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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 »

TopWho'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
Frank Oz Yoda
Ian McDiarmid Senator Palpatine
Ahmed Best Jar-Jar Binks
Anthony Daniels C-3PO
Kenny Baker R2-D2
Ray Park Darth Maul
Peter Serafinowicz Darth Maul (voice)
Hugh Quarshie Captain Panaka
Terence Stamp Supreme Chancellor Valorum
Brian Blessed Boss Nass
Andrew Secombe Watto
Samuel L. Jackson Mace Windu
Silas Carson Ki-Adi-Mundi
Silas Carson Nute Gunray
Silas Carson Lott Dodd
Silas Carson Radiant VII Pilot
Ralph Brown Ric Olié
Oliver Ford Davies Sio Bibble

TopWho's Making It

George Lucas Director
George Lucas Screenwriter
Rick McCallum Producer
George Lucas Executive Producer
David Tattersall Director of Photography
Ben Burtt Editor
Paul Martin Smith Editor
Gavin Bocquet Production Designer
Trisha Biggar Costume Designer

TopPremise

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 quell the conflict at the source, two Jedi Knights seek refuge on the distant desert planet of Tatooine. There they find an eight-year-old named Anakin Skywalker who is a prodigy with machines and the mysterious power known as The Force. Joined by an Gungan outcast named Jar Jar, the four adventurers soon become the galaxy's sole hope of stopping the advances of the Federation menace and rescuing a youthful Queen from a dark fate. Little do they know that their true enemy remains concealed in the shadows for now; the Sith Lords have returned seeking revenge, with their ultimate goal being to topple the Republic and rule the galaxy...

TopWhat 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 wanted to know more about this fantastic universe. Lucas reported to the media that the film everyone knew as Star Wars was the first part of a trilogy of films, which in turn were the middle part of a larger tapestry, possibly called The Journal of the Whills [yes, there has been much speculation about what this Journal may be, but Lucas loves to drop a funky-sounding name that suggests a history and background, but then keep quiet. It's one of the reasons why Star Wars was such a success]. The first trilogy took place before the events of Chapter Four, with the third trilogy arc taking place after the events of Chapter Six. And nothing else was much said about what else were in these two mysterious trilogies, save one item: the two droids (Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio) were in all nine shows. The last chapter of the tapestry, the ninth film, was planned to be released in the year 1999. A side note: there was to be twelve films in the overall tapestry, or so reported the press originally, but whether this was a mistake or Lucas later changed his mind is not known.

After the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983, Lucas said that the next trilogy would focus upon the first three chapters, but he never alluded as to when they would commence work on them. Marvel Comics continued a comic book series chronicling the events after the third film until fan interest waned and the series was canceled in 1987. A fan script (written by John L. Flynn, titled "Fall of the Republic" generated much confusion among the convention circuit. Some thought it was the script for the new film, but yet nothing had been officially mentioned in the media. In any matter, it had no inside information as to the plot, possible characters or storyline for the new movie, and should be considered as 'fan fiction'.

However, one of the stronger rumors that has survived the past 8 or so years centers upon ideas that might appear in the new films. Of these, the IG assassin droids (one was briefly seen in the bounty hunter scene in The Empire Strikes Back), more than one but less than a dozen, are to be shown. As well, soldiers outfitted in the Mandalore battle armor Boba Fett wears are supposed to play a role. However, it should be noted that there is no confirmation of these rumors - but it would be cool. Lord Mandalore, creator of the Mandalore battle armor, was recently made part of genuine Star Wars canon recently in the Dark Horse Comics series "The Sith War" - meaning, there may be truth to some of these rumors.

Lucas finally announced the development of the new film in late 1993 to Leonard Maltin on Entertainment Tonight. He would make all three films back-to-back, with the new generation of state-of-the-art special effects (i.e. computer generated). Of the characters to appear, Lucas has said that Anakin Skywalker, Ben Kenobi and Anakin's wife (name to be known at a later date) will be featured. It's set anywhere from forty to twenty years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, and will show the rise to power of the Emperor, Anakin's fall into the Dark Side, and lots of character interplay with dark emotions. Lucas has said the new trilogy will focus more on a "fall from grace" and galactic upheaval and loss of freedom for the galaxy - darker story material than the preceding trilogy.

As fan and media attention builds towards the release of the new trilogy, Lucasfilm continues to try and keep the development of the new trilogy top secret - in some cases, it's comparable to the efforts of the two superpowers trying to learn military secrets from each other during the Cold War. We here feel strongly that Lucas and his production company have every right to keep the material hush-hush, in the interests to keep it fresh and new when it's released in 1998, but everyone loves gossip. Here's what we have learned from our sources:

  • The development code-name for Episode One may be "Red Tails". Lucas chose a similar method to keep nosy people away from the pre-production and development of Return of the Jedi in 1982 by giving it the code-name "Blue Harvest". Crew working on the principle photography even wore jackets, shirts, badges with the fake film's title and it's catchy tag-line "A Experience In Terror". When curious onlookers asked as to what they were working on, the crew were instructed to talk about this low-budget horror film as a cover story. Interested fans have gotten glimpses of Lucasfilm's year-end sheets, and noted the allocation of research funds given to this project since the late 80's. Official work from Lucasfilm is that it is a story about black fighter pilots in World War II - but who knows with Lucas?

     

  • At the Shadows of the Empire seminar in 1994, Star Wars licensees saw completed footage of the Jabba/Han Solo scene. This confirms that work has begun on the additional scenes of the original Star Wars at least a year ago.

     

  • Although not proven, we continue to hear stories from computer graphics artists talking about fellow employees at their companies receiving job offers from Lucasfilm. The contracts involve working on "Star Wars One". In some situations, these people left their positions to go to ILM over two years ago.

     

  • The September 1995 Star Wars Insider reports that the studio is considering casting of the new trilogy. No one has been confirmed as-of-yet.

     

  • The rumor of Kenneth Brannagh being considered for the role of a middle-aged Ben Kenobi is false. Both Brannagh and Lucas denied that they had talked to each other, and when asked about the popular rumor, both insisted they heard it for the first time at said interviews.

     

  • Director/Screenwriter Frank Darabont confirmed a report in early 1995 that he has been approached by George Lucas to write one of the upcoming screenplays for a Chapter. Darabont is the director of the critically acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption and is currently developing Stephen King's The Mist for a motion picture. However, Lucasfilm has not offically announced Darabont - or any other writer for that matter save Lucas himself - involved with the new trilogy.

What does it mean? Lucasfilm is undoubtedly working on ship designs to see how their CGI can be bettered with conventional film footage. There'll be years of 'tweaks' to get the look right, and the rumors seem to indicate that it is happening right now.

TopTagline

Every Saga Has a Beginning.

TopFinancial Stats

Estimated Production Budget$125,000,000
Final Box Office$431,088,301


 

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