Star Wars Fanpedia
Star Wars Episode I:
The Phantom Menace

George Lucas


Rick McCallum


George Lucas

  • Liam Neeson
  • Ewan McGregor
  • Natalie Portman
  • Jake Lloyd
  • Ian McDiarmid
  • Frank Oz
  • Anthony Daniels
  • Kenny Baker
  • Ray Park
  • Ahmed Best
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Various others
Music by

John Williams


20th Century Fox

  • May 19, 1999
  • February 10, 2012 (3D re-release)

136 min


$115 million




32 years before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


Rise of the Empire era

Preceded by

CHallenge of the Sith

Followed by

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

"Every saga has a beginning."

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is, chronologically, the first chapter of the Star Wars film saga, and the fourth released into the theaters. The film was the first of the prequel trilogy and is followed by Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and it was written and directed by Star Wars creator George Lucas. It was the first Star Wars film that Lucas had directed since Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

The film is set 32 years before the original Star Wars and centers around a war on the backwater planet of Naboo, which was invaded by the Trade Federation after a dispute in the Galactic Republic Senate. The plot also deals with the discovery of the Chosen One and future Darth Vader, nine year old Anakin Skywalker, on the desert planet of Tatooine. In the backdrop, the Dark Lords of the Sith return after having been believed extinct for a thousand years.

The Phantom Menace was originally released in 1999. Though it was a major box office success, with an adjusted gross of over $1 billion between its initial release, 2001 VHS and DVD releases and 2012 re-release, it received mix critical reaction. The film currently has a score of 57%, "rotten," on Rotten Tomatoes.[1] Reaction amongst Star Wars fans has also been divided; The Phantom Menace appealed to a new generation of Star Wars fans, but older fans who grew up with the original trilogy were often less receptive to the film.


The Trade Federation creates turmoil in the Galactic Republic by blockading the planet Naboo in preparation for a full-scale invasion. The Republic's leader, Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, dispatches Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord and the Trade Federation's secret benefactor, orders the Viceroy to kill the Jedi and begin their invasion with an army of battle droids. The Jedi escape and flee to Naboo. During the invasion, Qui-Gon rescues a Gungan outcast, Jar Jar Binks. Indebted to Qui-Gon, Jar Jar leads the Jedi to Otoh Gunga, the Gungans' underwater city. The Jedi fail to persuade the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, to help the planet's surface dwellers, but manage to obtain Jar Jar's guidance and underwater transport to Theed, the capital city of Naboo. After rescuing Queen Padmé Amidala, the group make their escape from Naboo aboard her Royal Starship, intending to reach the Republic capital planet of Coruscant.

Passing through the Federation blockade, the ship is damaged in the crossfire, and its hyperdrive malfunctions. The ship lands for repairs on the outlying desert planet of Tatooine, situated beyond the Republic's jurisdiction. Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, astromech droid R2-D2, and Padmé—disguised as one of her handmaidens—visit the settlement of Mos Espa to purchase a new part for their hyperdrive. They encounter a junk dealer, Watto, and his nine-year-old slave, Anakin Skywalker, a gifted pilot and engineer who has built a protocol droid, C-3PO.

Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within Anakin, and is convinced that he is the prophesied "Chosen One," destined to restore balance to the Force. With Watto refusing to accept payment in Republic currency, Qui-Gon wagers both the required hyperdrive part and Anakin's freedom in a podrace. Anakin wins the race and joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, leaving behind his mother, Shmi. En route to their starship, Qui-Gon encounters Darth Maul, Sidious' apprentice, who was sent to capture Amidala. After a brief lightsaber duel, Qui-Gon escapes aboard the starship with the others.

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan escort Padmé to Coruscant so that she can plead her people's case to Valorum and the Galactic Senate. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council for permission to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council refuses, concerned that Anakin is vulnerable to the dark side of the Force. Undaunted, Qui-Gon vows to take up Anakin as his new apprentice. Meanwhile, Naboo's Senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to call for a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable leader and to resolve the crisis. Though she is successful in pushing for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate, and decides to return to Naboo. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are ordered by the Jedi Council to accompany the queen and investigate the return of the Sith, whom they had thought to be extinct for over a millennium.

On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself as the queen before the Gungans to gain their trust, and persuades them to help against the Trade Federation. Jar Jar is promoted to general and joins his tribe in a battle against the droid army, while Padmé leads the search for Gunray in Theed. Qui-Gon tells Anakin to hide inside a starfighter in the palace hangar, but he accidentally triggers its autopilot, and flies into space, joining the Naboo pilots in their battle against the Federation droid control ship. With R2's help, Anakin pilots the fighter into the ship and causes its destruction from within, deactivating the droid army. Meanwhile, Maul, who has been dispatched by Sidious to assist Gunray, engages Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in a lightsaber duel. He mortally wounds Qui-Gon, but is then cut in half by Obi-Wan, and his remains fall down a shaft. Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin before dying in his arms.

