Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Last Updated on: June 23rd, 2024

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

“Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” is the first film in the prequel trilogy of the iconic “Star Wars” franchise, directed by George Lucas. It was released in 1999 and marked the return of “Star Wars” to the big screen after a 16-year hiatus since the original trilogy concluded in 1983. The film is set before the events of the original trilogy and explores the rise of the Galactic Empire and the fall of the Jedi Order.

The plot of “The Phantom Menace” centers around the young Anakin Skywalker, a gifted podracer from the desert planet Tatooine, who is discovered by Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon believes that Anakin may be the Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force. Meanwhile, the galaxy faces turmoil as the greedy Trade Federation blockades and invades the peaceful planet Naboo. The Jedi are sent to negotiate, and in the process, they encounter a mysterious Sith Lord, Darth Maul, who is planning to manipulate events for his own sinister purposes.

The film introduces several iconic characters, including Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo, Senator Palpatine, who will later become the Emperor, and Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan from Naboo. It also showcases the epic podracing sequence on Tatooine and the climactic lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul.

“The Phantom Menace” was a significant cinematic event upon its release, with high anticipation and massive box office success. However, it received mixed critical reviews, with some praising its visual effects, action sequences, and world-building, while others criticized its dialogue and character portrayals. Despite the mixed reception, it remains an essential part of the “Star Wars” saga, laying the foundation for the prequel trilogy and providing crucial backstory for the original trilogy’s characters and events.

The film’s groundbreaking special effects and use of CGI revolutionized the film industry and set new standards for visual storytelling. It also led to the subsequent release of “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” completing the prequel trilogy.

“Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” continues to be celebrated by “Star Wars” fans for its contribution to the epic saga, introducing new generations to the beloved franchise while also serving as a nostalgic piece of cinema for longtime fans.

Additional Details

  • Movie Studio:
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Type of Movie: Live Action
  • Box Office: $1.027 billion
  • Awards: Nominated Academy Award; Nominated Grammy Award
  • IMDB Link


  • Liam Neeson: Qui-Gon Jinn
  • Ewan McGregor: Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Natalie Portman: Queen Padmé Amidala
  • Jake Lloyd: Anakin Skywalker
  • Ian McDiarmid: Senator Palpatine / Darth Sidious
  • Anthony Daniels voices C-3PO
  • Kenny Baker: R2-D2
  • Pernilla August: Shmi Skywalker
  • Frank Oz: Yoda
  • Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks
  • Oliver Ford Davies: Sio Bibble
  • Hugh Quarshie: Captain Panaka
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Mace Windu
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul
  • Terence Stamp: Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Keira Knightley: Sabé
  • Silas Carson: Nute Gunray


  • Director: George Lucas
  • Producer: Rick McCallum
  • Screenplay: George Lucas
  • Music: John Williams
  • Cinematography: David Tattersall

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About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other sites include DMR and