Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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German title Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Original title Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Star wars ep 1 de.svg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1999
length 136 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director George Lucas
script George Lucas
production Rick McCallum
music John Williams
camera David Tattersall
cut Ben Burtt ,
Paul Martin Smith

Successor  →
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Star Wars series logo

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (Original Title: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ) is an American science fiction film from 1999 and the first part of the prequel trilogy, which describes the prehistory of the star -Wars -films (1977–1983) told. The other films are Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). The film opened in German cinemas on August 19, 1999. In 2012, the film, converted to 3D , reappeared in cinemas worldwide.


The isolated planet Naboo is being blocked by the Trade Federation, a galaxy-wide corporation. The federation is protesting against the increased trade tariffs. Secretly, the leadership of the trade federation is in an alliance with a certain Darth Sidious , who on the galactic government level seems to be holding his protective hand over these legal violations in secret. Thereupon Finis Valorum, the Chancellor of the Galactic Senate, sends the Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan student Obi-Wan Kenobi to mediate in the conflict. Urged by Sidious, the Trade Federation occupies the planet with their droid army and tries to kill the two Jedi on their control ship. Together with Padmé Amidala , Queen of Naboo, and a few others , they flee towards Coruscant , seat of the Senate of the Republic. With their spacecraft's hyperspace drive damaged by Trade Federation barrages , they must land on the remote desert planet Tatooine .

On Tatooine, the laws of the Galactic Republic do not apply and slavery is the order of the day. Qui-Gon tries to buy spare parts for the spaceship, but the junk dealer Watto , who owns the spare parts, informs him that the Republican Currency (Galactic Credits) on Tatooine are worthless.

During a sudden sandstorm, the travelers find shelter with Anakin Skywalker , Watto's nine-year-old slave, and his mother. Anakin suggests that the Jedi start a pod race for him and win the spare parts he needs. A pod race is a competition with capsules up to 900 km / h, which are pulled by two (or more) drive units. Qui-Gon, sensing Anakin's extraordinary talent, accepts the suggestion. He bets Anakin's owner Watto for the spare parts he needs and the boy's freedom. Anakin Skywalker wins the race and is free.

Qui-Gon asks him to come with him for Jedi training. While departing for Coruscant, Qui-Gon is attacked by a dark warrior named Darth Maul, sent by his teacher Darth Sidious, and barely escapes.

On the central planet, Amidala begins to gather the political support she needs for her planet. When this threatens to fail due to the disagreement of the Senate, she follows the advice of Palpatine, the Senator of the Naboo system, to have the Chancellor voted out and to have a more assertive one installed. It happens that Palpatine is also nominated as the new Chancellor. During her stay on Coruscant, Amidala also learns about the great Gungan force from a Gungan who traveled with her by the name of Jar Jar Binks . She then decides to return to Naboo because the Senate cannot find a solution in the short term. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon introduces Anakin to the Jedi Council. Although he recognizes Anakin's extraordinary talent, he contradicts the training because he is too old and already has too many negative feelings in him. In return, Qui-Gon is given the task of protecting Queen Naboos and finding out more about the dark warrior. The group that has traveled is leaving for Naboo.

There Amidala, previously disguised as the servant of her queen double, identifies herself as the leader of the Gungans. Boss Nass agrees to help Amidala after the droid army has driven the Gungans from their capital. The Queen's plan is simple: while the Gungans launch a diversionary attack outside Theeds, the capital of Naboo, she and a few fighters want to penetrate the palace and capture the viceroy of the Trade Federation, Nute Gunray, who ruled there.

When the resistance fighters arrive in the capital, they meet the dark warrior of Tatooine again. The Jedi break up with the others to take on him. Amidala and her troop penetrate the palace, where they are taken. By means of a diversionary maneuver by the double of Amidala, they finally manage to capture the viceroy. Meanwhile, Anakin hides in a space fighter cockpit and accidentally triggers the autopilot, which carries him into space to the control ship of the Trade Federation, which is currently being unsuccessfully attacked by other Naboo space fighters. By chance and great luck he succeeds in destroying it and thus deactivating the droid army. During the simultaneous battle between the two Jedi and the dark warrior, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul die one after the other. Obi-Wan promises the dying Qui-Gon that he will grant his wish and train Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi Knight.

