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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

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Release Date: May 19, 1999 (North America)

Genres: Action, Science Fiction, Sequel          MPAA Rating: PG

Production Phase: Released

Studio: 20th Century Fox   Production Company: Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Who's In It: Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn), Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Natalie Portman (Queen Padmé Amidala), Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker), Pernilla August (Shmi Skywalker)

Who's Making It: George Lucas (Director), George Lucas (Screenwriter), Rick McCallum (Producer), George Lucas (Executive Producer), David Tattersall (Director of Photography)

Premise: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the Galactic Republic is upon the precipice of war. The aggressive Trade Federation sparks a conflict that threatens to consume the galaxy. After failing to... More »

Official Website: www.starwars.com/movies/episode-i

What We Think: You can write a book about what has been rumored, supposed, conjectured, hoped for, begged and outright lied about these movies.In 1977, after the huge initial success of the first Star Wars movie, the public... More »

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Wednesday, February 19, 1997

On the February 16th scoop listing, the rumors concerning the authenticity of the alleged pre-production sketch from SW1...has been confirmed. During a segment of the MTV Star Wars Special the artwork was briefly shown. This does indeed make it the first released conceptual image from the new trilogy - proof that the fellas down at Skywalker Studios are indeed doing something between coffee breaks. Art Supervisor Doug Chiang is credited for the work.

Time magazine labelled the picture as 'Planet Coruscant: Production art from the prequel'. Although Coruscant will be shown at the end of Return of the Jedi: Special Edition, this doesn't appear to be a scene showcasing the major celebration held in the aftermath of the Empire's defeat at Endor. A release from within the Lucasfilm camp has said that the last scene of ROTJ:SE leads directly into the first scene of SW1; could the victory celebration on Coruscant be the final image of the show, thus leading into the 'Passengers Boarding' scene?

Also dropped in for further speculation was the commentator's mention of the return appearance (or is that pre-return appearance?) of Boba Fett 'somewhere' in the new trilogy. Exactly when this return will be, and in which chapter, remains to be announced.

- Information relayed by Brian, 'Beej', 'Deino', C.P. Hamilton, 'Jedi Ranger', 'jjehrnwa', 'wnorman', 'potiki' and anonymously. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, February 18, 1997

"The scooper claiming to have met with Lucas respresentatives regarding the acquisition of new computer workstations is talking utter twaddle. Considering how secretive Lucasfim are, especially with regard to this film, is it really likely that some visiting salesman is going to be shown detailed sequences of the new film which most of the Lucasfilm staff probably haven't even seen?!"

- Comment made by 'Jolaris'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, February 17, 1997

Two scoopers have sent us information that Kate Winslet (Sense and Sensibility, Jude and the upcoming Titanic film) may be considered for a role in the new films. The anonymous scooper told us that Winslet met with Lucas two weeks ago at the Skywalker facility.

Another individual writes in to inform us that in the January 10 issue of Entertainment Weekly it's confirmed that the Young Queen we'll see in the movie is indeed Luke and Leia's future mother.

- Scoop sent in by 'Sefster' and anonymously. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, February 16, 1997

In a recent People magazine article, Warwick Davis (who portrayed Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi and Willow Ufgood in Willow) was quoted saying that he will appear in at least one of the prequels. Another anonymous individual said Davis received a fax from Lucasfilm asking for his involvement.

- Scoop provided by Brent Lynch and anonymously. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, February 16, 1997

There is a rumor going around the 'net about a supposed pre-production sketch for the opening sequence of the first Star Wars prequel. This sketch appeared in Time magazine's recent Star Wars article, and Harry Knowles' Ain't It Cool Web site reports that it is genuine.

The sketch in question shows passengers boarding a streamlined floating transport admist the hustle-and-bustle of a futuristic cityscape. Floating vessels are moving along in a path off in the distance between huge monolithic skyscrapers (could this place be Coruscant, future throneworld of the Emperor Palpatine?)

