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Film / The Phantom Menace
aka: Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

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Obi-Wan Kenobi: I have a bad feeling about this.
Qui-Gon Jinn: I don't sense anything.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: It's not about the mission, Master. It's something... elsewhere. Elusive.

Turmoil has engulfed the
Galactic Republic. The taxation
of trade routes to outlying star
systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter
with a blockade of deadly
battleships, the greedy Trade
Federation has stopped all
shipping to the small planet
of Naboo.

While the congress of the
Republic endlessly debates
this alarming chain of events,
the Supreme Chancellor has
secretly dispatched two Jedi
Knights, the guardians of
peace and justice in the
galaxy, to settle the conflict....

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, or simply known as The Phantom Menace, is a 1999 Space Opera film and the first film of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. It was written and directed by franchise creator George Lucas, who took the director's chair for the first time since A New Hope. It was released on May 19th, 1999.

Thirty years before the destruction of the Death Star, a corrupt corporate conglomerate known as the Trade Federation blockades the small, peaceful planet of Naboo in protest of rising taxations. Hoping to resolve things peacefully, the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic sends the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) to serve as negotiators.

Under pressure from their ominous backer, the Trade Federation's ambassadors attack the Jedi and invade Naboo, forcing the Jedi to escape the planet with its young leader, Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman). Hoping to petition the Galactic Senate for aid, they set out on a journey to the Republic's capital — in the process discovering a young boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who is unnaturally strong in the Force...

The film also stars Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine, Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Frank Oz as Yoda, and Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks.

The film is followed chronologically by Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith.

As you know, these tropes are perfectly legal:

