The Phantom Menace is not really looked upon positively in the Star Wars community, and it never really has been since its initial release in 1999. But a new cast photo featuring Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn), Natalie Portman (Padmé Amidala), and Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker) has gone viral, thanks to Reddit. The Phantom Menace has been coming up quite a lot, as of late, mostly because of the reaction to Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, which several fans have called the worst movie in the franchise, while a small group started a petition to get the sequel removed from the official Star Wars canon.
The cast photo from The Phantom Menace was simply posted to Reddit by a user named Pr3da7or with a simple caption commenting that the picture was 18 years old. While most Redditors marveled at the age of the picture, many began to point out that it was pretty weird that the little kid (Jake Lloyd) would eventually hookup with Natalie Portman's character in the story. The picture is odd when you think about it that way, so we'll just pretend not to notice. Jar Jar Binks isn't in the picture, so that's definitely a good thing. We'll take that as a win.
It is pretty amazing to think that the movie came out nearly 20 years ago and it's even more interesting to look back at what critics and fans thought about the movie when it came out. Critics mostly bashed the movie, but fans at the time, seemed into it. Only recently has the movie gotten truly torn apart by everybody, including director and Star Wars creator George Lucas. The old commentary for The Phantom Menace DVD features Lucas pretty bummed out at an early screening and openly admits that he "went too far" with certain aspects of the movie.
A lot has changed in the Star Wars universe since that photo was taken. There were two more prequels after The Phantom Menace, followed by The Clone Wars animated movie and Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, with a new trilogy and spin-off adventures. Star Wars fans were shocked when the prequels came out, but the new interest in the franchise, with a new movie every year from Disney, has been both a gift and a curse, depending on what side of this fandom you fall on.
1999 was truly a different time for the Star Wars franchise and many had high hopes that George Lucas could pull off what seemed like the impossible at the time. And depending on who you ask, he mostly succeeded, but there are many who maintain that the prequels should not have ever happened. Regardless, the cast photo from that timeframe is an interesting time capsule from before the movie came out and got torn apart by fans and critics. You can view The Phantom Menace cast photo featuring Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, and Jake Lloyd via Reddit.
This Phantom Menace cast photo is 18 years old pic.twitter.com/BACBxuIOUv— Star Wars Facts (@SWTweets) December 29, 2017