Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., All Rights Reserved
3. The Opening Scene
While it may not seem like it, the opening scene was exactly what Star Wars fans wanted to see when The Phantom Menace premiered 20 years ago.
From the gold crawl to the enchanting Star Wars theme, it had the essence of Star Wars right from the start. Then the mysterious Jedi take off their hoods and there are Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
As if that wasn’t enough, Kenobi says, “I got a bad feeling about this.”
We start Episode I on the right track. Every fan knows those words and was giddy with excitement when McGregor uttered them perfectly.
The scene also works well because it shows the relationship between master and padawan. This wasn’t something fans have gotten to see in the flesh before. In the original trilogy, Yoda served as Luke’s master, but also in a small bout of training.
We never got to see padawans in action and Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor had good chemistry right from the start. That’s what made his death so tough too because we saw his father figure taken away from Obi-Wan far too soon.
The opening scene also set the tone that the movies were going to be different than the original trilogy. Politics played a huge part of the prequels and we see the Jedi were tasked as peacekeepers and doing the work of the chancellor.
There is so much to unpack in this opening scene and George Lucas did such a great job of putting it all in there without making it feel too weighted.