Following the battle, Gunray is arrested by the Republic, and Palpatine is elected Chancellor. Master Yoda promotes Obi-Wan to the rank of Jedi Knight, and reluctantly accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan's apprentice. A funeral is held for Qui-Gon, attended by the other Jedi, who contemplate that there is still one Sith remaining since there are always two of them. During a celebratory parade on Naboo, Padmé presents a gift of thanks to the Gungans to establish peace.

Major Characters

"Wesa make you... Bombad General!"
―Boss Nass, to Jar Jar Binks[src]

Padmé Amidala

"I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee!"
―Padmé Amidala, to the Galactic Senate[src]

Padmé Amdidala is the young, elected Queen of Naboo. As the film opens, her planet is invaded by the Trade Federation in retaliation for the Galactic Senate's taxation of trade routes. As the planet is invaded, Padmé is initially arrested and led towards an internment camp. Along the way, she and her closest followers are rescued by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi. Together, they all escape the planet, where they land on Tatooine in order to repair the damage the ship took during their escape. Padmé objects to Qui-Gon's plan to enter the young slave boy they met, Anakin Skywalker, into a dangerous pod race in order to acquire the parts they need, but Anakin enters and wins the race, allowing them to leave Tatooine.

The group travels to Coruscant, where Padmé pleads with the Galactic Senate to help end the invasion. The slow moving bureaucracy leads her to call for a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, and Naboo's Senator, Palpatine, is nominated to replace him. Fed up with the inaction on Coruscant, Padmé decides to return to Naboo, where she and the Jedi devise a plan to re-take the planet. In order to launch a battle against the Federation army, Padmé makes peace with the Gungans, an aquatic race that also lives on Naboo, who agree to help. After helping lead the assault on the Trade Federation leadership in the royal palace, Padmé retakes the throne and the occupation ends. In the final scene, she presents a token of peace to Boss Nass of the Gungans.


Jar Jar Binks


Jar Jar Binks is a Gungan exile who was cast out of his home city, deep in Naboo's ocean, for his clumsiness. During the Trade Federation's invasion, he is caught within a line of Federation assault vehicles. When he sees Qui-Gon Jinn running towards him, Jar Jar grabs onto him for protection, nearly killing them both. Though Qui-Gon protests, Jar Jar swears a life debt to him and agrees to take him and Obi-Wan Kenobi to the Gungan city for help. Once there, the Gungans decide to help the Jedi, and the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, agrees to let Jar Jar go with them despite violating his banishment. After accompanying the Jedi when they rescue the queen, Jar Jar goes with them to Tatooine and, later, to Coruscant.

Once Queen Amidala decides to return to Naboo and fight the Federation, Jar Jar helps Amidala bring peace between the Gungans and the Naboo, who have been at odds for many years. The Gungans agree to lead the frontal assault against the Federation army, and Nass makes Jar Jar a Gungan General as a reward for bringing peace to the Gungans and the Naboo. Jar Jar helps lead the Gungan army at the start of the battle against the Federation, but has difficulty functioning in his new role as a result of his clumsiness. Nonetheless, the Federation is defeated and Naboo is freed.


"I beg your pardon, but what do you mean, "naked?""
―C-3PO, before realizing his parts are showing[src]

C-3PO is a protocol droid built by Anakin Skywalker. Although his original programming is for interaction between humans and cyborgs, Anakin assembled him from parts he found in order to help his mother around their house on Tatooine. He is not yet complete by the time Anakin activates him to show him off Padmé, leaving his parts showing. During the encounter, C-3PO is introduced to the astromech droid R2-D2, who teases C-3PO for being "naked."

Once Anakin agrees to take part in the podrace, C-3PO helps Anakin and Qui-Gon prepare Anakin's podracer for the big event. He is there while Anakin races and watches his master win, after which point Anakin leaves Tatooine to become a Jedi. Before leaving, though, Anakin promises that his mother won't sell him, prompting a grave fear in C-3PO that he would indeed be sold.

Qui-Gon Jinn

"Be mindful of the Living Force, young Padawan."
―Qui-Gon Jinn, to Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]

Qui-Gon Jinn is a maverick yet wise Jedi Master who frequently defies the will of the Jedi Council, the governing body of the Jedi Order. At the start of the film, he and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, are selected to be the Jedi ambassadors to the Trade Federation in the hopes of resolving the conflict peacefully. They are attacked by the Federation, however, forcing them to flee to Naboo, where they rescue Queen Amidala and take refuge on Tatooine to repair their ship. While on Tatooine, Qui-Gon meets a young slave named Anakin Skywalker and senses that the Force is strong with him. In order to help get the parts they need, Anakin enters a podrace where the stakes are the needed parts—and Qui-Gon also arranges for Anakin to be freed as a slave.