There's no way to verify the sketch as genuine, unless someone in Lucasfilm would be so kind as to make a photocopy of said artwork, on embossed-Lucasfilm paper, and send it off our way. Barring this remote development, we here at CA advise you to hold off "buying the bridge" just yet. Here's some interesting commentary from one indivuidual:

"Being a dealer in computer graphic workstations, I recently had the GREAT privilage of travelling to skywalker ranch, where one of Lucas's representatives met with me to discuss the aquisition of nearly five dozen workstations. I was able to see a computer generated sequence which the representative said would be used in the opening of SW1. The sequence began with the familiar scrolling text, of which only the title was complete (SW: Balance of the Force). The 'camera' then panned down to the surface of a bustling city world, wherean apparent passenger ship was boarding. There were gaps in this footage, presumably where live action footage will later be added. The ship then took off through the avenues of the city, and was soon set upon by five or six small black ships, resembling tie fighters with sweeping fins. The ships pursued the large craft through the city, firing all the time. The sequence, which was probably only a couple of minutes in length, looked great, and I hope the rest of the film is as spectacular."

- Anonymous. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, February 4, 1997

A scooper reports that Lucasfilm has put R&D on temporary hold while a litigation claim is worked out. Seems that a computer artist claims that he originally developed the software used to make the historical figures talk in Forrest Gump. Both the scooper and ourselves are puzzled as to how this could possibly interfere with development on SW1.

According to another individual the ligitation problem centers around the developer of a specific special effects technique (the Forrest Gump placement of actors in already-shot footage, we assume.) The case had first made news last year.

- Submitted by ghentz and anonymous. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, January 28, 1997

Harry Knowles Ain't it Cool web site reports that Ewan McGregor has been officially cast as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although CA receives dozens of emails from scoopers asking (or telling) us if this is true, we haven't heard a peep from our inside sources. When asked directly as to the validity of the rumor, one 'friend' said "If it's real, only two or three people (besides McGregor) know about it. But Harry's been fooled before by a renegade Star Wars fan." Personally, we kinda see McGregor in the part, but have our doubts about the authenticity of the informant who made the claim. However, one very interesting tidbit was seen on a Internet movie group: one fellow said that McGregor is the nephew of the actor who portrayed Wedge Antilles in all three Star Wars films...

- Scoops mailed in by dozens upon dozens of cantina patrons. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, January 28, 1997

And in the "We need to know everything about this film" section, Producer Rick McCallum stated for Star Wars Insider that the working title for the film is simply Star Wars: The Beginning. Filming is scheduled to commence this September.

- Info sent in by 'Vader' and Nick Corporon. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, December 17, 1996

An alleged pre-production concept sketch of the older Millennium Falcon has shown up on the Ain't it Cool site. According to the site's author Harry Knowles, the image was sent to him by yet another mysterious inside informant in ILM and not 'Deep Throat'. Whether or not the image is genuine is unknown at the present time, although Knowles feels that the image's existance itself offers proof as to the claims of 'Deep Throat'. We remain a bit more skeptical at this moment, but hey, we're always ready to look at stuff sent in the mail.

- Scoop sent in anonymously and by 'stangh'; image later proven to be a design from the original Star Wars film. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, December 10, 1996

A follow-up to the December 9th scoop-rumor about Michel Courtemanche: another scooper who works for a Montreal company confirmed that Lucasfilm scouts were in town during Montreal's 'Just For Laughs' festival, and did indeed contact Michel Courtemanche, and a small friendly talk was held. This was in 1995.

During the summer of 1996, something happened. "This past summer Courtemanche stumbled into the Just For Laughs office. His hands were shaking. He had just come from his agent's office where he signed a contract with Lucasfilm to appea in one or more of the next three Star Wars films. Sort of. Courtemanche is a world reknowned mime. A favorite in France, Germany and Canada. He also appeared to raves in New York and other American cities. I just read in your scoop feedback section - a 'Tommy Hilfiger' item. Consider this corroboration if you wish. Courtemanche will be using his talents as a mime, working with ILM (in studio) to create body movement for un-usual CGI creatures. One can assume that by the time the SPFX guys are through with him, he will, unfortunately, be unrecognizable." One thing we'd like to point out: this scoop was originally sent to us on November 11th - a month before we heard additional rumors about Courtemanche.

