was done out of fear that family theater-goers would either be unable to receive tickets or would be forced to pay higher prices. Tickets were instead to be sold on a traditional first-come-first-serve basis. However, after meetings with the National Association of Theatre Owners, Lucasfilm agreed to allow advance ticket sales on May 12, 1999, provided that there be a 12-ticket limit per customer. As a result, however, some advance tickets were sold by "scalpers" as high as $100 apiece, which a distribution chief called "horrible", stating it was exactly what they wanted to avoid. Daily Variety reported that theater owners received strict instructions from Lucasfilm that the film could only play in the cinema's largest auditorium for the first 8–12 weeks; no honor passes were allowed for the first eight weeks, and they were obligated to send their payments to distributor 20th Century Fox within seven days. Servers at the film's official website became gridlocked soon after the release of the first teaser trailer, and many fans of the series paid full admission to see Meet Joe Black only to leave after the trailer had run. The same tradition followed months later when the theatrical trailer was featured in front of Wing Commander. The theatrical trailer caused even more notable media hype, because it not only premiered in theaters, but screened at the ShoWest Convention in Las Vegas, and was aired on television on Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. An unusual marketing scheme was pursued across the United Kingdom, where the teaser trailer was released on December 2, 1998 and then pulled from theaters six weeks later.
Despite worries about whether the film would be finished in time, two weeks prior to its debut Lucasfilm pushed the release date up from May 21, 1999 to May 19, 1999. At the ShoWest Convention, Lucas stated that the change was to give the fans a "head start" by allowing them to view it over the week and allowing families the chance to view on the weekends. In a nod toward his future with digital technology, Lucas stated that the film would be released on four digital projectors on June 18, 1999. Eleven charity premieres were staged across the United States on May 16, 1999; receivings from the Los Angeles event were given to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation with corporate packages available for $5,000-$25,000. Other charity premieres included the Dallas premiere for Children's Medical Center, the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at the Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, the Big Brother/Sister Assn. of the Philadelphia premiere, and the Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. A statement said that tickets were sold at $500 apiece and that certain sections were set aside for disadvantaged children.
- "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, people made movies with people in them, and some of those movies made sense. Then something happened, and the people started to vanish from the movies, along with most of the sense. For a while, the spectacle was fun to observe, but slowly the pictures tipped into insanity, or, at any rate, into the hypnotically bad. The joke was that the number of viewers willing to submit to such hypnosis went not down but through the roof. Historians of this phenomenon are now agreed that the change became irrevocable shortly before the end of the second millennium, with a George Lucas film entitled Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace. […] The Phantom Menace is at once childishly unknowing and rotten with cynicism. I would call it the disappointment of the decade except that, along with many other people, I had a sneaking fear that it would turn out this way. What is this? Crap. Say it out loud: Crap. And will it make the magic billion dollars? You bet."
- ―Film critic Anthony Lane's review of The Phantom Menace, from The New Yorker, May 24, 1999
Since it was the first Star Wars movie in 16 years, many Star Wars fans were excited when Episode I came out. After an enormous marketing campaign, with the distinctive artwork of Star Wars series artist Drew Struzan gracing the movie poster and other advertising, there was almost unprecedented interest amongst both fans and the wider community in the return of one of the successful movie series. However, critical and fan reaction ranged from high praise to outright derision.
The much-hyped special effects, while generally viewed as groundbreaking in their sheer scope, were perhaps less impressive than anticipated simply because of high expectations. This attitude was confirmed with the rival film, The Matrix, winning the visual effects Academy Award for that year over The Phantom Menace. It was the first time a Star Wars film lost in that Oscar competition category. Many critics heavily criticized the acting of Natalie Portman and especially Jake Lloyd as the young Anakin Skywalker. Some aspects of the scripting and direction were also criticized. Extra venom was directed at the character of Jar Jar Binks, who was regarded by some fans as purely a merchandising opportunity rather than a serious character in the film. Another source of dissatisfaction comes from the decision to explain Force-sensitivity with the introduction of midi-chlorians. Fan reaction was mixed too, with some fans praising the film while others having a negative opinion of it.