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    Tropes # to E 
  • Accidental Hero: In the climax, Anakin joins up with Bravo Squadron in a Naboo starfighter, then cripples the Droid Control Ship's deflector complete accident. He only joined the battle after being flown to the ship by the fighter's autopilot, and after crash-landing inside the ship, fired two stray torpedoes at its main reactor while trying to fire on a battalion of Battle Droids.
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • Jar Jar Binks ends up destroying much of the Trade Federation's battle droids during the Battle of Naboo by pure chance and coincidence. Examples include him opening up a crate of ammunition that rolls out and hits the droids, and shooting a bunch of them while trying to get unstuck to a destroyed droid.
    • Despite being forced to learn how to pilot a Naboo fighter pilot on the fly, Anakin ends up destroying the Trade Federation ship in space by accidentally firing two torpedos at the main reactor while trying to destroy some battle droids.
  • Action Girl: Padmé definitely counts, participating in the effort to storm the palace during the film's climax. Her handmaidens also definitely count, with several of them participating in the battle alongside their Queen.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • A costume example rather than a character, but Queen Amidala's iconic red gown and gold hair piece, that were slathered all over the marketing, only appear in three brief scenes at the beginning before vanishing from the film altogether.
    • Darth Maul, whose only scene of significance is his duel with the Jedi at the end. He has only three lines and only briefly appears up to that point. Nonetheless, he was featured all over the film's advertising campaign.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: Qui-Gon assures Obi-Wan that the negotiations with the Trade Federation regarding their blockade will be short because they're cowards. Sure enough, Viceroy Gunray opts to "negotiate" with poison gas and Battle Droids in lieu of setting foot in the room with two Jedi.
    Obi-Wan: You were right about one thing, Master: the negotiations were short.
  • Airstrike Impossible: Bravo Squadron's assault on the Battle Droid Control Ship. It quickly becomes clear that they have the deck stacked against them—the ship's deflector shield is too strong for their starfighters to penetrate, and the ship is heavily armed and has an endless supply of Droid Starfighters to launch against the tiny squadron of royal fighters. It takes Anakin's flight into the ship's hangar and sabotage of the ship's reactor to turn the tide.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: After escaping from two droideka robots inside the Trade Federation ship, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon use a ventilation shaft to move to the area where preparations for the invasion of Naboo are going on.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Zig-Zagged. Most alien characters speak Basic (the In-Universe equivalent of English), but others, like the Boonta Eve podracers, the Hutts and Wald (a slave Rodian child on Tatooine) are heard conversing in Huttese.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Qui-Gon lasts long enough to beg Obi-Wan to train Anakin.
  • All-Loving Hero: Qui-Gon shows no contempt for any living creature, not even for the ever irritating Jar Jar Binksnote , the scummy slave-trader and gambler Watto, or the ruthless Sith Lord Darth Maul.
  • All There in the Manual: Exactly what the Trade Federation is and the nature of the original trade dispute are never explained in the movie itself, but the tie-in materials went into greater detail about it. The novelization also explains some plot points in the film—for example, Qui-Gon cheated with Watto's chance cube game because he knew that Watto was playing with a loaded die.
  • All There in the Script: Anakin's mother is only identified as "Shmi Skywalker" in the end credits. Anakin just calls her, "Mom," naturally enough, and no one else ever addresses her by name. It's not until Attack of the Clones that the name "Shmi" is actually spoken onscreen.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Trope Namer. Qui-Gon says this as he goes along with Obi-Wan and Jar Jar to travel in a bongo sub through the watery core of Naboo, and are saved from a predator by another bigger predator twice in a row.
  • Ambadassador: The Jedi are sent to negotiate with the Trade Federation. They luckily have their lightsabers with them when the Federation prove themselves in no mood for negotiations.
  • And Starring: The main cast roll here ends with "and Frank Oz as Yoda".
  • Antagonist Title: One is led to think "The Phantom Menace" refers to Darth Maul's secretive actions when really of course, it refers to the subversive undermining of Senator Sheev Palpatine a.k.a. Darth Sidious. In an interesting case, this appears to be played straight and subverted at the same time. Due to the ambiguity of the title, it could theoretically be applied to Darth Maul and Darth Sidious (playing the trope straight), or it could be applied to Anakin (subverting the trope since Anakin is decidedly not the antagonist of the film). The meaning of the title has only ever been met with Shrug of God, leaving it entirely open-ended. This has led some to theorize that Jar Jar Binks was/is meant to be a secret Sith Lord or dark side force user as a plot twist, given he is there from the beginning, but was retconned or cut for one reason or another.
  • Art Evolution: The visual design of this film and the rest of the prequels is a very sharp contrast to the look of the original trilogy. By necessity the earlier films relied a lot on physical environments, elaborate costumes and matte paintings, while this film ran headfirst into using modern techniques including digital compositing, Green Screen and CGI creatures to craft their environments. This made the city vistas infinitely more complex than anything the original trilogy could have imagined and various things like chrome spaceships and Jar Jar's duck-like head would have been near impossible. This in turn made the environments feel a lot cleaner than the Used Future the original films pioneered, though the rest of the prequel films demonstrated this as intentional to show that the Clone Wars marked the end of a golden age before the rise of the Empire lead to more rustic aesthetics.
  • The Artifact: The design of the Battle Droids was based on an early conceptual design for the Neimoidians, which was scrapped because it was difficult to create. In-universe the droids are made to look like Neimoidian skeletons (since their skulls elongate after death), though this was latter retconned as a rumor spread by the Neimoidians. Attack of the Clones reveals they're actually based on Geonosian skulls, who actually manufacture the Battle Droids.
  • Artificial Gill: The rebreathers used by Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to swim down to the Gungan city.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The plot point of Watto refusing to accept Qui-Gon Jinn's offered payment in Republic credits for repair parts. Aside from the obvious solution of Qui-Gon just hiring another ship captain who flies routes into the Republic and would therefore need Republic currency, the currencies of large, stable economies tend to be more valuable than local currencies in developing and fringe economies (c.f. the dominance of the US dollar in black markets). Though given the demonstrable corruption of the Republic in the film, it's possible that the Republic credit has become severely devalued compared to the currencies favored by Tatooine's Hutt rulers.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Yeah, it's Star Wars, so this is to be expected, but given what we directly see of Naboo's geology, there's no way that the surface could be as verdant, full of life, and most importantly Earth-like as it is. Basically, Naboo is a porous planet with canals filled with water running through the planet's core from one side to the other. The problem is, without a hot, liquid metal core like Earth has, the planet would most likely have no magnetic field, meaning that everything on the surface should be fried by radiation. Furthermore, no hot core means no volcanic activity, which raises the question of how the atmosphere developed.
  • Artistic License – Politics:
    • The federal government of the Republic is shown to be so comically corrupt and ineffective in this film that it frankly defies willing suspension of disbelief that the nation-state hasn't utterly disintegrated already. The setup for the film is approximately equivalent to Microsoft deciding to address the 1990s antitrust cases by using a mercenary army to take the entire state of Washington hostage, and the US federal government responding by idly wondering if maybe it was possibly their problem that a private corporation had engaged in an open act of insurrection.
    • Queen Amidala goes to the Senate to plead for help for her planet, calls for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum when he appears to delay, then Valorum is removed later and Palpatine voted into his place. All this happens in the span of a day, when the process of removing and replacing a government leader typically takes much longer, spanning months to even years. And given that the Galactic Senate is made up of literally thousands of representatives, it should take even longer.
  • As You Know: "Our blockade is perfectly legal, and we would be happy to receive ambassadors..."
  • Background Halo: Most of Amidala's outfits.
  • Backstory: This theatrical film really only exists to set up all the back story for the following six theatrical films.
  • Beneath the Earth: Of the flooded variety. The hidden Gungan city is actually fairly close to the surface. Below, the planet is a strangely porous tangle of caverns inhabited by gigantic fish and Kaiju-style monsters. Those living on the paradisiacal surface apparently never even see these things, as they happily build their cities and homes along the shorelines of bodies of water that lead into this monster-filled underworld.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Palpatine is the one behind the Trade Federation's invasion, but doesn't get personally involved. The main threats instead are Nute Gunray, the cowardly leader of the Federation, and Darth Maul, Palpatine's apprentice who serves as The Heavy.
  • Big "NO!": Obi-Wan yells "No!" after witnessing Darth Maul land a killing strike on Qui-Gon.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Anakin's reaction to Qui-Gon telling him he's been freed.
  • Bilingual Bonus: While Anakin is piloting his starfighter to join the fight at the Droid Control Ship, Artoo beeps at him. Deciphered into our alphabet, the Aurabesh letters on his console read out as "ANAKIN TURN THE SHIP AROUND AND GO BACK HOMIE RIGHT AWAY" (in block lettering without punctuation, as indicated). If "HOMIE" isn't a typo, then Artoo is apparently being "cutesy" and talking down to Anakin; something not entirely out of character for him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Trade Federation has been defeated, Naboo regains freedom, but Qui-Gon is dead and Palpatine/Darth Sidious becomes Chancellor.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Trade Federation flagships have a decidedly unorthodox design scheme for a spaceship, having a shape that can basically be described as a half eaten donut with a donut hole in the middle. Attack of the Clones revealed that the center sphere is detachable and can function as a spaceship in and of itself, with the outer ring serving as the cargo holds for their droid army and supplies, complete with two parallel hangar bays on the open ends of the ring.
  • Blood Sport: The podrace is a three lap hovercraft race around the desert where murder, sabotage, and aggression are all permitted. The racers contend with snipers at one turn. And don't think that you'll be safe up in the stands, either. It ends up looking like Mario Kart on Steroids.
  • Body Double: Queen Amidala has several. Apparently being Queen of Naboo is more dangerous than it looks. And in the reverse of this trope, she pretended to be one of her body doubles, and does so convincingly enough to fool Qui-Gon.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Anakin meets Padmé, who is actually the Queen of Naboo, and his future wife, for the first time.
  • Call-Forward: Has its own page.
  • The Cameo:
  • Canon Immigrant: This film canonized "Coruscant" as the name of the galactic capital. The name had been invented by Timothy Zahn for The Thrawn Trilogy.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: The Naboo Royal Guard doesn’t believe that the Trade Federation will kill Queen Amidala, as they need her to sign an invasion legalization treaty. Qui-Gon Jinn doesn’t believe as such and convinces Amidala to leave the planet.
  • The Cassandra: Qui-Gon's belief that the Sith have returned and that Anakin is The Chosen One are initially dismissed by the Jedi Council, but turn out to be true.
  • Character as Himself: Jabba the Hutt is credited as Himself in the end credits.
  • Character Catchphrase: The word "realistic" is one for Palpatine in this film.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: The ruffian known as Sebulba tries to bump the child protagonist's car as soon as the kid takes second place, only for the kid to attach his car to Sebulba's, build up speeding using Sebulba's car, and then rip apart Sebulba's car in the process of breaking off from it, leaving Sebulba miles from the finish line with a third of his car intact.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Many of the tricks Anakin employs during the podrace become useful later when he's flying a Naboo starfighter:
    • The high speed and tight maneuvering through Beggar's Canyon mirrors the high speed and tight maneuvering in the dogfight above Naboo.
    • Anakin is able to cross through a claustrophobic tunnel in Beggar's Canyon, even as a pod ahead of him explodes. This helps him when he has to fly out of a docking bay that explodes around him in the final battle.
    • Anakin contends with Tusken Raiders sniping his pod, just as he has to do with droid starfighters in the final fight.
