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Headscratchers: The Phantom Menace
  • Was that place that Maul, Kenobi, and Qui-Gon fight in built specifically for them to fight in? I mean seriously, what kind of architect puts cat walks with no railings, and laser death gates that go off every 30 seconds for no reason?
    • The kind that knows that it's a power facility that will only have engineers running around with hoverbelts attached or droids.
    • Yeah but what purpose did those laser gates serve? Even if the facility was meant to have droids walking around, what was with the gates that would evaporate anyone who walked into it.
      • Who knows what the power system needs? It's not like people are supposed to be walking around there normally with the generators online.
    • Hey, don't bad-mouth that architect! The power core on Naboo was just one of many startlingly innovative projects he worked on, such as the vast central ventilation shaft at Cloud City, the trash compacting systems on Death Star I, and the landing pads on the floating cities of Geonosis. Spending $0 on safety measures was the signature of his architectural style.
  • Why didn't Qui-Gon Jinn tell the Council that Tatooine still had slavery and send Jedi there to free the slaves?
    • Because they're peace-keepers and not an army that's going to take over a whole planet, occupy it, and force it to change its economic system.
    • Plus, Tatooine isn't part of the Republic- it belongs to the Hutts. The Hutts have been slaveholders for millennia and are extremely unlikely to change their practices just because the Jedi tell them to, and if the Jedi occupied the planet and forced it to change, that's what we call an act of war. Now, the Republic would probably win a war against the Hutts, but it's still something nobody wants.
      • Also remember that the Republic was essentially demilitarized at this point, while the Hutts were probably rather well-armed, what with being gangsters and all. A war would have started out badly for the Republic, even if they won eventually.
  • A few things about Anakin's introduction have always bugged me.
    • First of all: if Shmi Skywalker is around forty years old in the first movie, how did she go her entire life without ever having sex? Yeah, I get it: this is never stated outright, and the movie's aimed at kids and they can't mention sex. Still...a woman getting unexpectedly pregnant and not knowing who the father is isn't that unusual (sadly). But in Real Life, you'd think the woman would have at least some idea of who the father might be, or would at least have something to say about it other than a mystified "There was no father! I can't explain what happened!"
      • Plenty of people go their whole lives without having sex. Also she could have had sex, just not nine months before Anakin's birth.
      • She didn't have to go her whole life without sex. Simply not having any in the year before Anakin was born would be enough.
      • The fact that she's a slave would give good reason for her not to have sex. She might be beaten for being less efficient by being pregnant, her child might be sold away from her, or she could be outright forbidden to do so. Sure, her owner seemed like he wasn't the type to do that, but she might want to err on the side of caution or she might have had a different owner before she had Anakin.
    • Secondly: in Real Life, you'd think the Jedi would be at least a little skeptical about this explanation before jumping to the conclusion that the child was "conceived by the living Force!" So...apparently, they don't teach sex-ed at the Jedi academy. But no one even considers that maybe Shmi just got knocked up and forgot about it. Or, more sadly: she's a slave...she could have been raped by a previous master and blocked out the traumatic memory.
      • Jedi can probably sense when someone's lying, and it seems they didn't here.
      • That wouldn't help if she genuinely believed it.
      • Blocking out rape memory isn't a terribly realistic possibility. Even the idea of blocking traumatic experiences is scientifically controversial.
    • Well, her son has more force power than really anyone else ever, so that's evidence for her theory.
      • It's fully explained in Star Wars: Darth Plagueis. Plagueis and Sidious/Palpatine tried to alter midi-chlorians so that they could conceive a being of their own creation. The Force says 'Screw you' and counters with Shmi's progeny.
  • So, here's Qui-Gon Jinn on Tatooine, and he's just found out that the guy who's got the starship part he needs won't take his money. Jedi mind tricks don't work. What does he do? Find a weak-minded money-changer who *will* take his Republic credits, get some of the local currency and go back? No. Instead, he enters a pre-teen boy in a suicidal Death Race driving a makeshift hot-rod the kid built himself. No wonder the Jedi were having trouble....
    • Qui Gon does not believe in coincidences, and likely sensed Anakin being force-sensitive the second he met him. He likely took it as a sign; the Force telling him, "You're supposed to be here, and you're supposed to find this kid."
    • That actually makes a surprising amount of sense, really. Doesn't necessarily preclude him changing the money and just buying Anakin, but if we view the race as a test of his abilities it at least moves it from "suicidally stupid" to "risky, but made sense at the time." Yay for tropeage!
    • Yeah. It's not like there was a political crisis happening, or that Qui Gon was risking other people's property on dangerous bets. The kid is clearly top priority here. I'm sure the Jedi Council and the Senate would understand the delay and gambling.
    • Qui-Gon's just the Jedi version of The Last DJ. Think of Captain Kirk getting promoted to admiral despite being a loose cannon who thinks the rules are beneath him. Well, I imagine Qui-Gon has reached the "Admiral Kirk" stage of his career where he's become a widely respected Jedi Master and everyone sort of grudgingly tolerates his unorthodox ways. In other words, he did it because he's just Crazy Awesome like that.
  • I have a problem with the way Darth Maul died. He clearly showcased that he was a stronger and more agile warrior than either Obi-Wan or Qui-Gon as he takes on both of them with no trouble at all, mortally wounding Qui-Gon and disarming Obi-Wan and knocking him down a cliff. Instead of finishing Obi-Wan off as he easily could have he just stands there and gives Obi-Wan a decisive glare so as to mock him and flails his lightsaber around like a child. This showboating gives Obi-Wan enough time to jump out of the hole he was in, retrieve his lightsaber and cut Maul in half. Maul does nothing to stop this. At all. It just seemed like the plot called for Maul to be stupid for those precious few moments so that Obi-Wan could be guaranteed to survive into the Original Trilogy. What makes it even worse is that over a decade later Obi-Wan has the nerve to say that having the high ground automatically equals a victory in a fight as a means to get Anakin to stand down when clearly that isn't true as Obi-Wan himself proved against Maul.
