In celebration of its 25th anniversary, “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace” will be returning to theaters in May 2024, to give fans a chance to enjoy the film on the big screen once again.
“Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” first debuted on May 19, 1999, and the film will return to theaters on May 3, 2024.
The news was revealed in Empire Magazine, which has produced a 25th Anniversary tribute issue to the prequels.
The issue includes an interview and new photo shoot with Hayden Christensen, who appeared as Anakin Skywalker in Episodes 2 and 3, where he reflects on his time in the role.
“I think that those movies have held up well over time,” Christensen says. “It feels like vindication for the work that we did. Everyone that worked on those movies thought that we were part of something special. We all wanted to do our very best work, and we cared a lot about it. And so to see the response from the fans now, it’s very cool.”
At the time though, criticism of the prequels was rampant, though the “The Phantom Menace” was actually a successful film. With a budget of $115 million, it brought in over $1 billion at the box office.
Also inside the magazine, they speak to actors Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Brian Blessed, and more about starring in the films.
They also revisit iconic sequences with producer Rick McCallum, stunt co-ordinator Nick Gillard, and concept designer Iain McCaig, breaking down the Podrace, the Geonosis arena battle, and the Mustafar duel.
Plus they get a closer look at rarely-seen concept art from across the trilogy, and speak to designer Ellen Lee Moon on the story behind her legendary Phantom Menace poster, and much, much more.
The issue, which goes on sale February 17th, comes with two covers: one featuring Christensen as Anakin surrounded by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn; and the other featuring Christensen as Anakin surrounded by representatives of the Empire and Sith Lords – Count Dooku, Darth Maul, General Grevious, Emperor Palpatine, and Boba Fett.
The re-release of the film also comes with a new poster by Matt Ferguson, who has created other posters for Disney and Lucasfilm:
The prequels weren’t greenlit for over a decade after the release of the first trilogy’s “Return of the Jedi.” It was said creator George Lucas lost interest in continuing “Star Wars” until he wrote a back story for Anakin Skywalker and his transformation to Darth Vader.
He also felt that the advancement of CGI was where he would be able to create the visual effects that he wanted for the films.
Lucas began writing “The Phantom Menace” in 1993, and production began in 1994. Filming started on June 26, 1997, and the film debuted in 1999.
Set 32 years before the original trilogy (and 13 years before the formation of the Galactic Empire), during the era of the Galactic Republic, the plot follows Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as they try to protect Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) of Naboo in hopes of securing a peaceful end to an interplanetary trade dispute.
Along the way, the two Jedi encounter a young child named Anakin Skywalker (played by Daniel Logan), with unusually strong natural powers of the Force, and Qui-Gon insists on taking Anakin under their wing.
Here is the original trailer:
Will you head out to theaters to see the return of “The Phantom Menace”? Let us know in the comments.