    • Anakin is able to stop his pod from spinning out of control, and later gets the engines to start again after they stall mid-flight. He later has to level out his starfighter when he gets hit during the space battle, and restart its engines when they overheat and shut down while he's stranded inside of the main hold of the droid control ship.
    • During the trip back to Naboo, Anakin probes the pilot for information on how the queen's starship works. A few scenes later, he's able to fly one of the royal starfighters after some trial and error.
  • Cherubic Choir: At the end of the theatrical film, children sing a major-key version of the Emperor's previously ominous theme. This foreshadows that Chancellor Palpatine's veneer of compassion hides the sinister character that will become the evil Emperor from Return of the Jedi.
  • The Chooser of the One: When he meets Anakin and sees what he's capable of, Qui-Gon is convinced he's found The Chosen One of Jedi prophecy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When separated from Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon manages to hold his own against Darth Maul's lightsaber strikes. So what does Maul do to get the better of him? He butts Qui-Gon in the face with the hilt of his lightsaber to catch him off guard and then impales him through the chest.
  • Combat and Support: The Trade Federation has a number of support droids. After the Droid Army routs the Gungans, they can be seen collecting the pieces of fallen battle droids.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The film received a four-issue comic book miniseries by Dark Horse Comics that adapts the films events very closely, save for invokedsome minor dialogue differences held over from earlier drafts of the script.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Anakin and Padmé. Anakin Skywalker leaves his home and family to begin his training as a Jedi Knight while Padmé Amidala has to prove herself as a successful leader. Done as a mirror of their children Luke and Leia from the original trilogy.
  • Connected All Along: In this installment, Anakin Skywalker proudly points to his robotic creation, C-3PO. This seems rather insignificant, except that the first three Star Wars theatrical films never indicated that C-3PO had any connection to Anakin, who had grown into an evil dark sider bent on ruling the galaxy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The entire Tatooine sequence. To wit, the characters, in need of hyperspace parts, just happen to land near a settlement where the first guy they talk to just happens to be the only person with the right parts for miles, and also just happens to own the probable Chosen One as a slave, who just happens to be good in a podrace (and just happens to be in the process of building C-3PO), of which there just happens to be one tomorrow. And despite having never even finished a pod race and suffering from sabotage, he happens to win. Also just happening to be there is said Chosen One's future wife. Lampshaded by Qui-Gon, who wholeheartedly believes all this was the will of the Force.
  • Cool Bike: Darth Maul's Bloodfin speeder bike
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Trade Federation, which is willing to sell itself out to the Sith in return for profit.
  • Cowboy Cop: Qui-Gon is the Jedi version of this. He goes with his gut feelings, rather than established procedure. He bends the rules to see justice done. He's been passed over for promotion by the suits on the Jedi Council for his actions, and he's willing to challenge their authority. Oddly, by the time we reach Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker seems more like Qui-Gon (who he's never met) than Kenobi or Yoda (who trained him). Later explained in that Obi-Wan and Yoda received training from Qui-Gon's Force ghost and presumably passed his teachings on to Luke. (More precisely, Obi-Wan and Yoda realized that they were too caught up with Jedi dogma until Qui-Gon brought them back to the spirit of the Force.)
  • Crapsack World: Tatooine. For one thing, it's stated in the movie that it's ruled by the Hutts (whom according to Panaka are gangsters) and it's clear from the movie that slavery is considered acceptable there, including the use of children as slaves. There's also the podracing, which people also bet various things (including the fate of slaves) on. Even putting aside the nature of its society, there's also the weather; dangerous sandstorms can come up on short notice, which the Tatooine residents apparently predict through aching bones, and that doesn't give them much time to find shelter. Tatooine is a Crapsack World in other installments too, but it's taken further here than it is in the other ones. Scavenging Jawas and murderous, marauding Tusken Raiders can't be helping real estate values, either.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Visual effect supervisor John Knoll appears as Rya Kirsch, a pilot who participates in the Battle of Naboo.
    • Supervising sound editor Matthew Wood plays Bib Fortuna and Ody Mandrell at the Boonta Eve Classic.
    • Ben Burtt and Rick McCallum appear as Naboo dignitaries at the end of the film.
  • Crippling the Competition: Champion podracer Sebulba "accidentally" bumps another podracer, messing it up and making it unable to race.
  • Damage Control: After Trade Federation battleships shoot out the shield generators on the royal cruiser, R2-D2 and several other astromechs are called out to fix it. R2 gets it done but all the other droids are blown away in the process.
  • Darkest Hour: Qui-Gon dies. The Gungans are defeated. Anakin is stranded inside an enemy ship. Padmé is caught by the federation. All at the same time.
  • Deadly Dust Storm: One forces Qui-Gon's party to take shelter in Anakin's house on Tatooine.
  • Death by Cameo: Visual effects supervisor John Knoll's character, Rya Kirsch, is killed by the droid control ship's blasters towards the end of the film.
  • Death by Origin Story: The film is an Origins Episode for both Anakin and Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon is a significant figure in both of their lives, and is dead by the end of the film.
  • Decoy Leader: The Queen is stuck in a tough firefight with a group of murderous robots, only for the Queen's Body Double to walk through the doorway in the full royal regalia, proudly announce that she's the real queen, and duck into the hallway to the left with the robots in pursuit.
    "After her! This one's a decoy!"
  • Decoy Protagonist: Qui-Gon gets top billing, takes up a sizable amount of space on the poster, and has the most influence and screentime out of the heroes in the movie, but it's all to set up Anakin and Obi-Wan as the true protagonists of the prequel trilogy.
  • Defeating the Cheating Opponent: Qui-Gon has Anakin enter into a podrace in a bet to get a new part for their damaged ship. His main rival on the track is a alien named Sebula who won against him in the last race and smugly rubs it in his face. Anakin suspected sabotage since his pod had a malfunction that cost him but couldn't prove it. Sure enough, Sebula breaks off a vital part on Anakin's pod when no one is looking before their next race so that when the race begins, Anakin's pod initially doesn't start. He manages get the engine going and quickly catches up to the competitors until it's only Sebula and him once more. Despite Sebula trying to ram him off the track, Anakin overcomes him and causes him to crash, allowing Anakin to win.
  • Depending Upon the Undependable: After the native Gungans and the humans of Theed ally themselves to retake Naboo from the Trade Federation, Boss Nass makes Jar Jar Binks a Bombad General, despite being ostracized and driven away from his home for being such a clumsy, clueless klutz. While he seems to take to the role fairly well at first, when the battle is loose he doesn't command the Gungan Army at all, and frequently gets himself into accidents that would be considered disasters were it not for the fact that they conveniently kill droids with no Gungan casualties.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Played with in the Podrace; while Podracing is a Blood Sport done at breakneck speeds, Sebulba is more than willing to take time to handicap other racers (i.e. smashing Mawhonic's pod into a cliff wall, incinerating Clegg Holdfast's pod with a flamethrower, throwing a piece of junk into Mars Guo's engine to cause it to jam and explode). Unlike most examples, it doesn't particularly slow him down or cost him a lead; until he tries to pull it on Anakin, which, thanks to their pods becoming intertwined when Sebulba tries to ram him, gives Anakin a chance to boost ahead, thus tearing apart Sebulba's engine cables, triggering a humiliating chain-reaction destruction of his racer.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: After being mortally wounded by Darth Maul, Qui-Gon lives long enough to die in Obi-Wan's arms.
  • Digital Destruction: The Blu-ray release suffers heavily from DVNR, destroying much of the picture and resulting in a more pink-tinged presentation. The 4K release on Disney+ doesn't fix much of these issues, though HDR-enabled displays can remove most of the pink tint.
  • Disney Villain Death: Darth Maul falls down a deep shaft after getting sliced in half by Obi-Wan. Though as The Clone Wars would reveal, he actually survived.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: Anakin tries this during the Battle Droid Control Ship battle. "I'll try spinning, that's a good trick!" Given that he ends up spinning into the control ship hangar, which in turn allowed him to (accidentally) torpedo the main reactor, it probably was a good trick.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Downplayed Trope. Midichlorians provide a bit of scientific explanation to why some people are more receptive to the Force than others, and why it can be passed down in a family, but they do not explain what the Force is. In fact, when Qui-Gon explains them to Anakin, he specifically states, that the midichlorians only communicate the will of the Force, making it clear that the Force is higher consciousness, and not the midichlorians themselves, nor is it generated by them.
  • Don't Look Back: Said word for word, Anakin's mother gives him the strength to leave Tatooine by telling him not to look back at her.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Said almost verbatim by Qui-Gon to Anakin before the podrace.
    "Concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think. Use your instincts."
  • Doomed by Canon: No, Qui-Gon. You are not going to train Anakin, since Obi-Wan called Anakin his pupil in A New Hope.
  • Dramatic Irony: Anyone who has seen the Original Trilogy knows what will become of Anakin, Obi-Wan, The Jedi, and the Republic. Fans more familiar with the universe will also know the Secret Identity of the Big Bad: Senator Sheev Palpatine.
  • Dub Pronunciation Change: The Italian dub has Palpatine's name pronounced "palpa-tine" instead of "palpa-teen" (which is used in the dub of every other appearance of the character before and after it).
  • Due to the Dead: The Jedi and the Naboo hold a funeral for Qui-Gon after his death, cremating him as is traditional for Jedi. In Queen's Shadow, it's also mentioned that Padmé Amidala lights incense for him every year on the memorial day for those killed during the Trade Federation's invasion.
  • Dull Surprise: Since the most prominent characters in the film are monks and composed politicians, much of the dialogue is delivered in a dry, informative monotone.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Anakin owns a statue that looks like Maz Kanata. Star Wars: Complete Locations confirms it is indeed a statue of her.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: See the Star Wars page.
  • Easter Egg: Aliens from E.T.'s species make a brief, split-second appearance in the Galactic Summit scene.
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: The core of the planet Naboo holds vast subterranean oceans, which are inhabited by titanic dinosaur- and eel-like creatures. Jar Jar believes a trip through the Core would be a Suicide Mission, but the main characters survive with only minor incident.
  • Elective Monarchy: Naboo's monarchy even has term limits, making it essentially just a presidential republic that calls itself a monarchy. Supplementary materials state that the planet started as a monarchy and transitioned to a democratic republic without bothering to alter the titles and regalia.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: A couple of notable introductions are Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and R2-D2 to C-3P0.
  • Evil Chancellor: Senator Palpatine may seem to be a helpful adviser to Queen Amidala regarding to the Senate. But in truth, he's been sabotaging their efforts to stop the Trade Federation and then convinces Amidala to issue a vote of no confidence against the Supreme Chancellor. This creates a power vacuum for Palpatine to seize the position himself, which ironically transitions him from this trope to President Evil.
  • Exact Words:
    • "Stay in that cockpit!" from Qui-Gon to Anakin. R2 brings this up when Anakin turns the ship on and they end up in combat, and Anakin refuses to turn around. Nevermind that Anakin accidentally activates the Naboo fighter craft in question, subsequently blasts a few Destroyer droids and ultimately takes out the reactor core of the orbiting Trade Federation control ship...
    • Yoda informs Obi-Wan that, while the Council agrees to give Obi-Wan the rank of Jedi Knight, he does not agree to let Obi-Wan train Anakin as his Padawan. After Obi-Wan adamantly insists to train Anakin, without the Council's approval if necessary, Yoda admits that though he personally still thinks it's dangerous (and rightly so), the Jedi Council as a whole have agreed to let him.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: The destruction of the control ship's main reactor by Anakin causes the droid control computer to malfunction and explode. The captain and ship staff are in front of the computer when it explodes, killing them all just as the bridge is incinerated.
  • Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems: The invasion of Naboo is sparked by some rather dry and prosaic disputes over interplanetary tariffs and trade. Also, there's a lot of attention focused on how the corrupt and ineffectual bureaucracy of the Republic helped to enable the crisis. The presence of these elements are rather odd given the Space Opera nature of the Star Wars Canon.

