Long past the final stages of preparation, the new Star Wars “prequel” Episode I The Phantom Menace will take audiences on a journey to the beginnings of the Star Wars saga.
The original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) told the story of Luke Skywalker, a young farmboy who became a hero in the struggle to overthrow an evil empire and had to confront one of the Empire’s staunchest henchmen, Darth Vader, who held the terrible secret of his father’s fate.
The new StarWars trilogy will go back in time a full generation to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker, the innocent boy who will one day become the dreaded Darth Vader.
THE STORY: In Star Wars – Episode I, The Phantom Menace (check out the Widescreen Edition), Luke Skywalker’s father is just a hopeful 9-year-old boy named Anakin, who knows nothing of his eventual fate as a Dark Lord in years to come. In this earlier time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a determined young Jedi Knight. Qui-Gon Jinn is Obi-Wan’s venerable Jedi master, trying to teach the Jedi way to his apprentice as their worlds begins to unravel in political turmoil.
Episode I will take audiences through extraordinary realms and adventures, from the desert planet of Tatooine to the galactic capital world of Coruscant (with its Jedi Temple), the green world of Naboo, and beyond. Familiar Star Wars characters Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Jabba the Hutt are along for the ride. This first chapter in the StarWars saga follows young Anakin Skywalker’s journey as he pursues his dreams and confronts his in the midst of a galaxy in crisis.
PRODUCTION:StarWars: Episode I is the fourth movie released in the Star Wars saga, but it is the very first chapter of the overall story of Episodes IV, V & VI and are as familiar as Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.
George Lucas returns as both writer and director for the first time since the original Star Wars movie over 20 years ago. Lucas and producer Rick McCallum taken their production team to England, Italy and Tunisia in order to bring the Episode I script to life. The shooting schedule included just 65 days of principal photography.
The Episode I Art Department, headed by Concept Designer Doug Chiang, has produced a new world of exotic designs which become film realities by a variety of technical means: models, mechanical creatures, and Development completely digital effects. John Williams will return to compose the score of Episode I, and the sound designs will once more be created by Star Wars veteran Ben Burtt.
Episode I was shot at Leavesden Studios in England in the summer of 1997 and is currently finishing post-production at Skywalker Ranch and Industrial Light & Magic in Marin County, California. Episode I The Phantom Menace is scheduled to be released in the United States in late Spring and there has been no information on when it will be released here in the CZ, although one thing that’s certain is that it’s been dubbed (duh’d) into Czech, so unless they run the English version, find your local Trekkie and catch a bus to old jolly England.
THE CAST: Episode I’s cast features a mix of new and familiar faces. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor play Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, noble Jedi Knights at the height of their powers. Natalie Portman plays a young queen, and Jake Lloyd brings to life an even younger Anakin Skywalker, whose mother Shmi is played by Pernilla August.
Ian McDiarmid returns to his role as the mysterious Senator Palpatine, who will one day become the dreaded Emperor Palpatine. On the other side of the Force, Samuel L. Jackson puts on the robes of Mace Windu, an influential Jedi Master. Frank Oz also returns to perform once again as the venerable Jedi sage Yoda.
MORE INFORMATION: www.starwars.com offers plenty of information about the new movie. The Episode I home page can take you to a photo gallery, information about cast, crew, the production, a special documentary on the making of Episode I, interactive features, and much more. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring our presentation of material on Episode I and the entire Star Wars saga.