It turns out that the dark warrior was a Sith, a member of a counter-order of the Jedi that was believed to have been extinct for 1,000 years. Since the Sith always act in pairs, Yoda and Mace Windu wonder whether the master or the student was killed. Because of his courage in fighting the Sith, Obi-Wan receives the rank of Jedi Knight and permission to train Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi. In addition, Palpatine was elected as the new Chancellor of the Republic. The people of Naboos and the Gungans celebrate their newfound friendship and the victory over the Federation with a boisterous parade.

Classification in the Star Wars universe


The Phantom Menace marks the beginning of the prequel trilogy and takes place around 32 years before the events of Star Wars (1977). Numerous characters from Episodes IV to VI appear again, some with the same cast as in the classic trilogy (1977–1983).

Timeline of films and series in the Star Wars universe
films and series fictitious calendar (in years)
33 32 31 30-24 23 22nd 21st 20th 19th 18th 17-15 14th 13 12 11 10 9 8-7 6th 5 4th 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6-7 8th 9 10 11-31 32 33 34 35 36
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones.
Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
The Force Awakens
The Last Jedi
The Rise of Skywalker
Rogue One
a R1
a S.
The Clone Wars (+ movie )
The Mandalorian
Rebels b
33 32 31 30-24 23 22nd 21st 20th 19th 18th 17-15 14th 13 12 11 10 9 8-7 6th 5 4th 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6-7 8th 9 10 11-31 32 33 34 35 36
Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I-III)
Original trilogy (Episodes IV – VI)
Sequel Trilogy (Episodes VII-IX)
A Star Wars Story Films

The consequences of the series The Powers of Fate take place at different times, so that a list in the table is not meaningful. Also not listed miniseries, short stories, comics, books and other ancillary works of the official Star Wars - canon and the theme park Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (between VIII and IX). The fictitious calendar of the Star Wars universe is used for the schematic classification of the actions . This differentiates between the years before the Battle of Yavin (VSY) and after the Battle of Yavin (NSY). The Battle of Yavin IV marks the end of Star Wars (1977), in which Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance destroy the first Death Star .


main characters

  • Qui-Gon Jinn ( Liam Neeson ), wise but headstrong Jedi master and mentor to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon was never accepted into the council because of his selfishness and constant resistance to the decisions of the Jedi Council. He firmly believes in the old Jedi prophecy and sees Anakin as the chosen one.
  • C-3PO ( Anthony Daniels ), humanoid protocol droid capable of over 6 million forms of communication. It was built by Anakin Skywalker.

Minor characters

  • Yoda ( Frank Oz ), Jedi Grand Master. Together with Mace Windu and Ki-Adi-Mundi, he is the head of the Jedi Council.
  • Watto (OT: Andy Secombe / DF: Udo Schenk ), Toydarian scrap and slave dealer who owns Anakin and Shmi Skywalker.
  • Rugor Nass ( Silas Carson ), ruler of the underwater city ​​of Otoh Gunga on the planet Naboo and leader of the Gungan people who live there. He banished Jar Jar Binks for his clumsiness.
  • Sebulba , pod racer and rival of Anakin Skywalker.
  • Jabba Desilijic Tiure , known as Jabba the Hutt , leader of a criminal organization based on the desert planet Tatooine.


  • Naboo , an idyllic planet in the Chommell Sector. Its capital is Theed, which is also where the royal palace is located. The landscape of Naboos is characterized by forests, meadows and lakes. Another species on this planet are the Gungans, who live in underwater cities such as B. Gunga City, which is located in Paonga Lake. In contrast to most other planets, the world itself has a porous core that is criss-crossed by extensive underwater caves and canals. Naboo is the home planet of Padmé Amidala and Senator Sheev Palpatine, as well as Jar Jar Binks.
  • Tatooine , a desert planet orbiting a pair of twin suns. It's a refuge for smugglers, criminals and people who don't want to be found. The planet is the homeworld of Anakin and his mother Shmi Skywalker. The planet is ruled by Jabba.
  • Coruscant , a single city, a so-called macropolis . The planet is the political center of the galaxy, the Galactic Republic . There is also the Galactic Senate and the Jedi Temple with the Jedi High Council. The head of state of the planet is the Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum . Coruscant is home to more than a trillion residents of all kinds. Most live in Galactic City.