    Tropes F to N 
  • Faceless Masses: In the scale model shots of the pod race, the crowd is played by rows of Q-tips with the heads painted various colors.
  • Faint in Shock: After the Gungans agree to join the fight against the Federation droids invading Naboo, Boss Nass announces to Jar Jar Binks that he's going to make him a general and he'll lead the assault. Jar Jar promptly swoons and faints in shock.
  • False Flag Operation: To the rest of the galaxy, the entire occupation of Naboo was an attempt by the Trade Federation to pressure the Republic senate into dropping taxation of a series of trade routes that the Federation heavily exploited in the past. In reality, the entire thing is an elaborate plot by Senator Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious, to discredit the current supreme chancellor so he can take his place.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Gungans and the Naboo appear to not like each other very much and live segregated from each other in underwater and aboveground cities, respectively. Later on they form an alliance to end the Trade Federation's occupation of their planet.
  • Fictional Sport: Podracing is a sport where contestants race in hovercrafts at breakneck speeds with no restrictions on violence, which becomes a problem when the nine-year-old Anakin has to enter the race to get money for a ride off Tatooine.
  • Fiendish Fish: Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Jar Jar run into a series of huge aquatic predators on the oceans of Naboo, including a crab-fish hybrid known as an Opee See Killer, and a cave-dwellling Colo Claw Fish, both of which have More Teeth than the Osmond Family. However, they're food for the even larger Sando Aqua Monster.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: The Naboo fighter pilots who the heroes rescued during their escape from the planet earlier in the film make off in their fighters during the film's climax. One of them is shot down on takeoff and crashes in a valley below.
  • Final Battle: There are 4 of them (a 3-way lightsaber duel, a massive ground battle, a big space battle and a smaller ground assault). It's been pointed out that the Star Wars theatrical films had an increasing number of final battles per movie. At an early screening for execs and higher-ups the editor pointed out that because there was so much going on the audience's mood was being pulled from comedy to drama to excitement to sadness so much that it was losing its power. Lucas realized that he had gone overboard and that he couldn't fix it in the editing because all four battles are intertwined, and in the latter two movies he backed down on it significantly.
  • Fire-Forged Friends; Rugor Nass and Queen Amidala become this by the end of the film, as fellow political leaders. He was impressed by how she begged for his help and humbled herself while coming up with a sound plan to win back their planet. Meanwhile, Amidala commends him for distracting the Trade Federation Armies with his fellow Gungans, showing courage and bravery. The movie ends with a parade as they declare peace between the two governments.
  • Fixing the Game: Qui-Gon, a religious monk, doesn't hesitate to cheat at dice using the Force if it serves the greater good. The film's Novelization justifies it; Watto was using a weighted die and Qui-Gon knew it. No wonder he didn't mind cheating a cheater.
  • Flash Step: The Jedi do this at the start of the film to escape a fight with Droidekas.
  • Force-Field Door: The two-on-one duel in the finale leads the three combatants into a hallway where force fields turn off and on periodically. This separates the two heroes in the duel, allowing Darth Maul to kill the older hero while the latter's apprentice helplessly watches behind a force field.
  • Foreboding Fleeing Flock: The Trade Federation's invasion panics the animals of Naboo, who all race to get away, heedless of the Jedi trying to keep from getting trampled, or the Gungan who just stands there like an idiot.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • After Mace Windu wonders if it was the Master or the Apprentice who was destroyed, the scene pans towards Palpatine and an ominous musical cue is heard while the funeral theme is playing in the background, hinting that Palpatine is the other Sith.
    • Similarly, when Maul leaves Coruscant, he and Sidious stroll along a private promenade. Later, when Padme and company are settling into Palpatine's apartment, the same promenade can be seen just outside his suite's windows — further hinting at the Sith Lord's true identity.
    • There's also the first meeting between Palpatine and Anakin; Palpatine pats the young boy on the back, saying that, "-we will be watching your career with great interest."
    • Yoda's warning about the nature of the dark side ("Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate... leads to suffering") actually predicts Anakin's character arc throughout the trilogy. In this theatrical film, he's a scared boy. In Attack of the Clones, he's an angry teenager. In The Clone Wars, he's noble yet deeply flawed war hero. In Revenge of the Sith, he's a hateful young man. As Darth Vader, he's a suffering man.
    • Queen Amidala being revealed as Padme using Body Doubles is hinted at multiple times. When the Jedi rescue the Queen and their entourage, the Queen expresses concern about the danger of leaving the planet before looking at Padme who affirms it as the right course of action. When at Mos Espa Padme tells Qui-Gon that the Queen would not approve of betting their ship on a pod race and he responds the Queen won't have to know about it, which Padme replies "Well, I don't approve." Anakin then visits the Naboo residence on Coruscant hoping to say goodbye to Padme and only finds the Queen, who says she is certain Padme would be grateful he stopped by.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Both the heroes and the villains provide an example.
    • When Obi-Wan is running into the hallway with shields to rejoin the fight duel with Qui-Gon and Darth Maul, he runs at a normal speed instead of using the Force-enhanced super speed he displayed at the beginning of the movie. Had Obi-Wan used this power, there's a chance that Qui-Gon would have survived the duel.
    • Darth Maul's opponent has fallen thirty feet down a Bottomless Pit and is barely holding onto an indent in the pit, giving Darth Maul the perfect opportunity to use his Force powers to throw his enemy to his death. Instead, Maul opts for a different strategy, one where he throws harmless sparks at his enemy until the latter gets enough resolve to jump out of the pit, stop to grab his saber, and cut a shocked Maul in half.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Deflector Shields are ubiquitous in Star Wars generally, but especially notable here in that the Gungans, alone out of all the races we have seen, have refined the technology for battlefield usage. They have portable shield generators that can provide an army with protection from artillery fire, as well as personal tower shields to allow front line troops to withstand blaster fire at close range. This would have been hugely useful in numerous battles during the Clone Wars, as well as to the Rebels on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. But these technologies are never seen again.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The climax cuts back and forth between the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul and the two Jedi, Jar Jar Binks's clumsy antics with the Battle Droids, the Queen's attempt to retake her palace, and Anakin's accidental space battle where he destroys the Trade Federation blockade through sheer luck. This ends up creating some Mood Whiplash considering all four of these battles have different tones and stakes.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Shmi and Anakin live in a clean, multi-room house with robot servants while working as slaves, on a desert planet, run by slug mobs. And what's that area where Anakin was building his podracer? Was that, like, a backyard? Possibly justified by their value to Watto as slaves, since he later refused to sell Shmi to anyone, at any price, unless he was certain she would be treated well by her new owner. Sure enough, the guy who eventually was allowed to buy her didn't waste any time in freeing her and marrying her.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: Both the DVD and Blu-Ray releases made some changes to the film.
    • The puppet Yoda is replaced with a CGI Yoda in the Blu-ray release. Lucas claimed he always intended Yoda to be fully CGI in the film, but early attempts at it were unsatisfactory, forcing them to use the puppet.
    • The DVD and Blu-ray extends the podrace sequence with new footage, while also removing a shot of Watto cheering "Sebulba!" An effects error causing Fode and Beed's hand to pass through their vest was fixed. And right after Jabba the Hutt's introduction before the podrace, a new voice is heard from a spectator when the camera is focused on the crowd.
    • A new air taxi scene is added to the arrival on Coruscant.
    • The Blu-ray alters the Vote of No Confidence scene to remove the "Vote now!" chants from the crowd, leaving a general uproar in its place.
    • Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's Force speed effect in the opening (when they escape the Droidekas) was redone to look more realistic. A close-up shot of Nute Gunray and Rune Haako watching a viewscreen showing the Jedi escaping was replaced for a wide shot with a new effect for the screen itself.
  • Gilded Cage: Relatively speaking, Watto gives Shmi and Anakin spacious quarters that are enough to host several people, along with a yard large enough to hold a racing pod. They both know they're slaves, however, and that if they tried to escape then they would be blown up immediately with their transmitter chips.
  • Go Through Me: Whenever the queen is threatened, Panaka is the first to defend her. When her small squadron encountered Maul, Panaka was the only one who draws his weapon and prepares to fight.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The "ascension guns", which seem to be an attachment to the security forces' blaster pistols. The size of the rope, at least, is hand waved by its being "liquid cable". They are used during the assault to retake the Naboo palace by Queen Amidala and her retinue to circumvent the battle droids and reach the upper floor.
  • Groin Attack:
    • When Jar Jar is fighting with the pit droid in Watto's shop, it kicks him in the crotch. Jar Jar doesn't seem to notice.
    • During the climactic battle, Jar Jar gets launched through the air and lands on an AAT's main gun crotch-first. This one he does notice.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Darth Maul gets (non-fatally) bisected by Obi-Wan.
  • Hammer Hilt: Darth Maul wins his duel against Qui-Gon by hitting him in the face with the hilt of his double-bladed lightsaber, stunning him long enough for Maul to impale him.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Subverted; while Watto is kinder compared to other slave masters and values the Skywalker boy's skills, Anakin objects to the idea of being a slave. He says that he would want to be a Jedi Knight and free all the slaves on Tatooine. Shmi is calmer and resigned about being trapped with Watto forever, but she gives her blessing for Qui-Gon to free her son when the opportunity arises.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: As Queen Amidala points out, Nute Gunray will have to explain his invasion of her peaceful kingdom to the Galaxy's Senate.
  • The Heavy: Darth Maul serves as the main physical threat to the heroes, since Darth Sidious still has to maintain his Villain with Good Publicity status, and Nute Gunray is a Dirty Coward trying to stay out of harm's way as much as possible. After the heroes escape Naboo, it is Maul who is sent to hunt them down, since they are beyond Gunray's ability to locate. When the heroes return to Naboo, Maul is sent to back up Gunray, and at the film's climax, Maul personally duels the two main Jedi protagonists, preventing them from assisting Queen Amidala in Gunray's capture.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: All the pilots in the climactic space battle cheer when Anakin blows up the main Mother ship.
  • Helpless Window Death: A variation; Obi-Wan is temporarily separated from the duel between Qui-Gon and Darth Maul by a series of transparent forcefield doors, leaving him to watch helplessly as Maul runs Qui-Gon through.
  • The Hero Dies: Qui-Gon Jinn is the main character of the film and dies near the end, with eight more Skywalker Saga films to go.
  • Heroism Equals Job Qualification:
    • Jar Jar Binks goes straight from being banished to being a general after helping the Nabooan humans and the Gungans get along. And then soon after the droid threat is gone he becomes a senator.
    • Obi-Wan is promoted from Padawan to Jedi Knight following Darth Maul's demise.
  • Honor Before Reason: Despite the Jedi Council's very clear and valid apprehensions towards making Anakin a Jedi, Qui-Gon is as determined as any to see the boy be trained.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Queen Amidala is told she needs to be escorted to Coruscant so the Senate can save her people. It turns out the Senate would rather bicker and assign commissions to investigate the invasion. She's so mad that she decides to return to Naboo to stop the invasion herself.