However, despite some of the negative criticisms leveled at the film, many others gave praise to The Phantom Menace. William Arnold, of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer commented that the massive of hype of the film may have caused much of the negative reaction to the film, saying "it built expectations that can't possibly be matched and scuttled element of storytelling surprise". He also felt "it's well made and entertaining" and believed it was much better than similar box office fare released around that time period, such as The Mummy and The Matrix . David Cornelius of efilmcritic.com remarked that the better moments of the film "don't merely balance out the weaker ones- they topple them" . Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and half out of four stars, calling it "an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking," and stating that "Lucas tells a good story". Ebert comments that it was perfectly fine for the characters being a bit less compelling, seeing that they were just being introduced, and stating to "give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day."  Mark Dinning labels The Phantom Menace "A great work from a great director, and a blockbuster of quite the most swashbuckling kind". Many fans and critics also agree that the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul—showcasing astounding choreography and Ray Park's martial arts skills—is a high point, and one of the best lightsaber duels in the entire Star Wars saga.
Star Wars Episode I was nominated for the Academy Awards on the categories of Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects but it lost to The Matrix. It won Best Motion Picture at the People's Choice Awards. It was also nominated for the Saturn Awards on the categories of Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director (George Lucas), Best Actor (Liam Nesson), Best Supporting Actor (Ewan McGregor), Best Young Actor (Jake Lloyd), Best Young Actress (Natalie Portman), Best Supporting Actress (Pernilla August), Best Screenplay (George Lucas), Best Music (John Williams), Best Special Effects and Best Makeup, It won on the categories of Best Costume Design (Trisha Biggar) and Best Special Effects.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released on DVD in 2001; it was the first Star Wars film to be officially released on DVD.
The DVD features a commentary track by Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, editor Ben Burtt, animation director Rob Coleman, and visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Dennis Muren, and Scott Squires. It includes seven deleted scenes completed specifically for the DVD, and The Beginning: Making Episode I, an hour-long documentary film drawn from more than 600 hours of footage, including an insider's look at Lucasfilm and ILM during the production. The viewer can access a multi-angle storyboard-to-animatic-to-film segment featuring the submarine and podrace lap 1 sequences. The DVD includes two documentary sources, five featurettes exploring the storyline, design, costumes, visual effects, and fight sequences in the film, and an award-winning twelve-part web documentary series chronicling the production. The Duel of the Fates music video featuring John Williams was included on the DVD as well. The final special features included are a never-before-seen production photo gallery with a special caption feature, theatrical posters and print campaigns from around the world, a theatrical teaser and launch trailers, seven TV spots, Star Wars: Starfighter - The Making of a Game featurette from LucasArts, and a DVD-ROM weblink to exclusive Star Wars content.
The DVD became the fastest selling DVD ever in the US, after 2.2 million copies were sold in its first week after release. However, some reviewers criticized the DVD for the excessive use of edge enhancement that degraded the DVD's picture quality.
At the DVD press conference for Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars prequel trilogy animation director, Rob Coleman confirmed that the animation department at Lucasfilm has replaced the Yoda puppet from the original version of the film with a digital Yoda. This was done to better match up the look of the Yoda from The Phantom Menace with that of the other two films of the prequel trilogy, as well as with the Yoda from the original trilogy. This change has been, for the most part, welcomed by fans, in contrast to the original puppet Yoda as seen in The Phantom Menace.
A preview of these changes can be viewed on the Revenge of the Sith DVD that was released on November 1st, 2005. The clip is included as part of "The Chosen One" featurette. When Coleman announced the change, he didn't, however, specify when the revised version of The Phantom Menace will be released. It is expected to be in an upcoming prequel trilogy box set, however.
