20 years ago, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace changed movies forever

On May 19th, 1999, George Lucas changed movies forever. The long-anticipated Star Wars prequel Episode I: The Phantom Menace hit theaters, returning to a world that fans had thought they’d never see again. For some, excitement turned to confusion, puzzlement, and outright anger by the time the credits rolled, and Lucas’s grand cinematic experiment was off to a rocky start. Looking back at the film two decades later, The Phantom Menace proved to be a precursor for the cinematic environment that we now find ourselves in. It was a special effects revolution, the first inkling that stories might never end, and a film where the director and cast faced enormous pushback from fans.

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