The Phantom Menace Awakens

-by HanSpinel

2019 marks the 20th anniversary for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace! To commemorate and celebrate, I’ve made a personal pledge to do something The Phantom Menace-y each month and then share my adventure/journey with you all! ICYMI: for the month of January, I featured TPM concept art by Doug Chiang: Darth Maul and his Scimitar on Tatooine as my header image on twitter.

For February, I’ve created a fan-adaptation and trailer re-cut of The Phantom Menace by compiling a near-shot-for-shot visual parallel with the Official Trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. More (and the video) below!

The Tangent Menace

I’m a big fan of theatrical trailers, and The Force Awakens (TFA) Official Trailer is probably my all time favorite at the moment (“at the moment” to reserve the right to dethrone at a later date: looking at you, JJ, baby, and Star Wars Episode IX….).

Regarding my ranking of the Prequel Trilogy films (I typically only rank in Tiers btw, and TPM has cemented itself as a Tier I Star Wars in my book; for reference – The Force Awakens is also a Tier I Star Wars movie ((whoops! Looks like I’ve got a nested-loop of tangents now! “Now there are TWO of them!”))) (<–See you use three parentheses to close there because, never mind….), The Phantom Menace (TPM) stands as my personal favorite. In my opinion, the special and practical effects of TPM have stood the test of time, and to my eye and taste, it has made the film appear and feel more organic than Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a rock doctor!

As some of the Discord members or WP followers may have already noticed, I also settled on my profile pic for the year: TPM concept art of Darth Maul by Ian McCaig! (Apologies to TheMandalorianWolf who finds this image creepy. Gonna have to get used it, buddy).


I love this concept art because it provides a deeper understanding into the possibilities for Maul’s character. This outfit, in particular, speaks to me of a regal villain.

In fact, I’d go so far as to call it an elegant wardrobe for a more civilized assassin.

In The Phantom Menace, we only get an “Hors d’oeuvre” of this Noble side of Darth Maul:

Darth Maul Tatooine is sparsely populated. If the homing trace is correct, I will find them quickly, Master.

Darth Sidious Move against the Jedi first. You will then have no difficulty in taking the Queen back to Naboo to sign the treaty.

Darth Maul At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.

Darth Sidious You have been well trained my young apprentice. They will be no match for you.

It’s a telling character trait – Darth Maul lets most of his action do the talking, but if a war of words breaks out, he appears capable of conducting a sophisticated spar. I do feel that Star Wars Rebels was able to pick this character trait up in a substantial way, and his character’s finale in that storyline served him justice.

Anyhow, if it weren’t obvious from the sub-title, I digress….

The Phantom Menace Awakens

In playing on my appreciation of The Phantom Menace and love for The Force Awakens theatrical trailer, I’ve attempted to use footage from TPM to create a near-shot-for-shot visual parallel to TFA Official Theatrical Trailer. To emphasize my efforts, I’ve included the picture-in-picture of the TFA official trailer for your personal comparison in seeing which scenes/shots I’ve used when and where. This level of detail may only appeal to myself in my small world; I get it lol.

All in all, this was simply a really fun exercise and project for me to put together, and it serves as a completely new way for me to experience the film itself in addition to providing me an opportunity to share its narrative with you in a new way.

I do hope you enjoy, and may the Force be with you!

Personal Notes:

0:14 – Origin stories:

“Who was his father?” – Qui Gon Jinn

“There was no father.” – Shmi Skywalker

—Paralleled with TFA Official Trailer—

“Who are you?” – Maz Kanata

“I’m no one.” – Rey

0:46 – I’ll show you the Dark Side:

The line up of introductory Maul and Kylo Ren shots/scenes were a lot of fun for me to see. Paired with their mission statements, this series of shots had me smiling.

“At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have our revenge.” – Darth Maul

—-Paralleled with TFA Official Trailer—

“Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started.” – Kylo Ren

1:02 – Now THIS is podracing!

For some reason, Ani’s detour onto the service ramp had completely skipped my mind; I thought it was a fun way to give a TPM scene as memorable a moment as the Falcon scene in the TFA trailer (I’ve heard from some that they don’t find the podrace scene all that enticing; meanwhile, I’m just sitting here thinking fast cars, big crashes; what’s not to love?). I paired the podracing/flying visuals with Mace Windu’s famous dialogue regarding the Prophecy of the Chosen One, and Yoda’s overarching theme and lesson for the Prequel Trilogy itself – in playing on the theme addressed in TFA’s trailer during the flight of the Falcon.

“You refer to the One who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it’s this…. boy?” – Mace Windu

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

“I sense much fear in you.” – Yoda

—Paralleld with TFA Official Trailer—

“There are stories about what happened.” – Rey

“It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side, The Jedi – they’re real.” – Han Solo

1:25 – Jar Jar Binks Around the Rosie:

Before starting this project, I was pretty nervous about finding a parallel to the scene where Poe greets Finn as they walk by each other on the Resistance base. This is a unique in Star Wars: first, the camera is focused on Poe and follows Poe until he pats Finn on the shoulder. The camera then focuses on Finn, but continues following in Finn’s directionality while remaining focused on Finn, who is himself moving in the opposite direction.

Needless to say, I was happy to find the ring around the rosie scene of Captain Tarpals riding in on his Kaadu to one-arm gram Jar Jar and save him…. at least for the next 2 seconds lol.

I know a lot of people have gripes with Jar Jar’s character, but my nephews thought he was hilarious. And if you’ve never experienced the genuine and honest laughter of a child, it can change your perspective real quick like. All this to say, Jar Jar Binks has a healthy soft spot in my heart.

1:40 – Sando Aqua Monster Gets what Sando Aqua Monster Wants

Just a quick shout out to Sando Aqua Monster making a cameo to serve as my Phasma tease lol.

1:43 – The Chosen One.

Qui-Gon Jinn’s dying declaration – we best take note. This, and combined with Yoda’s ultimate decision regarding Anakin, obviously pairs beautifully with the TFA dialogue from Maz Kanata.

“He is the Chosen One.” Qui-Gon Jinn

“Your apprentice Skywalker will be.” – Yoda

—Paralleled with TFA Official Trailer—

“The Force, it’s calling to you. Just let it in.” – Maz Kanata



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