In 1999 there was a disturbance in the Force. More than fifteen years after the original Star Wars trilogy came to an end, George Lucas was back with a surprising experiment, but supposedly thought of before Star Wars (or Episode IV: A New Hope, as It was renamed the 1977 Classic). It was about the prequels, the first of which (The Phantom Menace) became the film that raised the most money of the year even when critics and audiences already began to polish the consensus that it was a very deficient continuation of the mythical saga.
The consensus that the Star Wars prequels are mediocre is now in jeopardy because some of the public thinks that the Disney sequel trilogy is even worse (military in this fandom is like that), and it is not strange to find numerous claims of , above all, The Phantom Menace, the one that endured a more virulent storm. George Lucas may attend this revaluation very satisfied with himself, and even more so if we stick to an interview he gave Empire in the same 1999 premiere that IGN just recovered.
This interview is most interesting because of how it reveals that the executives of 20th Century Fox (currently 20th Century Studios) had already been afraid before it was released that the public was not going to react well to The Phantom Menace. The reason? Lucas’s determination to use a child Anakin from which to begin to tell the origin of Darth Vader, turning to a Jake Lloyd who did not have the best of experiences working on the saga. “You’re going to destroy the franchise,” they told him. “It will be a movie that nobody will want to see.”
The fact is that at the box office level the thing was not bad, and Lucas could get away with it. “I kept it as planned; you can’t compromise with the market too much, “he explained in relation to how he was able to resist Fox’s demands.” And I can’t say ‘now I’m going to market it to a totally different audience.’ I tell the story ”. The prequel trilogy was under the absolute control of Lucas, and The Phantom Menace was not going to be the exception.
“I knew that if I had put Anakin at 15 instead of 9 it would have been more marketable, but that was not the story,” he continued. “It was important that it was a boy; having to leave his mother would be more dramatic than if he were 15 years old. So you had to do the right thing for the film, not for the market. ” Although Fox wanted the story to begin directly with an older Anakin, perhaps played by Hayden Christensen to fall in love with Natatlie Portman, the director remained in his thirteen.
Details like these illustrate that, whether you like the Star Wars prequels more or less, they at least arose from a unique creative vision committed to what was telling. It is therefore normal that, as time passes and people who knew the saga thanks to The Phantom Menace join the fandom, they will be the subject of more claims. Will the same thing happen with the sequel trilogy, or even The Rise of Skywalker? It is not something we can rule out.