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The 20th Anniversary of The Phantom Menace

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On This Date In Star Wars History - May 3, 1999
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The first products based on "Episode 1" were officially released.

I don't believe I went to the 'Midnight Madness"event, but, I do remember running around a day or two later, checking out the books (like the 'sticker book with image of "Bail Antilles"(?)), the soundtrack cd (with the infamous spoiler track, "Qui-Gon's Noble End"), and of course, the toys. I believe the first two figures I picked up were Padme/Queen Amidala and Darth Maul.

What are your memories from that time? Feel free to post in the comment section.

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I also did not go to the midnight release, but the next day I bought a buttload of figures, went home and opened them all.  Later that night, a bunch of severe storms were going on in the area but I paid zero attention because at that moment, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul were having an intense lightsaber duel.  I distinctly recall hearing severe storm warnings going off at that time. Then the power went off, and I could no longer see the loot of my pile of Star Wars figs.  Don't remember if I went to bed then or not but we took no damage and everything was fine the next day.  Such is the will of the Force.  

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On This Date In Star Wars History - May 19, 1999

The Phantom Menace is released in theaters. (20th Anniversary)

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The posters and trailers, the preview toys (Mace Windu, STAP, and Theed mini playset), a new John Williams soundtrack ("Duel Of The Fates"!), the fastf ood tie-ins, and "Episode 1" toys. It all led up to this, love it or hate it, the first new Star Wars film in 16 years, and the years of speculation to follow...


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I still remember waiting for the trailer to load on my friend's dail-up, lol

.......

as well as, the South Park version 😛

the comic leading up the film

those first cringe-worthy online soundbites of Jar Jar (& Watto?)...oh, surely, it won't be that bad...lol

 

Then came that night night, with the midnight showing

My friend and I walked out afterward, and got back in line for the next showing

and again, the next day.

Yeah, looking back, I see the film's flaws, but at the time, it was a new Star Warsfilm,

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So did anyone watch Episode I in honor? I considered it for a moment and quickly decided against lol. I was definitely hyped up about the movie back in 1999. I taped the trailer off  of Entertainment Tonight and brought it with me to friends' houses to watch.

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My memories are 3 fold:

a) Being a film student at USC it was right around this time that I had my first meeting with George Lucus.  

b) a bunch of friends of mine decided to line up and spend days camping out to be in the first screening at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.  I was too busy and really had no intention of camping out so I was just going to go later but a friend ended up buying me a ticket and thus I just showed up 3 hours before the screening and still got in the front of the line.  When a news crew came by to run a story about how long people had been lined up and camping out they mistakenly singled me out to ask “how long have you been camping out in line”.  My answer: “about 30 minutes”.

c) we left the theater hyped but it was about half way through the car ride home that the conversation switched from “what about this cool moment” to “yeah, but what was the deal with that other moment”.  So it hadn’t fully set in but by the time we got home I think we were slowly starting to realize that while we had fun the film inevitably had problems and was not as good as we had hoped.  

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I saw this movie with my high school girlfriend.  I was excited.  Then, very quickly into the movie, I was annoyed.  I didn't leave because I kept hoping it would get better.  She kept laughing, and not at the stuff George Lucas wanted the audience to think was funny.  I left the theater pissed. When I took her home, I told her ten year old brother that he'd love it. Turns out he didn't like it, either.

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