    • Higher ground is never a guarantee of victory. It is, however, a major advantage. Obi-Wan,in a last act of compassion toward his former apprentice, was just warning Anakin that he had a much better advantage, and that Anakin shouldn't be foolish enough to push his luck. Obi-Wan won the fight with Anakin because he had the advantage of higher ground and his guard was up. Maul lost because he was dumb enough to lower his guard.
      • Yes but that doesn't change the fact that Maul could have easily finished Obi-Wan off by using a simple force push, which we saw him use to knock Obi-wan into the pit. Instead, he just takes his time when before he was shown to be an impatient warrior (pacing while Qui-gon meditated) and is killed as a result.
      • Possibly exerting his powers to perform that Force Push left Maul slightly out of it for a few seconds? He's supposed to have been rather weak in the Force, as that's the flaw that made him suitable for Palpatine's apprenticeship.
      • He could have reached down and touched Obi-wan's hands with his lightsaber. or when obi-wan jumped up, cut him in half instead of standing there. Or just keep him around for the rest of the prequel trilogy.
    • Maul supposedly really liked killing Jedi. He finished Qui-Gon off quickly because he still had Obi-Wan to contend with, but once Obi was hanging in the shaft, it didn't really matter and Maul could screw around as much as he wanted. The Villain Ball trope exists for a reason, and the reason is, people do that.
      • This also plays into the common problem with Pride in villains. He wanted to toy with him for awhile.
    • Still makes him look like an idiot. Sure, Obi-Won may be disarmed, but it's not like Jedi don't have some way to grab weapons from a distance.
    • Remember, Obi-wan is an apprentice. Maul just took out Qui-Gon Jinn. He doesn't think that it's possible for a relative rookie to be able to do that.
      • The simplest explanation is that the creators think Viewers Are Morons and made the scene overly slow, segmented, and deliberate so that everyone could clearly tell what exactly Obi-Wan did. I like to imagine he actually quickly executed a jump in the blink of an eye (like Luke jumping out of the carbon freezing chamber in Episode V - he jumps faster than a non-force-assisted jump, not just farther) and Maul was confused why he was jumping over him while weaponless, and Obi-Wan then pulled Qui-Gon's saber over and slashed Maul through in one rapid fluid motion while Maul was still in the split-second decision of whether he should stab or take a defensive stance.
      • ^That's how the novelization describes it. It even says that Maul was still spinning around to face Obi-Wan as the lightsabre reached Obi-Wan's hand.
  • How the hell do you blockade a planet? How are they not self sufficient, so far as food and such is concerned?
    • Depends on the population size and the amount of food actually produced on the planet, as well as whatever other products are/are not manufactured on the planet. And you cut off access to spaceports/unloading facilities or just plain shoot down anything that pops into the local space (there is a limit to how close to a gravitational body a ship can get in hyperspace before the gravity well pulls it out to prevent unfortunate meetings of star/planet/Interdictor Cruiser and ship). However, on Naboo, which has at least one entirely self-sufficient population (the Gungans), it does seem odd. Then again, if the guys up in space blockading your planet are willing to shoot down anyone trying to get in, what's stopping them from turning those lasers on the ground?
    • Naboo doesn't have Tibana gas that powers blasters, so that's at least one thing they need. There's probably other fictional elements they need, but can't be produced on Naboo. Also, it didn't look like a simple blockade, as they had ground troops as well, and given multiple references that her people were dying, it looks like the Trade Federation declared all out war on Naboo.
    • The blockade probably was a military strategy as much as anything. Naboo's military doesn't seem all that robust, so the blockade was enforced to keep ground reinforcements out and let the droids do their thing unimpeded.
      • The blockade was both land and space based. If you take over a planet and prevent food shipments from reaching cities from farms and the like, you're going to cause mass starvation. Simple.
      • No food lines or mobs roving about to be seen in Theed, though.
      • Cause most of the population got moved into internment camps.
      • Not seen before the invasion, either.
    • Leaving aside the practicalities of blockading a planet - which have already been touched upon (not all starships being equipped to land outside spaceports and similar landing areas, there existing resources which Naboo doesn't have, such as Tibanna gas, etc) - the idea might not have been to hurt Naboo much - remember, the Trade Federation's spin was that it was a show of force related to the taxation of trade to worlds along Outer Rim trade routes, and Naboo is presented as being in or near the Outer Rim. That it left the Trade Federation in an excellent position to launch an invasion was a nice bonus.
    • Well, if you forbid the import of luxury goods, such as cars, computers, glass, everything other than food, assuming Naboo has a fairly small population (not more than a few million), they would still be greatly affected.
    • Plus, in Star Wars most FTL travel seems to be done via designated hyperspace travel routes. Blockading the planet could beas simple as blocking access to those routes.
  • So, Padmé (if that really is your name)...
    • You're the last free agent of your planet's government, so you've disguised yourself as a handmaiden and have a decoy in place. Fair enough. Why is this decoy sending you away to clean a droid far, far away from where any briefings or emergency news might be taken? Verisimilitude has it limits.
      • I was under the impression that they keep switching places (yes, I know that one is Natalie Portman and the other is Keira Knightley).
      • I came up with two possibilities. First option: it's a game. Padme and Panaka do the switch places relatively often and whenever they do they each leap at the chance to assign the other to some sort of manual labour (normally handmaidens wouldn't spend their time cleaning things anyway). This is just the continuation of the game. Second option: Padme wants to do it. She's tired, she's stressed and the chance to spend a bit of time doing something useful with her hands that doesn't require any mental effort is actually pretty relaxing for her.