The Phantom Menace was re-released along with Episodes II-VI on Blu-ray in September 2011.  For this release, the film went through a restoration process which restored the picture to its full frame (offering around 8% more picture when compared to its DVD release), increased the picture quality to be more clean and crisper while at the same time allowing ILM to revisit and fix some visual effects and technical errors. The Blu-ray release was also marked by the replacement of the puppet for the CGI model of Yoda used in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
On September 28, 2010, StarWars.com and Lucasfilm announced that the entire Star Wars saga would be converted to stereoscopic 3D and re-released in theaters and IMAX 3D, beginning with Episode I. John Knoll and Industrial Light & Magic are supervising the conversion. The stereo conversion process has been in the works for several years, however, with George Lucas showing tests of the Episode II speeder chase scene and a reel from Episode IV in 3D during 2005's ShoWest in Las Vegas, and the speeder chase scene was demoed again by Texas Instruments as an emerging technology at SIGGRAPH 2007 in San Diego.
On April 7, 2015, the Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm jointly announced the digital releases of the six released Star Wars films. As Lucasfilm had retained digital distribution rights to Episodes I thru III and V thru VI, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released The Phantom Menace for digital download on April 10, 2015.
- The Waterfall Sequence—As Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Jar Jar arrive in the waterways of Theed, in the bongo, they surface just in front of a huge waterfall and have to vacate the vehicle in a hurry.
- Dawn Before the Podrace—Anakin gets up early to prepare the pod for the race and has a brief chat with Padmé.
- Complete Podrace Grid Sequence—This scene shows more of the participating racers and creatures in the crowd, later added on DVD.
- Extended Podrace Lap Two—This lap shows some more of Sebulba's "creative interpretation of the rules" and further proof of just how special Anakin is, later added on DVD.
- Anakin's Scuffle With Greedo—This was due to follow the podrace, to show Anakin's potential for aggression, but George Lucas cut it because he wanted Anakin to be shown as a genuinely good character who turns evil later in adulthood.
- Farewell to Jira—This occurs as Qui-Gon and Anakin are leaving Mos Espa and Anakin stops briefly to say goodbye to Jira. One of Darth Maul's probe droids follows them for some time until Qui-Gon finally notices and destroys it before passing by the Dusty Duck.
- The Air Taxi Sequence—The taxi ride shows us about ten more seconds of Coruscant, later added on DVD.
Two separate soundtracks were released for The Phantom Menace. One, a traditional soundtrack, contained seventeen tracks selected from the movie. The second, an Ultimate Collector's Edition Soundtrack, compiled sixty-eight tracks of music, including several pieces that did not make it in to the final cut of the film.
Major musical themes include:
A novelization of the movie was written by Terry Brooks. It includes three entire chapters of material created by Brooks and unique to the novel. The first two chapters of the book concern Anakin's next-to-last podrace and its aftermath, while a later chapter describes an encounter between Anakin and a wounded Tusken Raider in the desert.
Brooks met with Lucas before writing the book and received his approval and guidance, including information about developments to come in Episodes II and III. This can be seen in such passages as the Tusken Raider scene, which ironically foreshadows the death of Anakin's mother in Episode II, and the passage leading up to Anakin's fight with the Rodian child Greedo, indicating that Anakin's anger derives from his anguish at Padmé's impending departure (foreshadowing the plot of Episode III).
The novelization is especially well-known for a passage describing the history of the Sith, including Darth Bane. According to Terry Brooks's memoir, Sometimes the Magic Works, Lucas spent an hour on the telephone with him discussing the history of the Jedi and the Sith. Therefore, the information on this subject provided in Brooks's novelization might derive from Lucas himself. The novelization is also the first mention of the Stark Hyperspace War.
Brooks devotes an entire chapter of Sometimes the Magic Works to the writing of the Episode I novelization, which he claims to have been an extremely happy and fulfilling experience.
The Phantom Menace introduces the Senate Guards, who are garbed in blue armor similar to that of the Emperor's Royal Guard in Return of the Jedi. The Senate Guards are the predecessors to the Royal Guard.
During the credits at the end of the film, young Anakin's theme is heard playing, but during the last moments of the film, this theme morphs into the first few notes of the Darth Vader theme during the Imperial March, and, as the last logos of THX are scrolling by, three rasping breaths from Darth Vader's respirator can be heard, referencing Anakin's eventual change into Darth Vader.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace at Lucasfilm Ltd.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace on Wikipedia
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace at Box Office Mojo
- Episode I script
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace at Rotten Tomatoes
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Name Origins at FilmSmarts.com