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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:

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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Thursday, September 12, 1996

An addendum to the earlier report (8/18/96) given by a New Zealand scooper. Three Lucasfilm reps were flying in a helicopter filming scenery of central Otago (wherever that is.) This may beef up the supposition that some establishing shots in the new trilogy will be filmed in New Zealand.

- Scoop provided by 'potiki'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Wednesday, September 11, 1996

A rumor sent to CA claims that Steven Spielberg has asked his old pal George Lucas to consider Spielberg's new studio, DreamWorks SKG, as the studio to distribute the next Star Wars trilogy. And to sweeten the offer, Spielberg reportedly included his services as director for one of the shows in with the deal.

- Scoop provided by Lumiere. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, September 10, 1996

An anonymous scooper reports to us that the production plans to film principal photography in England, the Xinjiang province of China, the coastal regions of Portugal, the Ksar region of Tunisia and southern Kazakhstan. The scooper also writes that "about half" of the scenes to be filmed in the first chapter will be digitally rendered or enhanced.

- Anonymous. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, September 8, 1996

Producer Rick McCallum also commented on some developments with the new show. Robin Garland, the casting director, has been interviewing young actors for the roles of the Queen and Anakin Skywalker - apparently Garland has seen over 1,500 in the last few months. Second and third unit photography should start in August '97, and principal shortly after. Again, McCallum gave a release date of "probably in 1999" for the first chapter.

- Scoop sent in anonymously. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Saturday, September 7, 1996

When George Lucas is ready to call action on the first prequel Lucasfilm plans to utilize a technology called 'OMF' - a digital media link that allows fast data communication between the film set and the effects department; in effect, once a scene has been shot, the effects technicians can work on the scene almost immediately. This has almost always been done in the post-production phase of a movie, and with the annoucement that Lucas will bring Leavesden up to state-of-the-art, this form of film production could be seen as the template for all future features, especially ones that rely heavily upon digital effects. Lucasfilm sponsored the OMF technology back in December of 1993, and it was first utilized in the film Radioland Murders. That film has over 100 effect shots and was completed for a cheap price-tag of $10 million dollars.

- A great scoop from one of our anonymous friends out there. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Friday, September 6, 1996

Production on the new Star Wars feature was announced today with an agreement between Leavesden Studios and JAK Productions Ltd., the British production unit for the three prequels. This marks the first major step with the project since George Lucas' annoucement of the project(s) back in 1994. Leavesden Studios, a former Rolls-Royce factory located outside of London, England, will receive a hefty sum to develop it for all the requirements necessary to develop and produce the next three films, including a direct link to Lucasfilm and ILM in California. The studio complex includes a half-million square feet of covered studio space as well as 100 acres of backlot land, perfect for the needs of Lucas and his desire for secrecy. The deal is worth a reported $1.3 billion US. Pricipal photography is slated to commence in the fall of 1997, and a release date for the first show is slated for (probably in May) 1999. This appears to put to an end the rumors that the next SW production may film in Sydney, Australia.

So, what's it mean? It looks like the scipt for the first chapter has been done, and Lucas is working on a second draft presently (according to people who've heard Lucasfilm rep Steve Sansweet at recent cons), although no official screenwriter has been assigned to the project. Computer and traditional conceptual design work for new ships and scenes have been announced. Storyboards are reportedly being worked on. That means that on Wednesday May 26, 1999, you could be seated in your local gigaplex, reading the scrolling paragraphs of Episode I floating up across a starfield...

- Scoops submitted by 'shape', Christian, 'Biggs', Chris, 'HAL 2001', 'diko', Jeremy Ritter, J. Chan and numerous anonymous sources. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, August 27, 1996

We're gonna stand back and let this contributor tell you about the second bizarre casting rumor floating around the air:

"Very, very, strange things are happening in New York. Exactly one week after The New York Daily News reported that model Nina Brosh had secured a role in the new Star Wars film comes a story in today's paper (Aug. 22nd) that says that another model, Bijou Phillips, has also landed a role in the sequel.