    • The Knights advise the Naboo guard to not respond to distress signals so they won't be traced. Maul finds them anyway and nearly takes down Qui-Gon as he's leading Anakin to the ship.
    • Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon both put up a formidable fight against Maul, even cornering him at once point. He takes advantage of force fields separating the Knights and kills Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan barely defeats him but doesn't reach his master in time to save him.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: As Anakin is preparing to start the podrace, Jar Jar says it's going to be nasty and that he's not watching before covering his eyes.
  • Ignored Expert: When the pilot of the droid control ship reports the main reactor's destruction, the captain insists nothing could've penetrated the shields and dismisses it. Bad idea.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The long, gruelling duel with Darth Maul takes its toll on Qui-Gon, allowing Maul to catch him off guard and mortally stab him in the gut.
  • Important Haircut: A somewhat downplayed example. At the victory parade on Naboo at the end of the film, Anakin has cut his bowl cut hair short with a braid behind his right ear, signifying him as Obi-Wan's padawan, but it isn’t brought up specifically brought up.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Amidala's wardrobe. Also a plot point, her makeup and clothing was designed specifically to make it impossible to see who was Amidala and who was her decoy. Keira Knightley played her decoy, who does somewhat resemble Natalie Portman. note 
  • Invincible Incompetent: Jar Jar Binks almost singlehandedly wins the Battle of Naboo for the Gungans due to his bumbling antics accidentally dealing serious damage to the droid army over and over again. He clearly has no idea what he's doing for the entire battle, but he is somehow alive, unscathed, and victorious in the end despite it.
  • Irony: Anakin says that "no one can kill a Jedi". He will eventually do this himself.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Obi-Wan and Maul only fulfill this trope during the last ten minutes of their fight thanks to Maul murdering Obi-Wan's mentor Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Qui-Gon uses this on Boss Nass to save Jar Jar's life and get them a transport to Theed. He later tries, and fails, to do the same on Watto to haggle over a needed starship hyperdrive.
  • Keystone Army:
    • Every unit in the droid army malfunctions as soon as the control ship explodes. Explained by later media as the Nemoidians not trusting the droids and wanting a way to disable them if something goes wrong. Later media also show the Separatists learned from this mistake and made the droids more independent.
    • The Gungan army turns and runs as soon as their shield generator is knocked out. Justified, because while the shield was up the only thing that could get through was the Trade Federation's infantry. After the shield is down their heavy firepower could move in.
  • Kick the Dog: During the podrace some Tusken Raiders shoot down one of the racers (and try to shoot down Anakin as well), apparently just For the Evulz. They even have the audacity to start wildly cheering afterwards.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After pricing out the parts needed Watto straight-out tells Qui-Gon that it would be cheaper and easier to just buy a new ship. This goes completely ignored.
  • The Last DJ: Obi-Wan believes Qui-Gon would've been on the Jedi Council long ago if not for his tendency to do things his own way rather than by the Jedi Code; needless to say, Qui-Gon doesn't seem to mind.
  • Leave No Survivors: Or, as Darth Sidious puts it when giving the Viceroy instructions on what to do with the Gungan army:
    Sidious: Wipe them out. All of them.
  • Legalized Evil: Much of the film's plot is driven by the Trade Federation desperately trying to keep the Invasion of Naboo a Closed Circle from the Galactic Republic, as it's very much not legalized and would get them thrashed if word got out. Instead, they're trying to force the Queen to sign a document legalizing the invasion, bogging down any retaliation in so much diplomatic red tape.
  • Leitmotif: It wouldn't be Star Wars otherwise.
  • Let's Get Out of Here: Played straight by Anakin when he blows up the control ship's reactor core.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: When Padmé's party encounters Darth Maul, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan step forward to battle him so Padmé and the others can continue.
    Qui-Gon: We'll handle this.
    Padmé: We'll take the long way.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite the page quote up top there, children and funny-talking aliens play a large part in the plot. More obviously, the Used Future aesthetic of the Original Trilogy was done away with in order to help demonstrate that this is the "more civilized age" that Obi-Wan mentioned in A New Hope.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Since Padmé is only fourteen years old, Captain Panaka treats her like one of his daughters. He defers to her authority while always staying by her side and protecting her with his life. Panaka was also the one who implemented the decoy bodyguards, when Padmé didn't want to create an army to protect her, so he treats all the handmaidens this way.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: The force-field gates that the Jedi fight Darth Maul through serve to separate Obi-Wan from Qui-Gon; Obi-Wan can only watch as Qui-Gon, fighting alone, falls to Darth Maul.
  • Loophole Abuse: Anakin is told by Qui-Gon to stay in the cockpit of a Naboo fighter jet at all costs so that he can keep himself safe. Anakin then promptly uses the jet to destroy some Droidekas attacking Queen Amidala's battle force and subsequently flies into space and participate in the battle against the Trade Federation ship up above. Anakin himself invokes this when R2-D2 tries to tell him to turn around, noting that he's going to stay in the cockpit like Qui-Gon requested.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Even after pumping the meeting room with a load of poison gas, Viceroy Gunray still sends a squad of battle droids to make sure the Jedi are taken care of. Naturally, the droids weren't enough.
  • Martial Pacifist: Qui-Gon is the epitome of this, especially when his mid-battle meditation contrasts against Darth Maul's animalistic, restless pacing and Obi-Wan's poorly-contained anxiety while the three are separated by forcefields.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In a couple scenes while characters are going about their business on Tatooine, you might catch an inconspicuous floating droid hover past in the background - or catch a listen to their signature sound effect - which have a striking resemblance to those we saw belonging to Darth Maul...
  • Meditation Powerup: When Qui-Gon fights Maul on Naboo, he uses a break in the fight to meditate. It helps, but not enough to survive.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Qui-Gon, as the mentor in the Student–Master Team against Darth Maul, does not survive the fight.
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: Justified in the final battle between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul when the three combatants are temporarily separated by some force fields. Qui-Gon takes a moment to meditate and compose himself, Maul takes an experimental slash at the field before pacing around and giving Qui-Gon a Death Glare, and Obi-Wan just stands around nervously.
  • Mood Whiplash: The transition from Qui-Gon’s funeral to the parade isn’t exactly smooth, to put it mildly.
  • Mook Horror Show: Invoked by the creators with the Trade Federation members hiding from the Jedi which nothing could stop. The DVD commentary specifically states this was an inversion of the typical "humans cowering in fear of the unstoppable alien" dynamic from old horror movies.
  • More Expendable Than You: Between the two slaves Shmi and Anakin, the mother knows she's less valuable than her son is to Watto. So does Watto; he refuses to outright bet on Anakin's freedom with Qui-Gon at the pod race. When Qui-Gon talks with her about giving Anakin a better life, she agrees to it with only mild hesitation. What's more, when Anakin protests having to leave her behind and even wants to use his winnings to buy her, Shmi tells her she's fine with the decision as long as he has a better future.
  • The Mothership: The Federation command ship which Anakin destroys.
  • Motile Vehicular Components: Darth Maul's ship is built around a spherical cockpit, and its control surfaces rotate out of the way to open the door.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Obi-Wan senses there's something darker about what's going on, not with the mission itself (which the Nemoidians intend as a single negotiation for a better deal with Naboo), but with something larger (beginning to sense the rising Sith Menace). Likewise, Qui-Gon senses Maul moments before he attacks on Tatooine.
  • Naval Blockade: By the Trade Federation around Naboo, which kicks off the action.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The manner in which the Trade Federation marched into Theed mirrored the Nazis march under the Arc de Triomphe. In addition, the Trade Federation, after occupying Naboo, also held the various indigenous peoples (Naboo humans and Gungans) in camps that were implied to be death camps/concentration camps. In addition, it is implied that Palpatine orchestrated the Naboo blockade invasion to gain more power, similar to how Adolf Hitler had some of his army pose as Polish people and attack their own key buildings so he'd have the excuse to invade Poland. It might also reference Hitler invading his native land of Austria, seeing how Palpatine was the senator of the same planet that he orchestrated the Trade Federation's invasion of. note 
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon both dash at super speed to escape two Droidekas near the start of the film. What makes this power an example in this case is that it's never used again, not for the rest of the movie and not for the rest of the Prequel Trilogy. To be more specific, Obi-Wan doesn't use the power again even if when it would have been useful to rejoin the fight with Darth Maul after getting thrown so far away.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Aside from the trouble Jar Jar causes in this theatrical film, there is also the time when Qui-Gon made it his dying wish for Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Those familiar enough with the Canon's overall story would know that this didn't exactly work out all that well.
    • Padmé, following Palpatine's recommendation to call for a vote of no confidence, allowing the villain-in-sheep's clothing to become Chancellor.
    • Knowing what led to Anakin turning to the dark side, the Jedi not accepting him earlier before Obi-Wan essentially threatened to go against the Order to train him himself also qualifies somewhat.
    • More to the point, the Jedi Council knew that Anakin's mother was still a slave and if they'd just taken half an hour to go and rescue her after the events of the movie, it would have prevented her death and Anakin's first step to the dark side.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lucas told Terence Stamp that Chancellor Valorum was like Bill Clinton - "He's a good man, but beleaguered".
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: Obi-Wan's Big "NO!" when Qui-Gon gets stabbed is left undubbed in the European French, European Spanish, and Italian dubs of the movie.
  • Noodle Incident: The specific reasons for Jar Jar's exile, besides his obvious clumsiness, are never detailed. We only get to hear the last bit of the story, which apparently involves blowing something up and crashing Boss Nass' heyblibber.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • A Star Wars staple, which probably reaches its highest point in the area beneath the palace where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fight Maul - a series of catwalks with no railings over a bottomless pit. Plus a corridor lined with energy fields that seemingly activate and deactivate according to some computer-controlled pattern and lack any apparent means of detecting whether or not there are people in the corridor. It makes Cloud City look like a model of industrial safety in comparison!
    • The Trade Federation's ships are little better, judging by how the designers apparently decided that putting the main reactor right next door to the hangar was a good idea.
  • No Poverty: Naboo. It makes The Federation look like the Eastern Bloc during the 1980's in comparison!
  • No-Sell: Watto is thoroughly unimpressed by Qui-Gon's Jedi Mind Trick.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Jar Jar adopts this attitude when he accidentally spits a gorg into Sebulba's soup, angering him. Needless to say, it doesn't work.

