The Phantom Menace is turning 20 years old. Here's 20 bits of trivia!

May 2, 2019
phantom menace 20 years anniversary

I doubt I'll ever forget the time when trailer was released for the Phantom Menace some 20 odd years ago.

I was a university student in Palmerston North hanging out at my mate's flat. He started downloading it and man that damn thing took hours on dial up!


And 'Holy Smoke, Batman', that trailer was great and that duel saber of Darth Maul became a legendary Star Wars moment before the film had even been released!

The Phantom Menace was released in theaters on May 19, 1999, almost 16 years after the premiere of the previous Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi.

When the film came out, I saw it three times in two days. 

So to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the first Star Wars prequel here's 20 pieces of trivia!

  1. Darth Maul has ten horns on his red head
  2. 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.
  3. Qui-Gon Jinn is 1.93 meters tall.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Jabba the Hutt who had a brief cameo during the pod race scene is listed as being played by "himself"
  7. While Ray Park is famous as playing the Sith Lord, Peter Serafinowicz actually voiced the character. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film to be released on DVD and despite 'fan hate' it was a massive seller.
  10. The blue haired slave girl 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.
  11. Qui-Gon Jinn's communicator is a repurposed Gillette Sensor Excel Razor for Women.
  12. 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.
  13. The pod race scene was directly inspired by the chariot race in Ben Hur and featured several moments that matched moment for moment.

    qui gon jinn liam neeson
  14. Liam Nesson signed on without seeing the film script.
  15. The shipping title of Phantom Menace was "The Doll House"
  16. "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.
  17. E.T. creatures made a cameo appearance in The Phantom Menace
  18. Ron 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Darth Maul only speaks only three lines for a total of 31 words which is less than the Terminator did in the original film!
  21. Warwick Davis, who famously played Wicket as a child in Return of the Jedi, actually had 3 cameo parts!

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