The Phantom Menace Hits 20

Episode I: The Phantom Menace at 20 | Green Card Back

A long time ago…

Cast your mind back to mid-May – hasn’t the time flown since then?

Well, way back in 1999 that same period of time we’ve just traversed felt endless. While our US friends celebrated this milestone back in May it’s today, July 16th 2019, that marks 20 years since the UK release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace!

For a film that’s been mired in disdain for the last two decades it sure has been great to see the outpouring of love over the last few months. We’ve seen re-appraisals, month-long retrospectives and a general consensus that informed viewers reached years ago – The Phantom Menace┬áisn’t perfect, but it is a bold, ambitious and creative first chapter for the saga. It’s brim full of ideas even if it does fall a little short of its potential due to some flaws in the execution.

At the time you would have been forgiven for thinking that George Lucas had made something far, far worse.

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Positive Fandom #2: The Games

Positive Fandom #2: Star Wars Video Games | Green Card Back

By 1993, Star Wars was back.

10 years after Return of the Jedi the Star Wars renaissance was in full swing. Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy had launched the Expanded Universe to great success, a venture continued with gusto by Dark Horse Comics.

Yet something equally epoch-defining was happening on a brand new medium for Star Wars – home PC. 1993 saw the release of X-Wing and Rebel Assault, games by the soon-to-be legendary LucasArts, and for this young fan life would never be the same again…

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Star Wars: Scene 38… Re-Imagined

Scene 38 - Vader vs Obi-Wan Re-Imagined | Green Card Back

From the breathtaking finesse of the Theed Hanger Duel in The Phantom Menace to the epic theatrics of Anakin vs Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith, there’s no doubt that the Prequel Trilogy introduced a greater level of visual spectacle to the Star Wars saga.

If you remove the rose-tinted glasses, at 42 years old A New Hope is starting to show its age – and nowhere is this more obvious than in the rematch between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

Slow and stilted, for years we convinced ourselves that this was due to it being a duel between an out-of-practice old man and an amputee cyborg. Yet from Yoda vs Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones to Vader’s onslaught in Rogue One, it’s increasingly hard to countenance that Kenobi’s final fight was restricted by anything other than available film production techniques.

This is where VFX artist Christopher Clements, better known by his YouTube handle FXitinPost, has come to the rescue…

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The Rise of Skywalker Revealed at Star Wars Celebration

Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron at the Death Star ruins on Endor in The Rise of Skywalker | Green Card Back

It’s Star Wars Celebration once again this weekend, with the Force-related festivities going down at McCormick Place, Chicago. I’ll have more news and round-ups over the course of the weekend, but in the meantime let’s get straight to the lead…

You’ve seen it already, of course. But here, for posterity, is the newly-revealed first teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan conflicted about The Force Awakens and with no desire to watch The Last Jedi again any time soon, I have to say that I’m more intrigued than I ever thought I could be about Episode IX.

There’s a galaxy-spanning adventure vibe on display, fitting in with the rumoured “race for the prize” plot. Kylo Ren looks back to being a pure antagonist once more, as should always have been the case after The Force Awakens. And the return of Darth Sidious… Well, wow.

Actual chills.

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The Asteroid Field

One of the biggest successes of John Williams’ Star Wars scores has been how certain tunes, be they leitmotifs or something more atmospheric, seem to transcend the description of being “merely” a soundtrack. From Princess Leia’s Theme to Duel of the Fates to Rey’s Theme, these are pure pop songs in a classical style.

One of the most surprising, yet joyous, additions to this oeuvre is Williams’ tune from the middle act of The Empire Strikes Back: The Asteroid Field.

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