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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

1999 film by george lucas

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is a 1999 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas, produced by Lucasfilm, distributed by 20th Century Fox and starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, and Frank Oz. It is the fourth film in the Star Wars film series and first chronological chapter of the "Skywalker Saga". Set 32 years before the original trilogy, during the era of the Galactic Republic, the plot follows Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi as they try to protect Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo in hopes of securing a peaceful end to an interplanetary trade dispute. Joined by Anakin Skywalker—a young slave with unusually strong natural powers of the Force—they simultaneously contend with the mysterious return of the Sith.

Following the release of Return of the Jedi, Lucas was unmotivated to return to the franchise and continue the story beyond Return of the Jedi, though the backstory he created on Anakin sparked interest in him to develop a prequel trilogy. After he determined that computer-generated imagery (CGI) had advanced to the level he wanted for the prequel trilogy's visual effects, Lucas began writing The Phantom Menace in 1993 and production began in 1994. Filming started on June 26, 1997, at locations including Leavesden Film Studios and the Tunisian desert and ended on September 30. The film was Lucas's first directorial effort after a 22-year hiatus following the original Star Wars[b] in 1977.

The Phantom Menace was released in theaters on May 19, 1999, almost 16 years after the premiere of Return of the Jedi. The film's premiere was extensively covered by media and was greatly anticipated because of the large cultural following the Star Wars saga had cultivated. Upon its release, The Phantom Menace received mixed reviews. While the visual effects, action sequences, musical score, and some performances (particularly Neeson and McGregor) were praised, criticism was largely focused on the screenplay, pacing, and characters (particularly Jar Jar Binks). Despite the reception, The Phantom Menace was a box office success and broke numerous box office records during its debut. It grossed more than $924.3 million worldwide during its initial theatrical run, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1999, the second-highest-grossing film worldwide and in North America (behind Titanic), and the highest-grossing Star Wars film at the time. A 3D reissue, which earned an additional $102.7 million and brought the film's overall worldwide takings to over $1 billion, was released in February 2012. Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) followed The Phantom Menace, rounding out the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

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