    Tropes O to Z 
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Palpatine suggests apathetic politicians rule the Republic with Chancellor Valorum as their puppet, and they are the reason that rather than doing anything about the Naboo situation, the Senate has merely had meetings. This is then put on full display when the Trade Federation Senator objects to Queen Amidala's accusations at the Senate hearing, is backed by the Senator of Malastare, and Valorum is quickly swayed to their side, at which point the Queen reluctantly agrees to Palpatine's suggestion to call a vote of no confidence for Valorum. Of course, what she doesn't realize is that Palpatine is responsible for much of the red tape in the first place, and that this is all part of his evil plan to seize power for himself.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Yeah... forcing a ruler to sign a document during war and with a gun pointed to her head. It doesn't matter which galaxy you're in, or how far far away it is, that's not binding because it's clearly under duress. (And why do invasions need to be legal?) Mind that Panaka says they wouldn't dare kill the queen until she signs, but Qui-Gon retorts the Trade Federation could hire a pawn that would sign the document.
  • Offstage Villainy: After the Trade Federation invades Naboo, we keep being told that the people are suffering under the occupation and that the death toll is rising. The thing is, we never actually see any of the Nabooan citizens suffer, which makes the whole thing look more like Gunboat Diplomacy (albeit by a megacorp wilfully manipulated by a Sith lord) than a whole planet being "subjected to slavery and death". Qui-Gon says outright that he thinks it's a lie to draw them out, and we never really get confirmation either way.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX:
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The pilot and co-pilot of the Republic cruiser in the docking bay of the Trade Federation Battleship. They don't even get a chance to finish saying Oh, Crap!.
    • The Neimoidians when they seal off the bridge and realize the Jedi are still getting through.
    • Padmé gets a look of wordless panic when she learns that Anakin has never even finished a podrace, let alone won one, right before the Boonta Eve race... and Qui-Gon bet their only chance of escape on him winning it.
    • Ratts Tyrell, the pod racer who realizes far too late that his pod is too big to fly through the Laguna caves.
    • Sebulba, when he realizes that one of his pods's engines is no longer tethered and he's about to crash when Anakin untangles their pods in the final lap of the race.
    • A Gungan captain's reaction to seeing a huge deployment of battle droids walk right through his army's force-field.
    • Panaka and his troops as a whole get one of these moments when they meet Darth Maul.
    • A minor one with Anakin. After he fires the proton torpedoes at the control ship's reactor, he delivers a meek "Oops!" before speeding out of the ship as fast as he can.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: "Yousa in big dudu this time!" Also, Obi-Wan's scene with Qui-Gon at the Jedi Temple. ("Do not defy the Council, Master, not again.")
  • Older Than They Look: Originally, Qui-Gon was sixty years old at the time of the film's events, yet Liam Neeson was only in his mid-forties around the time of filming. Perhaps realizing that Neeson looked too young to pass as a sixty-year-old man (even a well-aged one), the Disney canon novel Star Wars: Master and Apprentice retconned his age to his late forties in the film.
  • Old Master: Qui-Gon is the first maverick master seen on-screen (chronologically), at odds with the Jedi Council but respected nonetheless. He trained Obi-Wan and was the person most accountable for introducing Anakin Skywalker to the way of the Jedi, all things considered.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Duel of the Fates" is a frantic piece with Sanskrit chanting that punctuates the film's climatic Laser Blade duel.
  • On Second Thought:
    • Jar Jar tells Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan about the Gungans' underwater city being a safe place, but when asked to take them there, he responds "On second thought, no. Not really, no." citing that he was banished from the place, and the Bosses would do terrible things to him if he showed his face there again. He changes his mind again after the two Jedi convince him that what the Trade Federation army would do to him would be much worse.
    • After Anakin wins the Boonta Eve, Watto tries to back out of his deal with Qui-Gon to let the boy go, insisting that it wasn't a fair bet and that Qui-Gon somehow knew the outcome beforehand. He quickly clams up when Qui-Gon suggests taking it to the Hutts.
  • Out of Character: Qui-Gon Jinn notes that, despite the Trade Federation’s demands during their invasion of Naboo, there is no real logic behind it. He also deduces there is something else behind it all.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Darth Maul. It's clear that no Jedi has crossed blades with a Sith for a millennium, and Maul's double-bladed saber is the first of its kind shown in the franchise. No wonder he gives two Jedi the fight of their lives.
  • Overlaid Societies: On the planet Naboo, the Gungans and the Naboo live in separate but linked societies. In the movie, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn tried to enlist the help of the Gungans as the Trade Federation's takeover of the Naboo would affect the Gungans eventually. Jar Jar and Queen Amidala get their help for the final battle.
  • Paradise Planet: Naboo is portrayed as a paragon of natural beauty and an ideal place to live, especially given the sheer amount of Scenery Porn in both Theed and Otoh Gunga.
  • Papa Wolf: She's not their daughter, but Sio Babble and Panaka react this way whenever the queen is threatened. When Qui-Gon mentions that if the queen stays on Naboo then she'll be killed, Sio Babble says, "They wouldn't dare!" vehemently. Then Panaka logically tries to point out the Trade Federation can't freaking kill the leader of the planet they're invading and stay on good terms with Coruscant; the men only acquiesce when Qui-Gon counters the Trade Federation may elect a pawn in Amidala's place to sign a treaty. Panaka agrees to go off-planet with the queen to protect her, and is ready to draw fire on anyone who dares attack, as Sio Babble tries to reason with the Trade Federation to withdraw.
  • Parental Substitute: Qui-Gon serves as one to Obi-Wan for as long as they've been training together. He also acts as one to Anakin, who grew up (and was actually born) without a father.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Qui-Gon's Cowboy Jedi antics prevent him from getting a seat on the Jedi Council.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: About every other queen outfit Amidala wore had one.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Every one of Amidala's queen outfits.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Anakin is obviously a crucial character in the film due to his impossibly high midichlorian count (and thus incredible force wielding potential), but aside from racing and winning the pod race, he has no real control over what's going on around him, due to him being a Tagalong Kid. He ultimately thwarts the Trade Federations' invasion by blowing up their control ship, but even that was a lucky accident. Obi-Wan, meanwhile, despite having the most screen time of any character is pretty much just along for the ride- aside from cleaving droids to death he usually just sits on the sidelines while Qui-Gon drives the plot.
  • Plot Hole: The entire Tatooine storyline exists for little more reason than to justify the addition of Anakin Skywalker to the cast, triggered by Watto refusing to accept Republic currency for hyperdrive parts. Realistically, intrinsic value or not, the Republic is still by far the biggest power in the Galaxy Far, Far Away at this time, so finding some freighter captain who could get them to Coruscant and would need Republic currency when he got there ought to have been significantly easier and faster than going through all the rigmarole with the podrace. Shmi does get a throwaway line stating that they're very unlikely to find someone in Mos Espa who actually cares about the Republic in any way (and with their ship's engine dead they're not going anywhere fast, not even to another spaceport), though.
  • Plummet Perspective: When Darth Maul kicks Obi-Wan's lightsaber down a long shaft as Obi-Wan is clinging to the edge, the camera follows the lightsaber all the way down, roughly from Obi-Wan's perspective. Later, a similar shot is used for Darth Maul's torso as he plummets down the same pit.
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: After Anakin puts two proton torpedoes into one of the reactors, the Trade Federation ship explodes at random points all over its hull before splitting in half.
  • Power Levels: The film introduces "midichlorian count" for measuring Force potential, which contextualizes how massive Anakin's power is.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Being a Jedi doesn't stop Qui-Gon from manipulating Boss Nass into providing a transport to the capital of Naboo, trying to swindle Watto out of a hyperdrive generator, cheating at gambling to free a slave, or subverting the authority of the Jedi Council to ensure that Anakin is trained as a Jedi.
  • Pretext for War: The Trade Federation uses something about taxation and trade negotiations as an excuse to occupy Naboo.
  • Pretty in Mink: Amidala's red dress is trimmed with brown fur.
  • Prevent the War: The theatrical film opens with the two heroes, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, arriving on a space station to negotiate a peace between the spaceship's owner and the planet it orbits. As soon as gas starts pumping into the waiting room, the heroes grab their weapons and leave diplomacy behind for the rest of the movie.
  • Prohibited Hero Saves the Day: Anakin is told to stay put in the cockpit of a Naboo fighter in order to keep him out of the line of fire and safely away from battle. Technically he obeys, but that doesn't stop him taking the fighter into battle, destroying the Battle Droid control ship and preventing the imminent surrender of the good guys on the ground.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • The novelization of Amidala's diary reveals that Panaka wanted to create an army to protect Queen Amidala; they compromised over him creating bodyguard doubles like Sabe and having a handful of weapons in the throne room. It turns out he was completely right because when the Trade Federation invades, the Queen is virtually defenseless with only her inner circle and Panaka for protection.
    • The Jedi advise the Naboo guard to not respond to the distress signals because whether or not they are fake, the queen getting captured won't help anyone. It's implied the message is fake when the governor who was delivering them is revealed to remain defiant towards the Trade Federation.
  • Punny Name: One of the podracer pilots Anakin competes against is named Boles Roor, an obvious play on "Bull's roar".
  • Radio Silence: It's vital that the Queen's shuttle not respond to the distress signals from Naboo to prevent giving away their location. But Darth Maul is somehow able to track them down anyway. The fact that Senator Palpatine is Darth Sidious, and that Maul is himself force-sensitive implies that he found them not by tracking the Queen, but her Jedi escorts.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Whatever young Anakin says to the Hutts is untranslated.
  • Real Name as an Alias: When pretending to be her own handmaiden, Queen Amidala uses her lesser-known non-royal name, Padmé Naberrie.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: This is how Anakin Skywalker became a Jedi; the second act is basically devoted to freeing him from slavery so he can be trained as one.
  • Re-Cut:
    • The DVD release included a few additional moments, mostly ideas they had for the podrace. But a fan made recut of this film inspired a slew of fan made cuts of various films, largely toning down Jar Jar's antics.