    • What I want to know is, if she's supposed to be in hiding as a decoy, why does the "queen" still call address handmaiden-Padme by her real name? I remember when I first saw Episode 1 I thought Amidala was a first name, and Padme was a completely fake name, but then she kept being called Padme throughout the series! Are you saying that during her rule nobody knew her first name?
      • I took it to mean that Padme's team of handmaidens and Panaka knew what she was doing, and were just expected to play along. It doesn't explain why none of the Jedi ever manage to figure out that she is actually the Queen - especially when Qui Gon and Padme keep on having disagreements.
      • Qui-Gon does know. Pay attention to the scene where Padme says she's going to come along with them into town. Qui-Gon's expression and tone of voice clearly say "'Handmaiden', huh? Right, pull the other one." He just chooses not to argue with her because he probably realizes it's not worth it.
    • Why are you going with the Jedi (who has no idea who you really are) into the hot-as-hell, crime-ridden slum city? And why didn't your security chief stop you? Remember, you are the only elected official who has managed to escape. There is no one else the Trade Federation doesn't have under their thumb. STAY IN THE SHIP.
      • ^ In the novelization Pananka tries to stop her but she pulls rank and ignores him. Obi-Wan also objects to her presence but feels he can't argue with Sabé/Amidala.
      • For better or worse, it's in Padmé's character not to care about her own safety. In Attack of the Clones, she was the one insisting they rescue Obi-Wan after the Council ordered Anakin to stay on Tatooine. As for why the security chief didn't stop her... maybe he's not in on the decoy thing?
      • The situations aren't equivalent. In AotC, she's a senator of a free planet that has an extra senator kicking around back on Coruscant. In PM, she's among the very last hopes of a captive people in danger of mass genocide. There is no excuse whatsoever for her to go traipsing out into their galaxy's version of Juarez. And supplementary materials indicate that Captain Panaka was aware of her true identity-in the movie, after she goes off with Qui Gon, he hesitates for a second before going back to the ship, which was meant as extremely subtle/nearly non-existent foreshadowing.
      • Which might be part of the reason for why they never told anybody about the swap: as much as anyone else knows, the Queen is back onboard the ship, and nobody seems to know it beyond the inner circle. So therefore if Padme was lost, they would simply continue the ruse that the imposter is the true queen. After all: who in the know would *care* that it wasn't the case, since they have bigger fish to fry? So while it is still risky, fundamentally they don't really lose the whole "last hope"
    • You don't let the Jedi know who you are? You know, the ones protecting you? Some stray laser blasts, some coming at you, the handmaiden, and some coming at the decoy Queen-who are the Jedi going to protect? They might be among the small, tightknit group you want to be in on the secret, but then again, if they knew they wouldn't have let you go into that slum you really, really wanted to see.
      • She was doing this to ensure her safety, and the Jedi seemed to have come right the fuck out of nowhere (if memory serves). So, even though they were keeping her safe, she probably didn't want to take the chance of her and her decoy getting found out by telling the Jedi. What if one of them slipped up, or got tortured, or had Jedi Mind Tricks used on them? Anything could happen. It may not have been a risk she wanted to take.
      • Another issue is that the Jedi had absolutely no proof they were on the good side. Her land has been taken over and two men in Jedi uniforms just happen to save her. Could easily have been some elaborate plan so not instantly trusting them and giving the information would make some sense — though this idea is never discussed so...
      • An elaborate plan to do what exactly? To kidnap the queen who has already been captured? Even if she was paranoid enough to not tell them on Naboo by the time they were on Coruscant it should have been rather obvious that these were who they said they were. Did she want to risk a scheduling mix up getting one of her maids forced to make serious political decisions with everyone assuming that the queen was making the decisions?
    • Do you keep your wardrobe on your spaceship, or are all those clothes just a backup? Why do you have a wardrobe to rival and surpass that of Elizabeth I when you're a democratically elected official? Does the Naboo Seamstresses' Guild fashion ten thousand new outfits made to fit the new monarch each time one is elected, or do they modify the old ones? What of earth do the Kings of Naboo wear? (Kilts, I hope.)
      • Simple: buying or commissioning them like anybody else who can pay for them (one way or another) can. And as for why they'd do that? A combination of prestige-raising spectacle and good old fashion peacockery. It's worth remembering that the Old Republic isn't quiiite as uniformly democratic as the real life West, so it's quite likely this would impress the more autocratic leaders more than a plain jane queen would (and by extension display the power and prestige of the Naboo on the galactic stage better, which is especially important because they can't do so militarily).
      • Speaking of Kings of Naboo...where the hell are they? Do they even "have" Kings?
      • Presumably they'd have a King of Naboo if a boy won the election.
      • Padme's predecessor was one King Veruna, so yes, they can and do have kings. During the timeline of the movies, they've just had a string of queens.
    • If they were elected, they wouldn't be kings or queens. The English language does not work that way. Also who elects a fourteen year old? Presuming these people are regular humans there's no reason why they let kids vote let alone become ruler of an entire planet! Evidently only a fourteen year old would be stupid enough not to have kind of proper military (Felix the Cat all over again...) and do they have the same legal rights as adults? If there was a military would they serve in it? What about education? Actually considering they're all so insane over there to allow a fourteen year old to control the planet then it makes sense that she's quite comfortable to go into the dangerous city when she is her planet's only hope. Conclusion: Naboo is full of crazy people and really they should have died to save the universe.