  • In Episode I, some characters from the films from 1977 to 1983 appear, namely the droids C-3PO (still without gold cladding) and R2-D2, Jedi master Yoda, Jabba the Hutt with his servant Bib Fortuna, the still young Obi-Wan Kenobi, the also still young Anakin Skywalker and the Emperor Palpatine, here still in his identity as Senator from Naboo.
  • The character of Jar Jar Binks seemed too childish and clumsy to many fans of the earlier Star Wars films and therefore polarized even more than the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi . Lucas responded to the fierce criticism by rarely making the figure appear in the following two parts.
  • The dialogues for C-3PO, when he first met R2-D2, were written by Carrie Fisher . Fisher was not named in the credits.
  • Anakin's friends on Tatooine include a non-human boy named Wald of the same species (Rodian) as the bounty hunter Greedo from Episode IV. In a scene cut from the final version of the film, Anakin argues with another Rodian, whereupon Wald calls “Greedo “Calls and warns him that he may end up badly (which happens in Episode IV).
  • In one scene in the Galactic Senate, several "ETs" are walking around on a platform in the background. George Lucas thanked Steven Spielberg in this way for his homage to Star Wars in the film ET - The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Keira Knightley plays a supporting role as Sabé, Sofia Coppola as Saché, both servants of Queen Amidala . The appearance of Knightley was initially kept secret in order to give the impression that Natalie Portman actually played the doubled queen.
  • The design of the droid control ships with which the trade federation is blocking the planet Naboo is inspired by the ancient naval port of Carthage . Just as the Carthaginian warships were hidden inside the Punic war port, the droid control ships were used to hide the war equipment of the trade federation.
  • At the end of the credits, Darth Vader's characteristic breathing is played for a while on a completely black screen.
  • In 2001 the novel Veil of Deception ( ISBN 978-3-442-26854-2 ), written by James Luceno , was published for the first time , which tells the prehistory of Episode I. The English-language audio book to veil of deception (Cloak of Deception) is read by Alexander Adams.
  • The authors Dave Wolverton (first volume) and Jude Watson also wrote the series of novels Jedi-Padawan , the plot of which takes place before Episode I. Part of these books is the explanation of how the young Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi is trained to be a Jedi Knight by his master Qui-Gon Jinn and how he learns what it means to be a Jedi.

Different versions

As is known from other Star Wars films, various changes were made to this episode over time. The theatrical version, which was shown in 1999, was released worldwide on VHS and exclusively in Japan on laserdisc . For the DVD release, a few scenes were added, especially during the pod race, but also on arrival at Coruscant. With the release of the Blu-ray version at the end of 2011, further changes were made. The most striking change is the replacement of the Yoda originally represented by a doll with a computer-animated version.

In February 2012 the film was converted to 3D and came back into theaters. It started worldwide between February 8 and 10, 2012. However, the re-broadcast did not bring any new scenes.

The original theatrical version from 1999 is only available on VHS and Laserdisc and is never broadcast on television.

For the video-on-demand publication, the 20th Century Fox clip was removed for the first time since the Disney takeover .

Film music

The film music was written by the American composer John Williams , who was also responsible for the music in the original Star Wars trilogy. He set to music, among others, Indiana Jones , Jaws and Schindler's List .

The themes Williams used were almost entirely new pieces and had little to do with the compositions of the old Star Wars films. In some places, however, well-known pieces can be recognized, this is most evident at the beginning with the Star Wars Main Title . The phantom threat contains leitmotifs, for example Anakin's theme or themes for the droid army. The piece Duel of the Fates , which dominates the film finale, was taken up again in the two successors and received an extra music video on the DVD.