When Anakin wins, they retrieve the parts. While leaving, Qui-Gon is attacked by a dark warrior called Darth Maul, but Qui-Gon is able to escape. Once on Coruscant, Qui-Gon tells the Council that he believes the assailant was a Sith Lord and that Anakin is the Chosen One, foretold in an ancient Jedi prophecy, who will bring balance to the Force. The Council tests Anakin and rejects him for training due to his age, but Qui-Gon says he will train him anyway. The Council tables the matter and assigns Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to Naboo, where they help Queen Amidala plan the invasion. During the final battle, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fight Darth Maul in a lightsaber duel. Qui-Gon is killed, but he lives along enough to ask Obi-Wan to promise he will train Anakin. Qui Gon carries a green lightsaber.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

"The Council has granted me permission to train you. You will be a Jedi, I promise."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Anakin Skywalker[src]

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Jedi Padawan, the apprentice of Qui-Gon Jinn. He travels with his master as an ambassador to the Trade Federation, and he senses that something more dangerous is looming behind the Naboo conflict. After being attacked by the Trade Federation, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon escape to Naboo and rescue Queen Amidala. Together, they all flee the planetary occupation and take refuge on Tatooine. When Obi-Wan learns of Qui-Gon's interest in Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan is skeptical and believes it's a waste of time.

Once the group arrives on Coruscant and Qui-Gon tells the Council about Anakin, Obi-Wan voices his skepticism to Qui-Gon and believes that Qui-Gon is making a mistake. They decide to put the disagreement behind them once they arrive on Naboo, where they take on Darth Maul in the royal palace. Qui-Gon is killed, and an enraged Obi-Wan lashes out at and kills Maul in one-on-one combat. Before Qui-Gon dies, Obi-Wan promises he will train Anakin. In the battle's aftermath, the Council makes Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight and he officially takes Anakin as his apprentice. Obi-Wan Kenobi carries a light blue lightsaber.

Darth MaulDarthMaul.jpg

"At least we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At least we will have revenge."
―Darth Maul, to Darth Sidious[src]

Darth Maul is a Sith Lord and the apprentice of Darth Sidious, secretly Naboo Senator Palpatine. Once Queen Amidala and the Jedi escape Tatooine, Sidious sends Maul to track them, and he discovers that they have escaped to Tatooine. He informs Sidious of his findings and relishes the opportunity to exact revenge against the Jedi, after the Jedi Order nearly destroyed the Sith a thousand years earlier. Maul follows the queen and the Jedi to Tatooine, where he engages Qui-Gon Jinn in lightsaber combat before the Jedi escape.

Having failed to capture the queen on Tatooine, Maul returns to Naboo in order to await Amidala's return. Once she and the Jedi arrive, Maul engages Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi in lightsaber combat in the royal palace. He manages to separate them, using the opportunity to mortally wound Qui-Gon. He fights an enraged Obi-Wan next, but the Padawan is able to cut Maul in half and send him tumbling down a massive reactor shaft.

Although Maul was originally believed to be dead following his confrontation with Obi-Wan, he returns at the end of the fourth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to seek vengeance against Obi-Wan for defeating him. He carries a red double-bladed saber staff.

Palpatine/Darth Sidious

"I feel confident that our situation will create a strong sympathy vote for us. I will be Chancellor."
―Palpatine, to Queen Amidala[src]

Palpatine is the Senator of Naboo and a close friend and confidant of Queen Amidala. Secretly, however, he is also Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith, and manipulates galactic events according to his design in order to seize power for himself. While masquerading as a benevolent Senator, Palpatine encourages Queen Amidala to call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership. He claims that this is to ensure a stronger Republic, but in reality he wants to become the Supreme Chancellor himself—a position he is nominated for after the vote of no confidence.

Once Queen Amidala returns to Naboo, Palpatine—as Sidious—orders his Trade Federation puppets to destroy the Gungan Army approaching the Federation army, as well as to kill the Jedi and capture Queen Amidala. The Federation forces and he is left without an apprentice when Darth Maul is killed, but Palpatine's ultimate goal was fulfilled: to generate enough sympathy in the Galactic Senate to successfully elect him Chancellor. After his election, Palpatine returns to Naboo to praise Queen Amidala for her leadership, and he takes a particular interest in the young Anakin Skywalker for helping to defeat the Federation army.


"That little droid did it!"
―Ric Olié, after R2-D2 saves the queen's ship by fixing its shields[src]

R2-D2 is an astromech droid in service to the Naboo, where he is assigned as a repair droid to Queen Amidala's personal cruiser. As Queen Amidala and the Jedi attempt to escape the Federation blockade around Naboo, the shield generator is damaged and the droids are activated into service. All of the droids are destroyed except for R2-D2, who repairs the shield generator and allows the ship to escape. Once on Tatooine, R2-D2 meets C-3PO and assists Qui-Gon Jinn in seeking new parts for the damaged ship.