      • Even ignoring the whole "your definition of Kings is not the 'verse's definition" copout, Elective monarchies existed for centuries in Europe and to a lesser degree elsewhere, with examples like the Visigothic Kingdom of Spain before the Muslims invaded. Indeed, part of the reason for Heredity monarch (and especially Absolutism) catching on in Europe was because it remedied some of the worse problems some of these societies had: namely the inevitable Succession Crisis they tended to have, and the backstabbing, bloodshed, and general instability that came along with them. Of course, it's worth noting that the candidates (and in real life the only people who could do the "electing") were drawn from a few elite families, so it wasn't like Juan Doe could go and Run for King. This comparatively exclusive starting point would actually finish off a lot of your problems about how they'd interact with society at large (since their birth would make them considerably more protected and privileged than a normal John Doe). In short: Truth. In. Television.
      • Generally those elective monarchies had voting done by hereditary elites and other major figures without term limits. That isn't much of a democracy and it doesn't address how a teenager was given real executive power. The best answer for it is that they wanted to appeal to kids and so used a character supposedly in her teens and made her be a queen.
      • Maybe she doesn't have real power? The elite nobility chose her as a puppet figurehead, but now that they're out of the way, she gets the chance to actually use her power. There have been successful teenage monarchs in real life.
  • On a related note, why did the Senate not believe that Naboo was under attack? The whole planet has been blockaded, and suddenly there's a communications breakdown, and the Queen shows up to say they've been invaded. She has dozens of witnesses with her, including two Jedi who had been entrusted as diplomatic envoys to end the blockade. Yet there is no proof? How long does it take to send a small cruiser to Naboo, take some satellite photos and report back (since instantaneous communication is possible, as evidenced by Senator Palpatine's hologram conversation with the council)? What power does the Senate have to end the invasion anyway, since it won't have an army until the next movie?
    • I assumed the Federation representatives were denying that it was their droid army that was occupying Naboo, not that an occupation was happening. It's not like the droids were painted with the Trade Federation logo or anything.
    • did you forget that they had a hologram message of telling them about the attack or the 2 jedi knights
    • Also, why didn't the Jedi Council take more of a hand? You send two of your people as peace envoys and they're almost killed repeatedly, not only by the people they're meant to be envoys to, but also by a living example of your "extinct" mortal enemies, whilst protecting the legitimate ruler of a conquered planet...and you send the same two envoys back with no backup whatsoever? They didn't even send a memo to the Senate to beef up their envoys' credibility! These are the protectors of peace and justice in the galaxy after all!
  • What bugs me is all the people who rush to trash this movie and in the process get things wrong. The biggest example is the people who claim the Prequel Trilogy ruined the Force by "turning it into a disease". Did people not listen to the actual dialogue? Midi-chlorians don't generate force, they're just drawn to it; all they are is an excuse to give Force-sensitive people a measurable Dragon Ball-style Power Level. While it is kind of silly to attempt and quantify such things, it's certainly not "magic powers as a disease".
    • According to the Wookiepedia, midi-chlorians don't generate force, but they aren't just a nice indicator. The amount of force around is always the same; midi-chlorians just allow their host to be attuned to it. Therefore, the more midi-chlorians, the more force the host can control at any one instant.
    • The analogy comes from the stated fact that the more midi-chlorians one has, the more Force-sensitive they are, and the more powerful they are. It sounds like measuring how many HIV are in your blood before you have AIDS. Part of the frustration comes from the fact that Yoda, a beloved character who spent 800 years honing his skills as a Jedi, is immediately upstaged by a 10-year-old boy because his midi-chlorian count is higher. Training? Action? Discipline, skill? Doesn't matter, because this kid's midi-chlorian count is higher, so it's up to him to rule the fate of the galaxy. If we go meta, midi-chlorians can also be thought as part of the disease that began leaching from the Star Wars franchise with the making of this movie.
    • Err, Anakin always had a freakishly high amount of raw power, but training, discipline and skill do matter, as should be made obvious by the end of Revenge of the Sith, where we see Anakin (who's high on the dark side at the time, making him even more powerful in the arena of general destruction) get beat by Obi-wan- an average-power Jedi who knows how to keep a level head in a fight and is an expert swordsman. Raw ability isn't everything- to use a real world example, just because someone has the highest IQ ever measured, that doesn't automatically mean that they're an expert in, say, theoretical physics. A midi-chlorian count just measures potential, not whether you've reached said potential.
      • But it took two movies to establish that midi-clorians weren't everything-two movies that were full of "Anakin is the Chosen One because he has more midi-chlorians than anyone else!" Eventually it was shown that training can trump midi-chlorian count, but that that it doesn't change that Anakin is still the most important character solely because of how many midi-chlorians he has. It's the only thing that makes him important, and it makes him more important than anyone else.
      • It means that Anakin has the potential to become the most powerful Jedi ever. Is there any indication that untrained, ten-year-old Anakin would be a match for anyone with Jedi or Sith training, and didn't you notice him losing soundly to Count Dooku in Episode II?
      • In the same way being HIV+ gives you the potential for developing AIDS. Therefore, disease metaphor.
    • Also, the original trilogy made it quite clear that there are biological factors affecting Force potential. The whole reason why Luke was so important was that he was the son of Anakin Skywalker and thus had greater potential than just about anyone else.
  • Why isn't the Naboo Queen's Cruiser Armed? Yes, the Naboo want to show they're peaceful, but in galaxy full of crooks it seems stupid. Furthermore, why didn't the fighter pilots pilot the fighters in the beginning? Why did they go in the Queen's cruiser?
    • In real life we do see people in peaceful societies who become skilled at arms. They do it for their own pleasure, or because it is traditional in their society, or because they have a secret hankering to be fighters in a world grown safe. Sometimes situations arise when they get their wish.
      • It might have been completely unintentional but the movie does point out that a pacifist planet is only viable if every other state and organization is peaceful or if the planet's security is guaranteed by a more powerful outside force. Absent that you're going to get results like a megacorp taking over. Of course it doesn't make much sense that a pacifist planet would train its monarchs in how to use guns in combat or keep a space fighter force but not bother with basic defences for the monarch's ship.