    • The Blu-Ray also makes changes - most notably trading a much contested puppet Yoda for a digital one similar to the one seen for the rest of the Prequel Trilogy.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Qui-Gon Jinn attempts to walk up to several battle droids without any stealth, asks permission to go to Coruscant with several POWs, and then cuts him down when the droid, after briefly acting confused, realizes that he should arrest him.
    • This is how Padmé makes an alliance with the Gungans; she reveals herself during the negotiations while in her handmaiden guise, and gets on her knees to beg for their help. Her whole retinue follows suit. Rugor Nass previously held contempt for the Naboo humans, since other leaders believed they were better than the Gungans. When he realizes that Padmé made herself vulnerable and blew her cover, complete with bowing to him, he agrees to ally with her to win their freedom.
    • Sabe distracts Nute Gunray from the captured Padmé by appearing in full regalia, firing at him, and declaring, "I'll sign no treaty!" Nute doesn't consider this a distraction at all, instead seeing it as the "real" queen coming to protect her decoy and orders the robots after Sabe.
  • Refusal of the Call: Both Padmé and Anakin. The former is initially hesitant to leave her suffering people on Naboo for Coruscant and the latter has trepidation of leaving his enslaved mother behind in order to become a Jedi.
  • Resigned in Disgrace: When Amidala's pleas for help at the Galactic Senate are met with truculence and protocol, she calls for a vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum. Though not an outright ouster, the Chancellor is left a laughingstock with a fancy chair; as per the nature of successful No Confidence motions, Valorum soon resigns, allowing Senator Palpatine to replace him.
  • The Rest Shall Pass: When they run into Darth Maul in the palace, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan step forward to fight him while the others continue.
    Qui-Gon: We'll handle this.
    Padmé: We'll take the long way.
  • Retcon: In the original Star Wars movies, Obi-Wan said that Yoda was his Jedi master. This movie, however, gives him a different, previously unmentioned master in Qui-Gon.
    • Although in later films we do see Yoda teaching a class of young Jedi, so it's not inconceivable that Obi-Wan was Yoda's pupil before Qui-Gon took him as apprentice. And, as the Really 700 Years Old most powerful Jedi around, Yoda could be said to be every Jedi's Master.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • The only time Padmé actually appears as Queen on Naboo before The Reveal is during her meeting with Senator Palpatine (and a single scene after when she is watching the invasion), her plea before the Galactic Senate, and when Anakin asks her to say goodbye to Padmé for him when he thinks they'll never see each other again. If you carefully watch these scenes again, it's pretty clear the Queen's face is Natalie Portman, not Keira Knightley (her Body Double's actress). You can also tell something is up when the Queen is in red and gold when the Federation invades, but has changed completely different dark blue costume shortly after when the Federation captures her. The double is also taking cues from Padmé about what to do next; when she mentions the journey to Coruscant will be dangerous, she specifically addresses her 'handmaiden', and Padmé's reply "We are brave, your highness" gives her the go-ahead to agree to accompany the Jedi.
    • Panaka looks annoyed when he instructs the Jedi to take the queen's handmaiden Padmé on Amidala's orders to scout the planet. He's actually worried for the queen's safety, since she is Padmé and wants to explore the planet to get the parts they need, but will carry out her orders against his wishes.
    • Qui-Gon doesn't seem too surprised to learn that Padmé is actually the queen, hinting that he'd worked it out some time before. It lends some extra hilarity to rewatching their interactions on Tatooine, when it can look like Qui-Gon is gently trolling her when they discuss whether Queen Amidala would approve of what he's doing.
  • Right in Front of Me: Queen Padmé Amidala ends up talking about herself with Qui-Gon Jinn while she's disguised as her own handmaiden. It's complicated by ambiguity over when Qui-Gon figured out Padmé's the queen; it may be a straight example or he may be messing with her.
    Padmé: The queen will not approve.
    Qui-Gon: The queen doesn't need to know.
    Padmé: [to herself] Well I don't approve.
  • Road Apples: Jar Jar Binks steps in poop and says "icky-icky goo".
  • Robot Antennae: B1 battle droids have antennae of this type on their backpacks. They're controlled by a large space station in orbit, so they need it to receive signals.
  • Royal Cruiser: The unnamed ship that Queen Amidala uses to escape past the Trade Federation's blockade, which comes complete with a throne room for her.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The virgin birth of Anakin Skywalker, who according to an ancient prophecy is said to bring balance to the Force. He also likes to build things and lived in the desert. The image of Darth Maul resembles the Christian Devil as well.
  • Running the Blockade: The Jedi and the Queen escape Naboo through the Trade Federation blockade aboard the Queen's royal cruiser.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Qui-Gon's death at Darth Maul's hands shocks the Jedi into realizing the Sith have returned and dark days are on the horizon.
  • Sadistic Choice: One for Watto; he can't resist a bet when Qui-Gon gambles for Shmi and Anakin. When Watto tells him the racing pod is only worth one slave, Qui-Gon chooses Anakin. Watto is about to accept this, only to do some mental calculations and realize Anakin is the more valuable of the two. He then tries to throw weighted die to keep the boy out of the bet; Qui-Gon maneuvers the dice so it lands on blue, choosing Anakin. Of course, Watto could have avoided the bet completely and avoided the chase clearly.
  • Same Language Dub: Darth Maul's voice is dubbed by Peter Serafinowicz (Ray Park's real, fairly higher voice can be heard as Toad in X-Men — not scary at all).
  • Scenery Porn: The forests of Naboo and the skyscrapers of Coruscant are absolutely beautiful.
  • Schizo Tech: Naboo in general:
    • In all respects the human population has technology on par with what is standard for the Republic. But their (non-industrial) architecture looks straight out of the Italian Renaissance.
    • The Gungans are even more glaring. They live in spectacular underwater cities composed of transparent bubbles, use deflector shield technology even in place of transparent material on the canopies of their submarines, as well as on the battlefield, and their preferred weapons are spheres filled with ionized plasma. But they use dinosaur-like kaadus and fambaas as mounts and beasts of burden and their only means of "firing" their plasma spheres is through the use of slings or by hand!
    • Tatooine also falls under this, for example by showing a semi-broken down landspeeder being pulled by an Eeopie.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • When Sidious orders Nute Gunray to land his troops on Naboo, Gunray wonders if that's actually legal. Sidious, who in his civilian identity is an influential politician, snaps that he will make it legal.
      Darth Sidious: This turn of events is unfortunate, begin landing your troops now.
      Nute Gunray: My lord, is that legal?
      Darth Sidious: I will make it legal.
    • On hearing that the Jedi Council won't let Anakin become a Padawan, Qui-Gon says that he will take on the boy as his apprentice and that Obi-Wan is ready to face the trials to become a Knight. This is against Jedi protocol.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Qui-Gon's tendency to do this has brought him at odds with the other Jedi, respected as he is. The most notable example is when he decides to have Anakin trained as a Jedi despite the Council explicitly telling him no, even attempting to train Anakin himself despite already having Obi-Wan as an apprentice and no Master being allowed to have more than one appreciate at a time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Qui-Gon opts to jump on the Queen's ship and run from the fight on Tatooine rather than stick around and finish it. Justified, as he recognizes Maul as a Sith and needs to report it to the Council as quickly as possible.
  • Secret-Identity Identity: Two prominent Naboo figures, Padmé and Palpatine, have cultivated two identities to deal public and private matters separately. In both cases, the public identity is the mask while the undercover identity is their true self. Padmé's is out of actual need, Palpatine's is... well...
    • Queen Amidala is the emotionless, pampered queen who sits within the comfort of her guards and commands with a regal voice. Padmé Naberrie is the sweet, kind handmaiden who befriends the lowly slaves and outcasts and speaks with a natural voice. Notably, Padmé Naberrie is her birth name and Amidala is merely a given name that sticks with her long after her tenure as Queen of Naboo.
    • Sheev Palpatine is the wise, humble senator who has been jaded by political corruption in the Senate, but believes things will get better if a stronger Chancellor is elected. Darth Sidious is the evil, manipulative Sith Lord responsible for the invasion of Naboo and much of corruption within the Republic. Tellingly, Darth Sidious appears first and feels more real than Senator Palpatine.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Qui-Gon knows handmaiden Padmé is actually Queen Amidala; he's unsurprised and gives a knowing look to Obi-Wan when she publicly reveals her identity — presumably, he keeps the secret for her own protection. He also takes the opportunity to rile her up a bit when she complains about his riskier plans, saying that he's sure the Queen will approve of his decisions.
  • Sequel Escalation: Played with. The film has lower stakes than A New Hope, its counterpart in the original trilogy. A planet is invaded rather than being outright destroyed, and the climax involves the destruction of the ship that controls the droid army rather than a planet-destroying superweapon. Thus, the trope is inverted if you watch the films in release order, but it's played straight if you watch the series chronologically.
  • Shell Game: One of Padmé's handmaidens, elected decoy Sabé, turns up in full regalia, even shooting several battle droids on the spot, fooling the Trade Federation into thinking she's the queen and leaving Padmé relatively unguarded at a key moment.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The podrace is a space-age Chariot Race, complete with giant engines in place of horses, and the whole sequence is a huge reference to Ben-Hur (1959).
    • The podrace scene does also owe a lot to the racing car sequence from Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (a fact that made all Norwegian viewers go "huh", as every Norwegian alive have seen that move at least five times).
    • Some of Jar Jar's antics are taken almost directly from the films of Buster Keaton.
    • Also as a likely Take That!, the leader of the Trade Federation is Nute Gunray after former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as well as a reversal of Ronald Reagan, to get back at Project Star Wars (and possibly the public media funding cuts that forced a lengthy delay of the radio adaptation of Return of the Jedi), and the Neimoidian senator is named Lott Dodd after U.S. Senators Trent Lott and Chris Dodd.
    • The Neimoidians are named after Leonard Nimoy. Even more amusingly, they were called Shatnerians in the earliest drafts of the script.
    • The title itself is a reference to the Universal serial "The Phantom Creeps" and its first episode, "The Menacing Power".
    • One of the Discovery's EVA pods from 2001: A Space Odyssey can be seen in Watto's junkyard. The reference book Star Wars: Complete Locations identifies it as "a repair and maintenance pod of unknown origin."
    • One of the members of Captain Panaka's squad is named Cid. This was done in response to Square Enix having recurring characters named Biggs and Wedge.
    • The design of the Trade Federation's troop-landing ships are nearly identical to the Torumekian armored corvettes in the Manga of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Padmé says "My people are suffering," and Sio Bibble says "The death toll is catastrophic," but we don't really see the impact that the Trade Federation invasion had on Naboo. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that, as all communications are blacked out, that conspicuously clear message must be a fake made by the Trade Federation to induce Amidala to reveal her position and there is actually nothing to see.
