This Day in Movie History – May 19th, 1999 – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Released

After 22 years, numerous rumors and a variety of books and comics, Star Wars officially returned to the big screen on this day in history.

FILE - In this publicity photo released by Lucasfilm Ltd., actor Jake Lloyd portrays Anakin Skywalker, a young Darth Vader, in "Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace." Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger says screenwriters Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are both working on standalone �Star Wars� movies not part of a new planned trilogy. Iger told CNBC on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, that the standalone movies will be based on �great 'Star Wars' characters that are not part of the overall saga." (AP Photo/Lucasfilm Ltd., file)

After 22 years, numerous rumors and a variety of books and comics, Star Wars officially returned to the big screen on this day in history.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was the first of three prequels to the extremely successful original Star Wars trilogy.

Starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman, The Phantom Menace was set decades before the original Star Wars film, A New Hope.

Directed and written by George Lucas, The Phantom Menace boasted state-of-the art special effects along with the return of John Williams for the orchestral score.

Despite mixed reviews, including criticism of the character of Jar-Jar Binks, The Phantom Menace was a massive financial success, earning over 920 million dollars on a 115 million dollar budget.

The Phantom Menace would be followed by two more Star Wars prequel films, and would also see a 3D re-release in 2012.


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