Star Wars: The Making of ‘Episode I: The Phantom Menace’

An Imperial Star Destroyer plus a doughnut equals a Neimoidian battleship. So reveals Phantom Menace design director Doug Chiang, as he’s discussing how the previous Star Wars films influenced the conceptual planning of Episode I. Fans of Star Wars, of course, love to get this kind of skinny, and THE MAKING OF EPISODE I doesn’t disappoint. In this comprehensive account of Phantom Menace’s origins, packed with page after page of behind-the-scenes sketches and set photos, you also learn about the many hairdos of the Jedi, how Huttese is based on the Incan language Catua, and what a huge influence Young Indiana Jones had on Episode I’s seat-of-the-pants, guerrilla-style production.


All the films in the Star Wars saga share unusual origins, but Phantom Menace may take the prize with its ground-breaking technology, nonlinear digital production process, strenuous casting demands, and, of course, the idiosyncratic style of Lucas himself, with his focus on editing and collaboration with actors and designers. The veterans of quite a few “making of” books and documentaries, Laurent Bouzereau (Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays) and Jody Duncan (Cinefex magazine) don’t miss a trick, combining exclusive Lucas interviews with blow-by-blow recountings of every stage in the process, from initial script development and casting to storyboarding, costume design, and set-building through to shooting, editing, and scoring. —Paul Hughes,