George Lucas was not satisfied with Joachim Tennstedt as C-3PO's German voice, although Tennstedt already voiced the character in the original trilogy and in the animated series Star Wars: Droids . The dubbing company ultimately decided in favor of Wolfgang Zahl .

The synchronization was done by Berliner Synchron GmbH . Based on a dialogue book and a dialogue direction by Tobias Meister. Master also spoke the figure of Darth Maul.

role Actor or speaker German voice actor
Qui-Gon Jinn Liam Neeson Bernd Rumpf
Obi Wan Kenobi Ewan McGregor Philipp Moog
Queen Padmé Amidala Natalie Portman Manja Doering
Anakin Skywalker Jake Lloyd Constantin von Jascheroff
Shmi Skywalker Pernilla August Daniela Hoffmann
Yoda Frank Oz Gerry Wolff
Senator Palpatine / Darth Sidious Ian McDiarmid Friedhelm Ptok (Palpatine)
Wolfgang Dehler (Sidious)
Governor Sio Bibble Oliver Ford Davies Horst lamp
Darth Maul Ray Park Tobias Master
Peter Serafinowicz ( voice )
Captain Panaka Hugh Quarshie Johannes Berenz
Mace Windu Samuel L. Jackson Helmut Gauss
Haako rune James Arnold Taylor Karl Heinz Oppel
Jar Jar Binks Ahmed Best Stefan Fredrich
C-3PO Anthony Daniels Wolfgang number
Supreme Chancellor Valorum Terence Stamp Frank Ciazynski
Boss wet Brian Blessed Wolfgang Kühne
Watto Andrew Secombe Udo Schenk
Ric Olié Ralph Brown Bodo Wolf
Viceroy Nute Gunray Silas Carson Joachim Siebenschuh
Ki-Adi-Mundi Norbert Gescher
Mas Amedda Jerome Blake Klaus Sunshine
Sabe Keira Knightley Manja Doering



source rating
Rotten tomatoes

In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace waiting period was particularly been waiting for 16 years. The reactions from critics and fans were rather mixed.

The critics' portal Metacritic recorded a value of 51% for The Dark Threat , which speaks for generally mixed reviews. There are 15 positive reviews against six negative ones. In the comparable portal Rotten Tomatoes , 57% of almost 200 reviews were rated as positive.

Roger Ebert commented in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1999, very positive. "If it were the first Star Wars film, the phantom menace would be celebrated as a visionary breakthrough," said the critic. He also added: "How quickly we get used to miracles!"

The German Film and Media Assessment in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating “valuable” . The film alone deserves a rating “as a milestone in the further development of animation technology” . In addition, he also allows "islands of calm."

The film service praised “extraordinary effects” and “brilliantly choreographed battle scenes.” In addition, Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace offers “the usual kind of naive entertainment that produces a lot of idle time due to sentimentality and endlessly extensive fighting.”

Gross profit

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace grossed around 924 million US dollars (779.9 million euros; 839.3 million Swiss francs) worldwide in 1999 , of which around 431 million US dollars (363.8 million euros ; 391.5 million Swiss francs) in the USA and around 54 million US dollars (45.6 million euros; 49 million Swiss francs) in Germany. The production costs amounted to 115 million US dollars (97.1 million euros; 104.5 million Swiss francs). The film was thus the financially most successful episode of the Star Wars saga until 2015, when it was replaced by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In addition, The Phantom Menace was the sixth most successful film in the US and the eleventh most successful worldwide in the year it was released.

In February 2012, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace came back to cinemas worldwide. This version, converted to 3D, was the Blu-ray version released in 2011. In total, the 3D re-publication brought in around 102.7 million US dollars worldwide (86.7 million euros; 93.3 million Swiss francs).

The total worldwide box office (2D and 3D theatrical releases added up) for Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace amounts to over 1 billion US dollars (844.1 million euros; 908.3 million Swiss francs), which was previously only reached ten other films. The grossing results exceeded that of The Dark Knight (2008), which made Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (again) one of the top 10 most successful films in history and with the subsequent overtaking of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010 ) meanwhile moved up to 9th place. The total box office result for Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace is now 1027 million US dollars (866.9 million euros; 932.9 million Swiss francs).