      • Same thing definitely applies. We see the ship again when it lands on Coruscant in Attack of the Clones. It has a contingent of silly yellow fighter ships surrounding it.
  • Why exactly did Padme's double order her to clean R2 after they escaped. Wouldn't that both be disrespectful and a pointless activity for a head of state who should really be thinking about her next move?
  • For what reason did Qui-Gon even consider bringing Jar-Jar with him to Tatooine? Jar-Jar clearly isn't good with machinery, isn't a good negotiator, has no specialized knowledge about Tatooine (or any knowledge about Tatooine) and admitted to being so clumsy that he got banished. Even worse, he's an amphibian on a visibly wet planet with no known deserts. Shouldn't taking him out of the relative safety of the ship be tantamount to murder?
    • It probably wasn't Qui Gon's decision. Remember, Jar Jar was stuck on the whole life-debt thing, so he probably insisted on going with Qui Gon. Plus, seriously, he's not that fragile. You're acting like him just stepping out of the ship should have killed or crippled him instantly.
      • It might very well have had those consequences. Qui-Gon clearly had little to no knowledge of Gungans before he met Jar-Jar, Jar-Jar isn't exactly a source of wisdom and so far all they've seen is that Jar-Jar is native to a very wet environment that includes spending a good deal of time underwater. Considering that Jar-Jar isn't wearing any protective clothing and hasn't had any time to acclimate (which strangely isn't a problem for anyone else either) it wouldn't be out of the question to worry that the heat could be fatal for him.
      • It might not actually be that hot. You're right, the heat doesn't affect anyone else, and nobody seems to be put out by it at all. "Desert" just refers to the amount of precipitation—there are places on Earth classified as deserts that are frozen most of the year. It might just be that Tatooine's temperature is fairly moderate, it's just really dry.

  • Who's to say that it isn't what he wanted to happen? Oops...Sorry about the heat.
  • In regards to the temperature of Tatooine, did we see anybody wearing sweat-soaked tank-tops, driving air-conditioned speeders, and drinking lots of water to avoid heat stroke? Or do we see them wandering around in baggy long-sleeved outfits while speeding around in open-topped vehicles? It's dry, it's sandy, it's got twice as many suns as most places do, and the wind is a bit of a killer too. But we never see much indication that it's hot.
  • It was also an economically depressed area with very little industrialization, they probably make most of their own clothes themselves, the speeders are that way because the wind is probably cheaper than air conditioning, and how would they get that water to be drinking constantly the planet is so dry that moisture farming became a viable industry.
  • Qui-Gon does this sort of thing all the time, apparently. Obi-Wan certainly reacts to it like it's something he's been putting up with for awhile. Qui-Gon probably has a habit of finding down-on-their-luck individuals and letting them tag along on some adventures until they find a better situation for themselves. Considering Jar-Jar winds up becoming a general, and then a senator, because of tagging along with Qui-Gon, it worked.
  • Two things bug me about this movie. First, when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are battling Darth Maul, how do they manage to leap from a platform onto another one about twenty feet below,land on their feet, and not break any bones? Does the Force make that possible? Second thing...when Shmi tells Qui-Gon that her son had no father, why does he calmly accept this without checking it out? Surely this is an extraordinary claim (unless children are routinely conceived by midi-chlorians), so why doesn't Qui-Gon appear the least bit skeptical? You'd think he would want at least a little more information about this incident.
    • I hate to pick nits, especially because I'm new to the whole Star Wars fandom. But being a Believer doesn't make you stupid. I know belief can strongly predispose someone to accept an unusual explanation for any given incident, and I'm sure that a prophecy would carry a great deal of weight for Qui-Gon. But still...we have only one example in history of a child born with no father. The news was first heard by people who'd lived in the shadow of prophecy all their lives and were nothing if not Believers. And, to attach credence to this report, at least two supernatural visions were needed. So it still doesn't make sense that Qui-Gon just nods and, with his trademark deadpan expression, simply accepts it on the force of one or two sentences and a blood test.
    • Really?? Immaculate Conception is less far-fetched than that Shmi was mistaken somehow? Oookay.. On a related but separate topic, which is really more of a question about how the Star Wars universe works, I guess: Wouldn't Shmi have had a super-duper midi-chlorian count, too? I always assumed that Jedi-ness was inherited since Anakin and his two kids were all Force-compatible or whatever. Also, her being ..knocked up by midi-chlorians must mean that she had a bunch of them ..right (God that sounds dumb and awful)? So, anyway, shouldn't Qui-Gon or the other Jedis have been at least a little more interested in rescuing her? Is it because she was too old?
    • I think in the novelization Qui-Gon can feel she's force sensitive too but not nearly to Anakin's degree, causing him to ask about the father thing.
    • Oh, who cares about breaking bones? How about this: early in the film, both Obi-War and Qui Gon use super speed dashing to escape two heavy robots. So... why didn't Obi-Wan do a super speed dash to join Qui-Gon while fighting Maul? Even using the film's own reality, it manages to shatter suspension of belief.
    • Because then this would have happened.note 
  • Seriously, why is it called "The Phantom Menace"? All of the other movie titles make some degree of sense, except this one.
    • Palpatine. He's a menace, but nobody knows it.
      • Well, this is super nitpicky but what the hell: Wouldn't that make Palpatine the exact opposite of a phantom menace? A phantom (metaphorically and in actuality if you believe in ghosts) is something that appears substantial and threatening but in fact is not. The soon-to-be emperor appears benign and even benevolent when he is in fact the most dangerous man in the galaxy. Seems like they were going for something like "The Unseen Menace" or "The Secret Menace" but wanted to use the word "phantom" for some reason...
