This post was originally published by In A Far Away Galaxy.
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I doubt I’ll ever forget the time when trailer was released for the Phantom Menace some 20 odd years ago.
The Phantom Menace was released in theatres on May 19, 1999, almost 16 years after the premiere of the previous Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi.
Darth Maul has ten horns on his red head. The production sets were built only as high as the tops of the actors’ heads and computer graphics filled in the rest. But it was realized that Liam Neeson was so tall that they needed to build things taller and this cost the production another $150,000 in construction costs.Qui-Gon Jinn is 1.93 meters tall.Phantom Menace is the only film in the series in which the top-credited actor plays a non-recurring character, and in which the top-credited character dies. But Rogue One may wish to raise a hand…Contrary to popular belief, the city where Qui-Gon discovers a young Anakin is not the famous spaceport of Mos Eisley, but a different place called Mos Espa. Qui-Gon’s description of Mos Espa is almost the same, if not the same word for word, as Obi-Wan’s description of Mos Eisley during A New Hope.Jabba the Hutt, who had a brief cameo during Anakin Skywalker’s pod race scene, is listed as being played by “himself”.While Ray Park became famous for playing the Sith Lord Darth Maul, Peter Serafinowicz actually voiced the character. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Maul was voiced by Sam Witwer. Benicio Del Toro was originally cast to play Darth Maul but he abandoned the role after George Lucas decided to trim Darth Maul’s screen time in the film. Del Torri went on to play DJ in The Last Jedi.The sound of the hovering battle tanks used by the battle droids in The Phantom Menace was created by running an electric razor around a metal salad bowl and then digitally lowering the pitch.Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film to be released on DVD and despite ‘fan hate’ it was a massive seller.The blue haired slave girls that can be observed beside Jabba the Hutt before the pod race wears the same slave costume worn by Princess Leia in The Return of the Jedi. The girls are Twi’lek.Qui-Gon Jinn’s communicator is a repurposed Gillette Sensor Excel Razor for Women.Natalie Portman‘s voice was digitally altered to further distinguish between Padmé and Queen Amidala to confuse the audience who may have not picked the deceptive ploy. In addition, at the time of the film’s release, the producers ran a disinformation campaign to suggest that Portman played both Padmé and The Queen at all times. Keira Knightley was a double and eagle eyes can spot her. Knightley went on to become super famous in Bend it Like Beckham and Pirates of the Carribean.The pod race scene was directly inspired by the chariot race in Ben Hur and featured several moments that matched moment for moment the famous final race.
Liam Nesson signed on without seeing the film script.The shipping title of Phantom Menace was “The Doll House”“Phantom Menace” was the name of a villain in the “Flash Gordon” comics. Which shouldn’t surprise too many people as George Lucas has often cited Flash Gordon as one of his inspirations for making the original Star Wars.E.T. creatures made a cameo appearance in The Phantom MenaceRon Howard, who starred in Lucas’s American Graffiti before he became a director in his own right turned down the chance to direct TPM and also famously defended the film when it came out.The word “light-saber” is never uttered in the film and is ultimately the only Star Wars film where the word is not used. “Laser sword” is mentioned once.Darth Maul only speaks only three lines for a total of 31 words which is less than the Terminator did in the original film!Warwick Davis, who famously played Wicket as a child in Return of the Jedi, actually had 3 cameo parts! Davis is going to revisit the world of Willow in a new show directed by Ron Howard – Howard eventually did film a Star Wars movie, Solo.Fun fact, in Chapter 5 of Boba Fett, the Mandalorian tests out his refreshed Naboo Star fighter and his path takes the same route down Beggar’s Canyon that Luke referenced in ANH and that Anakin raced in – the fence that Anakin smashed was still left scattered on the ground since that moment!