Kid Reporters

The Saga Begins Again

TFK gets the scoop on the 3-D re-release of Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace

February 10, 2012

TFK Kid Reporter Elise Jonas-Delson takes on stunt coordinator ObiShawn in a lightsaber battle.

Put on your 3-D glasses and head to the movie theater. Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace is now playing in eye-popping 3-D! The Phantom Menace, which originally came out in 1999, begins the famous Star Wars saga. The film was the first of three prequels to director George Lucas’s original Star Wars movies: A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

In The Phantom Menace, the Trade Federation, controlled by the evil Sith Lords, has sent its droid army to invade the peaceful planet Naboo. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, are sent to negotiate a solution. But the Sith Lord Darth Sidious orders the droids to kill the Jedi Knights instead. Luckily, they are able to escape the invasion, along with Naboo's Queen Amidala. On their journey, they stop on the planet Tatooine, where they meet a young Anakin Skywalker—who, as Star Wars fans know, later becomes the evil Darth Vader.

Elise hangs out with robot R2-D2 at Skywalker Ranch.
Elise hangs out with robot R2-D2 at Skywalker Ranch.

Behind the Scenes

On January 28 and 29, TFK Kid Reporter Elise Jonas-Delson attended a two-day press event at Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, in Marin County, California, and at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), in San Francisco. There, she went behind the scenes for informative tours and demonstrations, and to a special screening of The Phantom Menace in 3-D. Click here to watch video coverage of the event.

As part of the event, stunt coordinator ObiShawn trained the press in using a lightsaber. “Part of being a stunt coordinator is to make sure that it’s not dangerous,” ObiShawn told TFK. “The stunt coordinator needs to be sure that every element of risk has been removed, so that the stunt can look amazing, and no one gets hurt.” He says it's a big challenge for the actors to remember the choreography and get the timing right, but it's also a lot of fun. 

TFK also caught up with supervising sound editor Matthew Wood. "Everything you hear in The Phantom Menace—the creature sounds, the dialogue, the music—all comes through this room," says Wood, who has worked at Lucas Film for 21 years.  ''It was a dream for me to be able to work on Star Wars.'' How were R2-D2’s sounds produced? Ben Burtt, who made a lot of the sound effects in the original Star Wars films, put his vocal recordings through a synthesizer, an electronic device that transforms sound. This created instrument sounds with the same tones.

Concept model artist John Goodson has been with ILM for 23 years. He worked on all three of the Star Wars prequels over a period of 10 years.  He also worked on almost all of the models of the Starship Enterprise spacecraft from the Star Trek series. His job is to take sketches from the director or art director and turn them into three-dimensional objects. It can take up to 4-5 weeks to make a model of one of the Star Wars spaceships! What would be Goodson's dream project?  ''It would be fun if they made more Star Wars movies,'' he told TFK.  ''If I could make that happen, it would be great!''

Kid Reporter
Elise Jonas-Delson

Did You Know?       

Check out these five fun facts about Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace.

1. The Phantom Menace is set 32 years before A New Hope takes place. But it came out in theaters 22 years after A New Hope came out.

2. The Phantom Menace shows the moment when C-3PO first meets R2-D2.

3. Tatooine appears in every Star Wars movie except The Empire Strikes Back.

4. lf you listen very carefully at the very end of the movie, after the credits, you'll hear Darth Vader breathe.

5. Look closely in the Galactic Senate, and you'll see a trio of aliens from the movie E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.

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