      • Whoa, I just got it! The phantom menace was the Trade Federation! Palpatine was using them (and continues to use them in the other films) to create a diversionary "menace" to allow him to consolidate power. Now the name makes sense. It's still pretty dern clunky though...
      • "Phantom" has different meanings — another is something elusive and hidden. Frankly, the film's title is the least of its troubles.
    • Another possible interpretation is that Qui-Gon is the eponymous menace. His actions are what kick off the rest of the prequel trilogy and ultimately bring about the collapse of the Jedi. And he never knows it.
      • Seriously? "Phantom" refers to the Sith, people. A "long dead thing that returns from the dead to cause problems" = Phantom. And the movie is, very obviously, about the return of the Sith to the galaxy after a hundred years missing.
    • Maybe, it refers to Anakin?
  • This has bugged me ever since I saw the movie as a little kid; why do they need a new hyperdrive? This is clearly a universe with large amounts of space-travel, and it has been established that the hutts rule multiple planets from the planet they are on. That means that lots of ships probably travel to and from this planet, and the world they need to go to is pretty much the centre of the galaxy. Are there really no ships going there? Surely, if the queen's clothing (highest quality, designer clothing) is not enough to buy the equivalent of 6 plane tickets, they can still sell the ship itself to Watto (royal yacht that he already knows he has the right repair materials for). Are there no ships for hire? no IN SPACE! equivalent of taxis or buses?
    • We see the IN SPACE! equivalent of a bus in the next movie, when Padme, Anakin and R 2 D 2 go to Naboo in secret. Because her life was much more under threat in that movie, she could allow herself to slum it and keep a low profile.
  • Why is the disguised Padme using her real name? In the following movies, she is referred to as "Padme" and "Senator Amidala." But she freely admits while she's supposed to be playing the handmaiden that her name is Padme. Anybody in the United States knows that "Barack" is President Obama's first name; while the Jedi and Jar Jar may or may not have known the queen's first name, it seems really stupid to just go around telling people her name is Padme.
    • Some supplemental materials indicate that while disguised as a handmaiden, she goes by her real name, "Padme Naberrie", rather than her more widely-known royal name, "Padme Amidala" (presumably, the ceremonial title is held for life, which is why people still call her "Senator Amidala" when she isn't the Queen anymore). So, she at least made an effort to disguise her name, even if it was a pretty flimsy one. Maybe "Padme" is just a common first name in the Star Wars universe. It could be somewhat akin to President George W. Bush going by the fake name "George W. Smith". Having the first name "George" wouldn't be a big cause for suspicion.
      • She doesn't use the name Padme as queen, just Amidala (many real life monarchs also use only one name). She only goes by Padme Amidala after becoming a senator, where using the name of the resourceful queen who defeated the Trade Federation could give her additional political weight.
  • So the heroes are going to the massive battle, all prepared... and they take Anakin with them... okay... why? Qui-Gon does say "watch me fight" as non-training "training" but then his first command is to hide and therefore not be able to see any of the Jedi skills. They don't send the kid Jedis out to fight do they? They can defend themselves (like in the third one) but that's no reason to bring an untrained kid into a war zone. Then again, Qui-Gon has been making odd choices throughout the whole film... but really? Nobody questioned bringing a child to a war zone!
    • As much as I hate to defend anything about this movie, this is probably the one thing that didn't really bother me. Think about it for a moment: What should they have done with the kid? Left him in the Jedi Temple, with a bunch of stodgy old-heads that don't want him there? With Palpatine, who is busy gearing up for his campaign to be elected chancellor (and being secretly evil)? Or on the starship, which was found within minutes of their arrival? Or maybe with the Gungans, who are about to make a suicidal charge against an enemy they know full well they can't defeat?
      • "Left him in the Jedi Temple, with a bunch of stodgy old-heads that don't want him there?" Yes, this one. As much as they didn't want Anakin around, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that spending a week as an unwanted guest of the Jedi Council was infinitely preferable to being shot at hundreds and hundreds of times.
      • ^ Exactly. I would much rather hang out with crabby old men than go into a warzone.
  • So when travelling from a Republic planet to the Republic capital, our heroes somehow manage to end up far away from the Republic in a place where the Republic has no influence and its credits are worthless. What route were they taking?
    • The first one they were able to that kept them from being shot.
    • And, Tatooine being in Hutt space is important because "the Trade Federation has no presence there." Going to any Republic planet in the hyperdrive's range runs the risk of being spotted by Trade Federation assets, and having to fight off an attempt to recapture the Queen. Of course, that happened anyway.
  • Why exactly are Republic credits worthless on Tatooine? It's a form of currency, Tatooine is controlled by organized crime and not anti-Republic zealots and it's rather common to have money changers at a black market. Tatooine has spaceports and employment for smugglers so clearly they do plenty of trade off-world. It can't be fears of someone tracking the credits or Qui-gon wouldn't have offered them. It can't be due to the credit being too weak against whatever currency they use on Tatooine, the Republic seems to be where most of the rich developed planets are. Have the people of Tatooine never heard of exchange rates?
    • I think the problem was the amount. 20,000 credits is probably somewhat hard to change, especially with a total lack of non-criminal government. The exchange rates are probably too unpredictable since the local currency is not the Republic credit and there is probably no actual bank to make exchanges. Watto probably knows most people he does business with do not use Republic credits, so he refuses to use them as well. His business is made up of himself, a nine year old, and the nine year old's mother (never mind that the latter two are slaves). It is highly doubtful he goes into Republic space regularly.
      • Put it this way: A store in, say, Texas might be willing to take a handful of Canadian dollars if that's all a patron had to spend on something small, like a meal or a candy bar or something. But a car dealership in Texas probably wouldn't take $20,000 in Canadian cash.
      • Also, remember that they were trying to be inconspicuous. Walking into a bank with $20,000 in cash and trying to do a currency exchange is a really quick and easy way to draw attention to yourself.