In the list of the world's most successful films of all time, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace currently ranks 43rd (as of August 8, 2020).

Lucasfilm announced in January 2013 that it would stop the 3D conversions of the other five films for the time being. The reason given was that they wanted to focus on developing the new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Awards (selection)

Academy Awards 2000

Grammy Awards 2000

  • Nomination for Best Instrumental Composition Written for Film, Television or Visual Media for John Williams

British Academy Film Award

Saturn Award 2000

Young Artist Awards

  • Award in the category of best young actor up to 10 years for Jake Lloyd
  • Nomination in the category of best family film (drama)

YoungStar Awards

  • Nomination in the category of best young actor for Jake Lloyd
  • Natalie Portman was nominated for the best young actress category


  • Platinum for over 5 million moviegoers

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Most Popular Actor / Supporting Actor nominations for Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Jake Lloyd and Pernilla August
  • Nomination in the category of best villain for Ray Park

Golden Reel Award

  • Nomination in the category of best sound editing

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Nomination in the best tone category
  • Nomination for the best visual effects category

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards

  • Award for the best costume design for Trisha Biggar
  • Nomination in the category of best production design for Gavin Bocquet
  • Nomination in the category best visual effects for Dennis Murren

MTV Movie Awards

  • Awarded the best pod racing action sequence
  • Nomination for best fight scene category for Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Ray Park

Golden Raspberry

  • Award in the category of worst supporting actor for Ahmed Best
  • Nomination in the worst film category
  • Nomination for the worst director category
  • Nomination in the worst script category
  • Nomination in the category of Worst Supporting Actor for Jake Lloyd
  • Nomination in the category of worst supporting actress for Sofia Coppola
  • Nomination in the worst screen couple category for Jake Lloyd and Natalie Portman

The German Film and Media Assessment (FBW) awarded the film the rating “valuable”.


The Phantom Menace is the first part of the prequel trilogy. The film was continued directly three years later with Attack of the Clones .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jump up ↑ Release Certificate for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , July 2011 (PDF; test number: 82 376-a V).
  2. Jump up ↑ Age rating for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace . Youth Media Commission, accessed on October 2 , 2015 (  3D publication).
  3. ^ The Complete Del Rey Books Timeline. In: Random House Books. Retrieved May 26, 2018 (English).
  4. ^ Emil Fortune: Star Wars: Galactic Atlas . Ravensburger, 2017, ISBN 978-3-473-49038-7 (Original title: Star Wars: Galactic Atlas . Translated by Wolfgang Hensel).
  5. Jamie Lovett: Lucasfilm Reveals Official Timeline of the Star Wars Saga. In: August 24, 2019, accessed on August 29, 2019 .
  6. List of the audiobooks spoken by Adams in Audible
  7. Theatrical release announced for the first Star Wars 3D film , accessed: March 4, 2011.
  9. ^ Tennstedt - Interview
  10. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. In: German dubbing file , accessed on March 2, 2017 .
  11. a b Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved June 28, 2016 .
  12. a b Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Metacritic , accessed June 28, 2016 .
  13. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. IMDb , accessed June 28, 2016 .
  14. ^ Collection of reviews at Metacritic
  15. ^ Collection of reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ Film review by Roger Ebert
  17. // Predicate “valuable”: Jury statement
  18. Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace - Short Review. Film service , accessed June 4, 2015 .
  19. On the original gross profit and production costs (English).
  20. Hollywood Reporter's interview with Star Wars creator George Lucas about the 3D re-release (English); Retrieval. March 11, 2012.
  21. Current worldwide box office earnings of the 3D re-release (English); Accessed: May 2, 2012.
  22. a b c The most successful films at the worldwide box office (English); Accessed: May 2, 2012.
  23. Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace climbs back to 9th place on the all-time leaderboard thanks to the 3D re-release ; Accessed: May 2, 2012.
  24. Top Lifetime big things. Box Office Mojo, accessed August 8, 2020 .
  25. SWU: Lucasfilm is canceling all 3D publications (for now)! ; Accessed: January 29, 2013.