After following the Naboo and the Jedi to Coruscant, Queen Amidala decides to return home and fight the Federation. During the final battle, Anakin Skywalker tries to hide in a starfighter and accidentally activates its auto-pilot, sucking R2 into the droid cockpit. The ship automatically flies to the battle in space, where R2 helps Anakin destroy the Federation command ship.

Anakin Skywalker

"I had a dream I was a Jedi. I came back here and freed all the slaves."
―Anakin Skywalker, to Qui-Gon Jinn[src]

Anakin Skywalker is a young slave from Tatooine who was conceived by the Force, through a virgin mother, to be the Chosen One foretold by Jedi prophecy. When Qui-Gon Jinn and Queen Amidala take refuge on Tatooine in order to repair their ship, they go to a shop owned by Watto, who owns Anakin and his mother, Shmi. During a stand storm, during which Anakin offers Qui-Gon and Padmé a safe place to stay, Anakin learns that Qui-Gon is a Jedi and that their true mission is to reach Coruscant. Anakin agrees to enter a podrace in which Qui-Gon bets Watto that Anakin will win in exchange for the ship parts that they need. As they prepare for the race, Qui-Gon tests Anakin's blood for midi-chlorians, microscopic organisms that can determine whether someone is strong enough in the Force to be a Jedi, and discovers that Anakin has the higehst midi-chlorian count in history.

The next day, Anakin wins the race, and Qui-Gon reveals that he is freed as a slave and can go with them to Coruscant to become a Jedi. Once there, the Jedi Council tests him to determine if he is the Chosen One and eligible for training. Though they concede that he may be the Chosen One, they do not accept him for training, deeming him too old to begin the life of a Jedi. Nonetheless, Qui-Gon agrees to train him anyway, and Anakin accompanies them back to Naboo where they will fight a final battle against the Trade Federation. During the final battle, Anakin accidentally engages a starfighter's auto-pilot and is forced to join the battle in space, where he destroys the Federation command ship. His success leads to a commendation from Chancellor Palpatine, and, following the death of Qui-Gon, the Council agrees to let Anakin be trained as a Jedi by Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Mace Windu

"Go with the Queen to Naboo and discover the identity of this dark warrior. That is the clue we need to unravel the mystery of the Sith."
―Mace Windu, to Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]

Mace Windu is a Jedi Master and a member of the Jedi Council. He is present in the meeting when Qui-Gon Jinn explains his theories that Darth Maul is a Sith Lord and that Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One, both of which Mace greets with skepticism. He helps test Anakin to see if he should be trained as a Jedi, and the Council determines that Anakin is too old for training. He later orders Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to return to Naboo, protect the queen, and find Darth Maul so they can discover his identity.

After Qui-Gon's death and the end of the Naboo invasion, Mace travels to Naboo with other Council members and attends Qui-Gon's funeral. There, he tells Yoda that the truth has become clear: the Sith have returned. Though one of the two Sith was destroyed, they do not yet know if it was the master or the apprentice.


"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate... leads to suffering."
―Yoda, to Anakin Skywalker[src]

Yoda is the Grand Master of the Jedi Order. He is present at the Jedi Council meeting where Qui-Gon Jinn explains his theories that the Sith have returned and that Anakin is the Chosen One who will bring balance to the Force. Yoda is skeptical, but keeps an open mind. He helps test Anakin to see if the boy should be trained as a Jedi, and the two discuss how Anakin is afraid of never seeing his mother again, to which Yoda warns that fear can lead to the dark side. Ultimately, the Council chooses not to admit Anakin into the Jedi. Yoda believes that while Anakin may be the Chosen One, Yoda fears that Anakin's clouded future could be dangerous.

After Qui-Gon's death and the end of the Naboo invasion, Yoda and other Jedi Council members travel to Naboo. He meets with Obi-Wan and tells him that the Council has made Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight. Yoda does not, however, believe that Obi-Wan should be able to take Anakin as an apprentice, despite what Obi-Wan promised Qui-Gon. However, the Council as a whole determined that Obi-Wan should train Anakin as a Jedi. Later, at Qui-Gon's funeral, Yoda and Mace Windu admit that the Sith have returned. Knowing that there's always two Sith at a time, Yoda wonders whether Obi-Wan killed the master or the apprentice.




Teaser Trailer

Theatrical Trailer

3D Re-Release Trailer

TV spots

TV Spot: "The Saga Begins"

TV Spot: "One Destiny"

TV Spot: "One Dream"

TV Spot: "One Love"

TV Spot: "One Truth"

TV Spot: "One Will"

TV Spot: "All Over Again"

TV Spot: 2012 3D Re-release

Notes and references

See also

External links