The Jedi Alliance hosts sit in for a WatchAlong with Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace! Join Mark Donica & Joseph Scrimshaw for commentary on today’s movie! Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (also known by its subtitle, The Phantom Menace) is a 1999 Americanepic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Universal. The first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the film stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Ray Park, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August and Frank Oz. The film was Lucas’ first production as a film director after a 22-year hiatus following the original Star Wars film, and his fourth film overall. The film’s narrative follows the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. They escort and protectQueen Amidala, who is traveling from the planet Naboo to the planet Coruscant, hoping to find a peaceful end to a large-scale interplanetary trade dispute. The story also features a young Anakin Skywalker before he became a Jedi; he is introduced as a young slave boy who appears to have unusually strong nascent powers of the Force and must contend with the mysterious return of the Sith. Lucas began production of this film after he concluded that film special effects had advanced to the level he wanted for the fourth film in the saga. Filming started on June 26, 1997, at locations including Leavesden Film Studios and the Tunisian desert. Its visual effects included extensive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI); some of its characters and settings were completely computerized and did not exist in the real world.