    • Maybe Republic currency was not very valuable at the time.
  • What is the point of Darth Maul? I don't mean to sound petty, but I really have no idea why Maul needs to exist from a story perspective. One of the WMGs even works on the premise that he doesn't exist. If we want Qui-Gon Jinn to die (and there is a fair argument that QGJ doesn't need to exist either, but at least there's a half-decent counterargument), why can't Sidious kill him himself? He doesn't need to unmask himself in the process, and it would make the title less confusing. I can see the argument that it isn't Palpatine's style, but if he wanted to use someone else, why not introduce Count Dooku earlier (and keep him masked to prevent ruining the mystique of the next movie)? Maul does literally nothing else in any of the movies. I know he is explained a bit more in EU materials, but why not just keep him there instead of bringing him into the main franchise to complete a job anyone else could do? The cynical answer is marketing, I guess, but I'm trying to give Lucas the benefit of the doubt here.
    • In the original trilogy, Boba Fett did practically nothing and didn't even come close to killing a main character and people worship him. Maul was more important than Fett could ever hope to be.
  • What exactly was Palpatine's original plan? He wasn't expecting Amidala to escape the planet and assumed the Jedi would be killed. What would he gain from his home planet being taken over and his queen eventually being forced to sign an agreement with the Trade Federation making it legal? How would this do anything to increase his power? If anything you would expect anyone who didn't know that he was a Sith to assume that he was much weaker as a result and give him less credibility.
  • This has bugged me for a while. I'm interested in the Expanded Universe, and while i've read very little material, I did play KOTOR. In KOTOR 2, I believe, when you dock on Nar Shadaa, you get into an argument with a white Toydarian, who you can mind trick into letting you dock. Cut to 4000 years later where Watto, a Toydarian, cannot be affected by the JMT, why is that?
  • I'll admit its been a little while since I've watched the prequels but Red Letter Media raises a good point about the Darth Maul fight at the end and I was to distracted by the fight choreography to notice. What was at stake in that fight other than the lives of the participants? What were Qui Gon and Obi Wan on their way to do specifically when Darth Maul intervened? Or were they hunting Maul? And if so why? To stop him from what?
  • Darth Maul says to his master that they will have their revenge against the Jedi. Or maybe the Republic. That part isn't so clear. Revenge for what? Speaking of revenge indicates they feel they were wronged in the past by them somehow. What was that?
  • Here's one. The Gungan capital is said, in both supplementary material and more or less hinted in the film, that it is on the other side of the planet from the Naboo capital. Going through the core of the planet implies that the Naboo capital must be on some other part of the planet than the Gungan capital. Now, Naboo looks to be a planet slightly smaller than Earth. So, how did the Gungans manage to move an army of at least several hundred gungans (on foot) as well as all of their large, slow moving animals halfway around a planet to fight the Trade Federation in what seems to be less than a couple days? Considering that the Trade Federation probably had some technology to locate Amidala really quickly after she landed on Naboo, the Gungan army would have had about two days to move their entire army halfway around a planet. Yeah.
    • Through the planet's core again? They possibly might have larger submarines to transport armies.
    • Perhaps the Gungan bolt hole they ran to after the invasion was closer to the capital.
  • Darth Sidious always covers his face with his cowl when communicating with the Trade Federation to hide his Palpatine identity. So why doesn't he disguise his very distinctive voice too?
  • I'm not sure how big of a headscratcher this is, but did none of the Naboo pilots at the end of the film question why they have a pilot among them that sounds like a small child? They seem to hear him cheering via their comms and smile/nod in approval/agreement. I'll accept that the euphoria of liberating their planet trounced any questioning they had regarding this mysterious pilot that just showed up out of nowhere.

  • A minor thing, but remember how Qui-Gon and Padme are invited to Skywalkers' house for a dinner. There is a large basket of apples on the table. Apples. So, a single mother and her little kid, both in servitude of a stingy owner of a ramshackle mech shop in the official arid asshole of the galaxy can afford fresh fruit on their table without any special occasion? What the hell?

  • Isn't it strange that in the end of Phantom Menace, Padme didn't think of buying Anakin's mother out and freeing her? The boy helped save her planet, surely an idea to reward him would come around naturally. Moreover, Padme was there to see the dismal conditions Shmi lived in, surely she couldn't just forget about her completely.
    • I imagine Padmé is the type who doesn't believe in special treatment. While she could get Shmi freed, it wouldn't be fair to the other slaves. I imagine Padmé would be more likely to try and make motions in the Senate to get all the slaves freed at once. I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to do just that between TPM and AOTC, but once the issue of the Separatists came up, she had other things to focus on.
      • First, it's not "special treatment" (whatever the hell that is) - it's a reward. These are supposed to be special. Second, what other slaves? She knew none of them like she knew both Shmi and her son. Rule of empathy shall not be denied! Finally, your and mine ideas are not mutually exclusive. I totally sympathise with Padme dedicating her career in Senate to abolishing slavery among other good things - I just don't see how that prevented her from freeing one woman and making one boy (who, I'd like to reiterate, helped saving her freaking planet) happy right there and then. You know, saying: "I'll either make everybody happy or nobody!" is just a lame and mean excuse not to help anybody.
    • Shmi's not worth any effort it would take to free her. She's happy enough as a slave, and even if she isn't, there's enough at stake that a leader shouldn't be going out of their way to help every individual they feel sorry for (what has she done to earn a reward, anyway? She just happened to be Anakin's mother). And if Shmi was freed, the Jedi wouldn't exactly let her and Anakin have any family bonding. They had a hard enough time accepting him because he had so many attachments to begin with; there's no way they'll allow him to form any others at this point. Whether you agree with that policy doesn't matter; it's what the characters decide, and it's what's going to happen in the story.
