‘The Phantom Menace’ Returning to Theaters for 25th Anniversary
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace is about to turn 25 years old, and it’s headed back to theaters for this major milestone.
In news that will come as a huge shock to people who were big Star Wars fans in the 1990s and like to think they are not old yet, The Phantom Menace opened in theaters just about 25 years ago, on May 19, 1999. At the time, it was the first new Star Wars movie in 16 years, and the first movie directed by George Lucas since the very first Star Wars back in 1977. It was an enormous pop culture moment of a kind that we almost never get any more these days in any context. And while the film was not hugely praised by critics, it was hugely successful, grossing over $900 million worldwide on its initial theatrical release.
Eventually, a lot of public sentiment began to turn on The Phantom Menace, but as the movie has aged, the consensus has started to swing back the other way, especially among those who were kids in 1999, who saw The Phantom Menace in theaters way back when. And now they will have a chance to relive their childhoods, as Lucasfilm will re-release the movie on the big-screen this may as part of its 25th Anniversary celebration.
Here is the new poster for the film announcing its 25th Anniversary screenings.
Notably, the poster calls it Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, the full original title for the movie when it opened in theaters 25 years ago, and not simply Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which would match the way Disney has been titling their Star Wars movies. (i.e. it was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens).
The Force Awakens starred Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman, in a prequel set decades before the events of 1977’s Star Wars. It introduced a young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and showed some of the early events in his life that put him on his path to becoming Darth Vader.
If The Phantom Menace being 25 years old doesn’t freak you out, think about this: When The Phantom Menace first came out in theaters in 1999, the first Star Wars was only 22 years old! (Cue the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade GIF of the dude turning into a skeleton.)
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace will re-open in theaters on May 3, 2024. May the Force (and May the 4th) be with you.