  • Shown Their Work: The Naboo is one of few examples of Space Jews to also fall under this, between the architecture and the references to Hindu culture and the depiction of Qui-Gon's funeral.
  • Skyscraper City: Large swaths of the planet Coruscant are encrusted with giant skyscrapers... built on top of older skyscrapers... built on top of even older skyscrapers. It's uncertain if the planet even has actual ground anymore. It's said to host one trillion inhabitants. A few of the skyscrapers are the construction droids that build more skyscrapers.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Darth Maul, technically, only has about 10 minutes of screen time and even fewer lines of dialogue. But the sheer importance of his role can be seen in the posters, as one possible interpretation of "The Phantom Menace" is that it is referring to him (the other options are Palpatine/Sidious and Anakin). After all, he did kill Qui-Gon Jinn, which forced Anakin unto Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was said to train him in the Original Trilogy.
  • Space Is Cold: Mentioned word-for-word by Padmé to Anakin.
  • Spin-Off: Notable for being the movie with the most spin-off video games of any of the prequels: The Phantom Menace, Episode 1 Racer, Super Bombad Racing, Jedi Power Battles, Obi-Wan, and Battle for Naboo.
  • Spit Take: Jar Jar does this in regards to how much a Gorgnote  cost (7 wupiupi). This actually got him into even more trouble as he ended up spitting it into Sebulba's soup, and likewise resulted in Sebulba beating the crap out of Jar Jar in revenge before Anakin broke it up.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Army: The Droid Army of the Trade Federation is a heavily mechanized force consisting of tanks, armored transports, and speeders for scouting and air support. The Gungan Grand Army utilizes organic cavalry, catapults, and a deflector shield for protection.
  • The Stinger: The iconic Vader Breath, which recalls what Anakin will become, is played towards the end of the credits.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Aside from the more classic lightsaber sounds, good ol' Wilhelm scream and blaster shots, a few, more generic sounds can be distinctly heard in a few scenes, which can be rather glaring in comparison to the other more decent sound effects of the film:
    • When Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Amidala rescue a group of hostages and destroy a few B1 battle droids in order to travel to Tatooine, we're briefly treated to the severed half of a droid which makes a very common electric spark sound. (Heard at the beginning of this video.)
    • When Anakin is showing his podracer to his friends on Tatooine, this children laughter sound is heard.
    • When Jar Jar is seen exploring Anakin's house on Tatooine, he briefly hits some pieces of junk and a droid and a very familiar cartoon hit can be heard.
  • The Stoic: No matter the situation, Qui-Gon remains calm and collected.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Trade Federation at the start of the film, relating to the blockade of Naboo.
    Viceroy: As you know, our blockade is perfectly legal.
  • Take That!: One of the early ads for the film spoofed the infamous "Size Does Matter" tagline of the 1998 Godzilla film with the phrase "Plot Does Matter."
  • Take Up My Sword: Qui-Gon dies before he has a chance to properly train Anakin and tells Obi-Wan to take his place.
  • Tempting Fate: Qui-Gon confidently declaring that "the negotiations [with the Neimoidians] will be short". In this case, "short" means that the Neimoidians blow up their transport and send battle droids to assassinate them.
    Obi-Wan: You were right about one thing, Master. The negotiations were short.
  • Thememobile: Pod racing on Tatooine approaches Wacky Racing levels of diversity, as there's little commonality among the podcraft. One outstanding case is Ben Quadinaros, a four-armed alien whose pod is powered by four engines rather than the usual two. Presumably, these engines can be individually controlled, as Ben has four arms: one for each engine. This hardly matters, as at the start of the race, his power couplings fail, sending the four engines careening wildly while Ben sits in his pod immobile.
  • Theme Song Reveal: Anakin's theme including chords from The Imperial March. A more subtle one is the joyful parade tune played during the film's post-climax celebration. It's Emperor Palpatine's theme from Return of the Jedi, in a major key instead of a minor key, with a children's choir backing it.
  • Thermal Dissident: Anakin makes it known he feels rather cold while leaving Tatooine on the spaceship, even using a blanket. Padme tells him it is because he is used to living on the desert planet.
  • Three Stooges Shout-Out: Ody Mandrell's pit droid crew has a brief moment of slapstick reminiscent of Moe, Larry, and Curly.
  • This Cannot Be!: Nute Gunray when Qui-Gon continues to cut through the blast doors despite more coming down to block his way.
    Rune Haako: They're still coming through!
    Nute Gunray: This is impossible!
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • When Amidala calls for a no-confidence vote against Valorum, he collapses into his chair, fully realizing that his career is over.
    • Captain Tarpals says "Ouch time" when the battle droids unfold and start marching.
    • Qui-Gon can only give an awkward smile before leaving after he tries and fails to Mind Trick Watto into taking Republic credits for the parts he needs, clearly having expected that to work and not having a plan B just yet.
  • Three Successful Generations: Anakin Skywalker has always dreamed of having the freedom to become a Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi is obedient to the Jedi council and makes a stable father figure to Anakin, and Qui-Gon Jinn is insistent that Anakin become a Jedi Knight and fulfill his destiny.
  • Toilet Humour: Mostly courtesy of Jar Jar, and perhaps the first instances of such in Star Wars. Fans were not amused.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The captain of the droid control ship should have taken that report of the reactor having a problem seriously.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The theatrical trailer spoils a climactic death. Obi-Wan screams "NO!" in the trailer, and there's a shot of Qui-Gon in pain during the Big "NO!".
  • Traitor Shot: Done rather subtly. While Mace and Yoda are talking about their discovery that Maul was a Sith and wondering (in view of what they know about the Sith "Rule of Two") whether he was the master or the apprentice, the camera casually pans across all the mourners at Qui-Gon Jinn's funeral, coming to rest only when it reaches the new Chancellor-elect Palpatine.
  • Tranquil Fury: Padmé never raises her voice, even when you can tell she is seething in rage. Sabe, her bodyguard, will raise her voice in the heat of battle.
  • Underwater City: The Gungans live in a massive city within the oceans of Naboo. This protects them from the land armies the villains send to Naboo, and since the oceans run through Naboo's core, makes the underwater city the first destination for heroes who need to travel across the planet fast.
  • The Unfettered: A rare heroic example of an unfettered character; when Obi-Wan tries to call Qui-Gon out on his more questionable actions, he simply says, "I will do what I must," without hesitation.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: Qui-Gon's original plan is for Anakin to be trained as a Jedi and bring balance to the Force. This seems to fail when Anakin falls to the dark side. In Return of the Jedi, however, Anakin does bring balance to the Force by destroying the last of the Sith (including himself).
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Amidala has a new, elaborate outfit for nearly every scene, despite having fled her home planet after a sudden invasion. This is one of the most famous aspects of the movie. Even subtly lampshaded by Obi-Wan, who says they have nothing to barter with apart from the Queen's wardrobe.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Qui-Gon's determination to have Anakin trained as a Jedi spells doom for the Jedi Order and decades of conflict for the rest of the galaxy. It's not entirely his fault, though; if he'd lived to train Anakin on his own, it would have been more difficult for Palpatine to subtly manipulate Anakin towards the dark side, as Anakin would have been mentored by the master who was the closest thing to a father he had ever known and also knew what he was doing rather than a grieving and inexperienced Obi-Wan.
  • Used Future: Averted on Naboo and Coruscant, showing that this is a different era, the era of the Galactic Republic. Obi-Wan's and Qui-Gon's are also immaculate in this film, quite unlike Obi-Wan's and Yoda's threadbare and tatty robes, showing the Jedi at the height of their power. However, the trope is played straight on Tatooine, representing the darkness eating at the Republic.
  • V8 Engine Noises: While a majority of the pod racers sound more akin to piston engines under wide-open throttle, Anakin's pod uses the unedited engine note from a V12 Formula One car, complete with upshifts!
    • And Sebulba's sounds almost like a 2-stroke moped engine idling!
  • Wacky Racing: Podracers collide into each other, Tusken Raiders fire at the racers, and the track is filled with obstacles, so Qui-Gon is right when he says that racers need to have Jedi-like reflexes to race.
  • War Comes Home: Played straight with the Naboo and the Gungans who are subject to an invasion by the droid armies of the Trade Federation. Queen Amidala is forced to leave her home planet before leading a battle against the droid armies to liberate her homeworld after the Senate fails to act.
  • Wham Line: Qui-Gon tries to make sense of why Anakin Skywalker is so powerful at the age of ten, and asks Shmi Skywalker about Anakin's father. She answers, "There was no father."
  • Wham Shot: A downplayed variation with Sidious and Maul's sole scene together on Coruscant. Every other shot of Sidious throughout the film is him as a hologram. So, it definitively confirms that the eponymous "phantom menace" is indeed flesh and blood. Lucas even acknowledges this was his intent here on the DVD Commentary.
  • Worthless Currency: While on Tatooine, Qui-Gon tries to buy the parts he needs from Watto with Republic credits. Because Tatooine is outside of the Republic and moreover in the ass-end of space, Watto tells him to get him some real money.
  • Wuxia: While the Original Trilogy is heavily inspired by Jidaigeki samurai films, the Prequel Trilogy takes more inspiration from the wuxia genre.
  • Xanatos Gambit: By convincing the Trade Federation to blockade Naboo and coerce Queen Amidala to sign a treaty legitimizing the Federation occupation, Palpatine has already won the day and now must keep up appearances with the Trade Federation so they don't rat him out. By having Darth Maul reveal himself, he even removes that potential loose end.
    • Should Queen Amidala sign the treaty, Palpatine can lobby against this action in the Senate for Valorum's removal due to allowing this to take place.
    • Should Queen Amidala escape into exile or be killed, Palpatine has himself a martyr to use for this same lobby.
    • Should the Jedi be killed, the Republic would be forced to acknowledge the under-the-table actions Valorum had taken to try and avert this without taking a stand.
    • With Queen Amidala's successful escape, she fell right into his lap for him to demonstrate the corruption of the Republic firsthand, manipulating her into calling for Valorum's removal, with public support on her side due to their plight.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Watto says this of Anakin.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: The look on Padmé's face when she learns that Anakin has never actually finished a podrace, let alone won one.

"And you, young Skywalker. We will watch your career with great interest."

Alternative Title(s): Star Wars The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace


Trade Fed Ship Destroyed

Anakin Skywalker destroys the Trade Federation's mothership, which de-activates the droid army on Naboo.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheMothership

Media sources: