In Episode I, Luke Skywalker's
father is just a hopeful 9-year-old boy named Anakin, who knows nothing of his eventual
fate as a Dark Lord in years to come. In this earlier time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a determined
young Jedi Knight. Qui-Gon Jinn is Obi-Wan's venerable Jedi master, trying to teach the
Jedi way to his apprentice as their world begins to unravel in political turmoil. Episode
I will take audiences through extraordinary realms and adventures, from the desert planet
of Tatooine to the galactic capital world of Coruscant (with its Jedi Temple), the green
world of Naboo, and beyond. Familiar Star Wars characters Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, and
Jabba the Hutt are along for the ride. This first chapter in the Star Wars saga
follows young Anakin Skywalker's journey as he pursues his dreams and confronts his fears
in the midst of a galaxy in crisis.
Episode I was shot in 65 days on soundstages in Leavesden, England, and on location in
Caserta, Italy, and outside Tozeur, Tunisia, that is to say, 5 days shorter than in took
for the original Star Wars. Back in 1976, the filming was interrupted by the
first desert storm in five decades. It happened again while shooting The Phantom
Menace, and the storm destructed most of the set and equipments. When looking for
shooting locations, Morroco was suggested for Tatooine, but Lucas said that the light and
the sand of Tunisia, were Tatooine, and he would not go anywhere else.
Episode I has cost approximatly 115 millions dollars, with 60 for the 2000 special
effects, the same amount needed for the 500 ones from Titanic. 95% of the shots
were digitally modified, only 200 shots remains as they were shot. Most of the digital
characters were actually played by real actors for interaction with other actors, and
then, replaced with digital pictures, at post-production stage. Also, filming with digital
cameras was experimented (cameras that do not need film). Episode I will be the first
movie to be projected with digital technologies in summer 1999, and Episode II will be
integraly shot with digital cameras.
During the making of Episode I, Lucasfilm had to deal with rumors propagated all over the
world via Internet. Lucas said that 80% of the rumors are fakes, and this time, it was not
even necessary to plant misinformation, like they did when shooting Return of the Jedi,
with "Blue Harvest". Despite this fact, Episode I plot was well protected by
Lucas himself, going as far as giving the actors their lines, only at their arrival on the
Comparing to the original Trilogy, woman will be more represented with almost 35% of the
roles, and the next episode will be particularly romantic.
About the release of the movie, the very first waiting line began on sunday, april, 11th,
in front of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood Boulevard. The movie would have make -even
before it was released- 4 Billions dollars only with licences bought by companies that
want to product Star Wars goodies, and Lucasfilm has imposed a amazing contract
to 20th Century Fox, giving them only 8% of the share and fixing strict rules to theaters
: the movie has to be projected at least 8 weeks before being moved to a smaller room, no
advertisements on the first 2 weeks, no more than 8 minutes of trailers before the movie,
no use of the cards etc...