      • Yes, she "just" happened to be a mother of a kid, who helped her refain her throne. Is our beloved queen an ungrateful bitch? The Jedi hesitated to take Anakin in, because he was "old", not because of the connections. And what does it matter anyway? She'd be free, safe and living in a nice place - that's what matters. As for "happy as a slave"... no. Just... no.
      • You don't get any rewards or punishments just for being a mother, no matter what your offspring did. You don't put mothers of serial killers in prison, do you? Simple as that. And the reason the Jedi say Anakin's too old is because he's old enough to have formed attachments to other people and things, and it's made pretty damn clear throughout the films that sort of thing is a no-no. It matters because one of the big points of your argument is that Shmi being freed would make Anakin happy; it wouldn't. We're never given much evidence that Shmi wouldn't be more or less content with her station in life. Doesn't matter whether you think she should be or not. And Cliegg Lars freeing her doesn't necessarily Shmi hates her slavery either, just that she's willing to let her buy him.
    • Her money was no good there, so buying Shmi was not an option. Of course if it wasn't for her staying, the Empire might have never come to fruition and Palpatine would be killed by Mace Windu.
      • Money can't have be the problem; there have to be currency exchangers somewhere in the galaxy, or she could barter something valuable in a pinch (or else sell it in exchange for whatever money they use in Tatoonie).
      • And Watto wasn't exactly in a good financial position after the podrace. He'd just "lost everything," so he would have been in the right frame of mind to sell his slaves.
    • Hey, she's got a planet to rebuild, an alliance with the Gungans to hammer out, loads of dead families to write to with death notices, and she never expects to see the kid again because the Jedi are supposed to be taking care of him. She either forgot and it got lost in the paperwork, or she assumed Obi Wan would have been on it.
      • What planet to rebuild? The Federation never ransacked the place, by the end it looks pretty prescine. Other things sure, but she's a queen! She has people to delegate such menial tasks. And I'd like to reiterate, this kid helped her retake her throne. Is our beloved queen an ungrateful bitch?
      • Except of course, that Qui-Gon was perfectly willing to Foce Rape Watto into accepting useless currency, i.e. rip him off. In comparison to that, using Force (or just good old force) to free a slave is downright heroic. And no, heroes do not and should not respect cruelty or injustice simply because it takes the form of a law or custom. Something about the whole "rebellion against evil empire" thing.
      • Which is why the question is, why didn't someone do it later when they were in a good position to free Shmi as well?
      • Someone like Cliegg Lars, who did exactly that?
      • Yes. Someone like him, but who could also provide her with a nice and safe place to live.
      • Perhaps it's possible that Padme or another character tried to free Shmi, but she didn't want to leave the planet where she spent most of her life on (and didn't want to burden Anakin with the past or something). Then Cliegg Lars came along who could provide her a life free from slavery while allowing her to stay on her home. Lars may have even received financial support from Naboo to be able to do this.
      • Burden him with the past, the hell? She's his mother! And that place was horrible, nobody in their right mind would prefer to live there if given a choice. And Lars obviously didn't receive any support, because when Anakin FINALLY decides to go and save her, Padme has no idea what happened to her.
    • Perhaps I may have forgotten some detail, but was slavery ever referred to as a bad thing within the Star Wars films? It's a universe where the good guys may engage with controversial things such as monarchy, cloning, death duels, religious indoctrination of small kids, and even plain terrorism. So, none of the good guys thought about liberating Shmi because of Values Dissonance.
      • "Such as monarchy"??? One of those things is not like the others.

  • Okay... so why exactly do all the battle droids shut down when the control ship is destroyed? They're not getting energy from it—just instructions. If C-3PO and R2D2 can make at least functional decisions on a battlefield without the assistance of a super-control station, why can't all those battle droids?
    • I'd guess that the battle droids' "brains" were on the ship; unlike R2 and C-3PO, they can't function on their own.
    • Yeah- the battle droids are all wired into the central computer so that they can't rebel against the Trade Federation (that's a big part of why they use droids in the first place, rather than living soldiers). R2 and 3PO are independent droids unconnected to any central mainframe in the first place. Notably, however, later versions of the battle droids fix the problem, as outlined in the RotS novelization- as opposed to shutting down, losing contact with the control ship's computer causes them to default to a list of standing orders, allowing them to continue to fight, albeit at reduced efficiency.
      • "Standing Order Number One was, appparently, 'Kill everything that moves.'" - Commander Cody on battle droids' thought processes after the main control system is knocked out and the droids revert to a series of standing orders.

  • Why didn't the Trade Federation give their battle droids personal shields like the droidekas had?
    • Because they're more expensive and limit their mobility. Note that there's rarely more than two droidekas fought at a time, and they don't activate the shield until they're standing still. Battle droids are designed to be cheap and expendable. Droidekas are Elite Mooks.
    • Fair enough, but what about those big ones from Episode 3? In fact why not go for smaller armies of more hardy machines instead of things that are, in the words of Lucas himself, useless?
    • The Trade Federation relies plenty on intimidation. A big army looks more intimidating than a small but skilled army. It wasn't until the Clone Wars that they needed to step up their game due to fighting an equally powerful army, thus having to make more specialized and intelligent droids.

  • Why did they have such vast ground forces in the first place?
    • The army was initially to fend off pirates but gradually turned into an intimidation asset to force higher payments and reimbursing of debts. The Trade Federation's army wasn't fully revealed to the Republic until the Battle of Naboo, though. It wasn't exactly legal.
      • They used to have a perfectly legal defense force that had actual people of various species in it at one point in time according to the EU. These guys actually did their job. This was when the TF was a protector of businesses rather than a business itself. The complete size and armament of the Trade Federation's 'security' forces was probably not openly advertised, though.

  • And why did they land so far away from Theed?

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