"Phillips, the 16-year-old daughter of Mamas and the Papas' John Phillips and sister to Wilson Phillip's singer China Phillips (and sister-in-law to William Baldwin), has appeared in several major advertising campaigns including the infamous Calvin Klein "kid porn" ads in 1995. The green-haired model has also made headlines in the New York tabloids and fashion press over the last few years as she is a bit of a wild child (she has had a well-documented substance abuse problem) and has been romantically linked to Lemonheads singer Evan Dando, and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. "Not exactly the kind of person you would expect to find in a George Lucas production eh? Are these reports bogus? Is Lucas deliberately leaking false info to throw everyone off? Or could it just be that Lucas is attempting to do something different and unexpected with the new installment? Who knows?"

- Submitted ever faithfully by Diane. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, August 27, 1996

"I saw at the Festival Just For Laughs of Montréal a woman from Lucasfilm whom was searching for some new talents. She even talked with an agent of a very funny comedian very popular here in Montréal. He is a sort of Jim Carrey. I don't know where he could fit in the Star Wars universe but with George Lucas we never know."

- Scoop handed in by a guy that wants to be known as 'Tommy Hilfiger'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, August 27, 1996

Another tid-bit on the casting developments:

"Natalie Portman apparantly gave an interview to a southern newspaper this past Sunday. During said interview, she was asked about the Star Wars rumor and if she had been cast. She said NO, but she had been in contact with Lucas about a role."

- This one turned in by 'inmyho'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, August 20, 1996

This fellow spots an "untidy looking" Kenneth Branagh walking from the library building on the Skywalker Ranch to the Lucasfilm main offices. The scooper also mentions that this Branagh-lookalike quickened his pace when he was spotted. Could the Obi-Wan rumor have the spark of truth to it?

Meanwhile, a different submitter informs us that a British magazine has supposedly confirmed that the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi will be played by a younger Alec Guiness. Using a new CGI technique, an actor wears a special facial mask that allows the addition of a younger Guiness' face while still using the younger actors physique. We haven't confirmed this yet, kiddies.

- First scoop submitted by Matthew Holcomb, utilizing his Jedi mind tricks; second scoop submitted by 'casioboy' and W. Lamond, said to have appeared in SFX magazine. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, August 18, 1996

Someone who's "friend knows the guy" who was the helicopter pilot in New Zealand on Willow writes to tell us of a possible indication that Lucasfilm may want to film again in that area of the world. The pilot received a letter last year from Lucasfilm asking him if he could help assist a Lucasfilm representative for scouting purposes. The letter writer also adds that the filming could be for The Lost World, Dinotopia or even the long-rumored Indy 4 film.

- Scoop mailed in by 'potiki'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Saturday, August 17, 1996

Another tid-bit on the casting developments:

"Natalie Portman apparantly gave an interview to a southern newspaper this past Sunday. During said interview, she was asked about the Star Wars rumor and if she had been cast. She said NO, but she had been in contact with Lucas about a role."

- Scoop handed in by 'inmyho'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, August 13, 1996

If we assembled the scoops like we were on Jeopardy! the question would be phrased like this: Who was the first confirmed actor to be cast in the new Star Wars film? Answer: Nina Brosh.

So says Diane, who read about it in the August 13th edition of The New York Daily News. According to the story, Ms. Brosh has been cast by Lucas in an unnamed part for the first trilogy. If true, Diane just scored bragging rights for breaking the news first...if not, the Dark Side awaits.

- Broken first by a reader named Diane. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, August 8, 1996

Yesterday on August 7th on the QVC channel, Lucasfilm employee Steve Sansweet said that Lucas had finished writing the first episode's screenplay. Production should begin next year for a 1999 release date.

- Scoop info submitted by Jeremy Ritter and 'carv'. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, August 4, 1996

This person theorizes that since the Balance of the Force title has been leaked, it is most likely that the title will be ditched. As well, they add that the Genesis rumor is true (although we have not confirmed it ourselves yet); the scooper tells us the name was ONLY taken for copyright purposes. The scooper also emphasizes that  no one other than Lucas has seen the script. "This is official from Lucasfilm, no rumor. A few 'snippets' have been shown to ILM artists in order to design some ships and costumes, though." This jives with the information we've been hearing. Also, the scoop writer tells us that Lucas wants to make the entire storyboard through computer animation. This was done for the rooftop firefight sequence in Clear and Present Danger, for instance.

- Anonymous. Comment on this Scoop (0)


HypeMeter Rating: Perfect

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