- Scoop sent in by an anonymous individual. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, December 9, 1996

Two scoops (no, don't say the rest of the jingle!) sent to CA mention that Quebec television shows have reported that comic Michel Courtemanche landed a role as a 'holographic droid' in the new Star Wars sequels. One individual saw the report on the Flash program on local station TVA (in Quebec City) on December the 3rd. The second scooper reported the French actor as "...the french-canadian humorist Michel Courtemanche..." and also mentioned that he is supposed to be playing a hologram. Is there truth to these rumors, and somehow, someway, a leak sprang up?

- Scoops submitted by Quebec Star Wars fans 'cmathieu' and 'pliades'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, December 9, 1996

Another cool and interesting scoop: Samuel L. Jackson appeared on the British TV chat show TFI Friday with Chris Evans, on the 6th December. The scooper sent us a transcript of how they remembered the interview:

(if memory serves)

EVANS: If the Grim reaper turned up in Hollywood, and said, "Look, you can make one more film, then I'm taking you with me," what would it be?

SAM: Well, the film I'm chasing right now, is the Star Wars prequel.

EVANS: Who would you play?

SAM: Ah, man, I don't know, I just want to get in a room with George Lucas and tell him I'm interested. I'd be Lando Calrissian's dad, Darth Vader's dad, Luke Skywalker's slave! Anything! I don't know. I just want to tell George I'll do it if he wants me.

- Scoop sent in by the sharp-eyed 'HAL 2001', with 'robertm' providing confirmation. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Saturday, December 7, 1996

The rumors of Darabont's desertion from Star Wars 1 has generated an interesting response on another Web film page. Harry Knowles Ain't It Cool news reports that the same mysterious individual who informed CA of the Fincher rumor now frequents his web site. Known by Harry as 'Deep Throat', the informant testifies that the scoop reported above this one is erroneous, and Darabont is very much a part of the development team working on the prequels. [As appeared on Ain't It Cool News.]

However, our scooper also read Harry's page, and has sent us some further info that will hopefully clarify matters. A posting from the Usenet group 'rec.sf.starwars.misc', attributed to the Star Wars Insider editor Jon Bradley Snyder, was clipped out and sent to our attention:

"That Cinescape was a piece of garbage. Most of the special edition news was plagiarized from the LA Making Magic CD-ROM. The prequel 'plots' are 13 year old complete fabrications. There are badly scanned SE photos ripped off the internet. And then there is a silly interview with Frank Darabont, a man who will have NOTHING to do with the new prequels according to Rick McCallum. BUYER BEWARE. This Cinescape is nothing but a bunch of 'borrowed' material (to put it nicely) and hearsay. These guys want your $10 bucks and give little in return. - JBS"

Removing the Cinescape opinions, Snyder's comments about Darabont (or the post alleged to have been made by him) do indicate that Darabont is out, and there may be more to it than a simple wave goodbye. The scooper has forwarded CA email addresses for Snyder and one of Frank Darabont's associates, and we've sent off queries to them. Will any light be shined on the matter? Stay tuned. [Follow-up information sent in by 'Burgerflipper'.]

- Various. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, December 3, 1996

Big news: according to Jon Bradley Snyder, Senior Editor of the Star Wars Insider, prequel co-producer Rick McCallum has stated that Frank Darabont is no longer involved in pre-production of any of the Star Wars prequels. This means he will not be serving as co-writer or director for any one of the episodes.

However, CA was told that one possible reason could be the long pre-production and development time leading up to the project. Darabont may not have been tired of waiting for Lucas to finish his involvement with the prequels foundations (meaning that his own accomplished career was effectively on-hold), but that there may have been some creative differences between the two. We've been told that Darabont disliked David Fincher's dark Seven flick...could the Fincher rumor be valid?

- Scoop handed in by Rogue Squadron member 'Burgerflipper' (hey, it's just as silly as naming a pilot 'Porkins', ok?) Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, November 25, 1996

We're told that there has been 63 set designs commissioned for the first film. As well, the three films will not be filmed back-to-back.

- Scoop sent in by 'simonbeal'. Comment on this Scoop (0)


 

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