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aka: Star Wars The Phantom Menace

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Obi-Wan: I have a bad feeling about this.
Qui-Gon Jinn: I don't sense anything.
Obi-Wan: 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....
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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, or simply known as The Phantom Menace, is a 1999 film and the first film of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. It is written and directed by franchise creator George Lucas, who takes the director's chair for the first time since A New Hope. It was released on May 19th, 1999.

In protest against rising taxes, the Trade Federation blockade the small, peaceful planet of Naboo to make their demands known. In response, the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic sends the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as ambassadors to negotiate the end of the blockade. The Trade Federation however invade Naboo, forcing the Jedi to protect Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) and help her to gain support to protect her people. On the way to the Galactic Capital, they encounter a young boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) who is extremely talented in the Force, and do battle with Darth Maul, the apprentice of a Sith Lord who is manipulating the Trade Federation's actions from the shadows to serve his own agenda.

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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.

Please move any character tropes to the proper character page.


The Phantom Menace contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    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 shields...by 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.
  • Action Girl: Padme 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.
  • 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 ships hangar and sabotage of the ships reactor to turn the tide.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The idea of an elected Queen sounds extremely strange, but, in fact, there are some places that actually did elect monarchy, including the Holy Roman Empire, medieval Ireland, and early modern Poland. There are still elective monarchies, including Malaysia, Cambodia, and Wallis-and-Futuna, a French territory in the Pacific Ocean, which is divided into three traditional kingdoms each led by a king elected among the local aristocracy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 – 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.
  • 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 paradisaical 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 "NO!": Obi-Wan 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. It ends up looking like Mario Kart on Steroids.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: The word "realistic" is one for Palpatine in this.
  • 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.
  • 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 some 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 of which there just happens to be one tomorrow. 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: 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 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.
  • 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+ removes most of the DVNR, fortunately.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • This is the only theatrical film in the Prequel Trilogy shot on film rather than digital video. Also, a sizeable portion of it was shot on location and with real sets rather than extensive Chroma Key like the other two Prequel Trilogy films. As a result, the film has more of a visual continuity with the original trilogy (especially the Special Editions) than with the subsequent films, which almost look like cartoons by comparison.
    • The Dark Horse comic adaptation of the film has the Droidekas Qui Gon and Obi Wan fight in the opening speaking a handful of lines, something that didn't happen in the movie and never happens again in either the films or their respective tie-ins.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 
  • 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 protagonist 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.
  • Filk Song: Weird Al's "The Saga Begins" (which Al wrote before the movie using internet spoilers, and he even attended a charity screening to make sure it was accurate!) is a spoof of Don McLean's "American Pie" sung from the perspective of Obi-Wan about "this here Anakin guy."
  • 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.
    • 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."
    • At the end of the credits, Darth Vader's breath is heard, giving us a glimpse into what Anakin will become in the future.
    • If you hadn't watched the original trilogy, the soundtrack makes a foreshadowing. When Yoda talks about Anakin at the end of the film stating that the boy's future is clouded, the Imperial March makes a brief yet meaningful appearance.
    • After the podrace Shmi tells Anakin that he "has given hope to those who have none." Anakin will father Luke and Leia, the hopes of the Original Trilogy.
    • 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.
  • 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 was replaced with a CGI Yoda in the blu ray release. This was because Lucas had 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.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: At one point, Sebulba calls Anakin "bantha poodoo", which is officially translated as "bantha fodder". A couple problems with this translation: first, poodoo sounds suspiciously like a combination of two little-kid fecal slang words (poo-poo and doo-doo); second, later in the movie, Jar-Jar is seen saying "Oh, Poodoo!" as if it were an expletive. Most people, in whatever language, don't swear by animal feed.
    • When C-3PO and R2-D2 first meet:
    C-3PO: Oh, hello, I don't believe we have been introduced.
    [Artoo introduces himself]
    C3-PO: R2-D2, a pleasure to meet you. I am C-3PO, cyborg-human relations.
    [Artoo chirps to Threepio]
    C3-PO: I beg your pardon, but what do you mean, "naked?"
    [Artoo beeps to Threepio]
    C3-PO: My parts are showing? Oh, my goodness, oh!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Tattoine. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif: It wouldn't be Star Wars otherwise. Anakin's theme includes chords from The Imperial March.
  • Let's Get Out of Here: Played straight by Anakin when he blows up the control ship's reactor core.
  • 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 the queen 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 Padme 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.
  • Martial Pacifist: Qui Gon is the epitome of this, especially when his mid-battle meditation contrasted against Darth Maul's animalistic, restless pacing while the two were separated by a forcefield.
  • 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 and 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.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It gets a 4, because of Qui-Gon Jinn being impaled by Darth Maul's lightsaber and Maul being sliced in two at the waist (complete with blood vapor puff), also with a lightsaber.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Celebrities Were Harmed: Lucas told Terence Stamp that Chancellor Valorum was like Bill Clinton - "He's a good man, but beleagured".
  • 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.
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    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 - and why Amidala says the page quote.
  • 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: Qui-Gon's communicator is a re-decoed woman's razor.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • A Gungan general'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.
    • The Neimodians when they seal off the bridge and realize the Jedi are still getting through.
    • 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!.
    • 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 start 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 Ensues: Enough for its own page.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Whatever young Anakin says to the Hutts is untranslated.
  • 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 attempted to walk up to several battle droids without any stealth, ask permission to go to Coruscant with several POWs, and then cuts him down when the droid, after briefly acting confused, realized that he should arrest him.
    • This is how Padme 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 Padme 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 Padm&eacute 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.
  • Retroactive Idiot Ball:
    • The reason that the Trade Federation is blockading Naboo is to get the Galactic Republic to lower/remove the taxes on trade routes. Attack of the Clones established that the Republic doesn't have an army. With the knowledge presented in the sequel, the Trade Federation would have just been better off blockading or invading Coruscant instead to protest the taxes.
    • Obi-Wan doesn't do anything to heal his fatally wounded master, but The Rise of Skywalker established the existence of Force healing, which can heal even fatal wounds like stabbed hearts. Since Rey could use the ability despite having a fraction of Obi-Wan's training, he should have been able to use the ability to heal Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • 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 Padm&eacute on Amidala's orders to scout the planet. He's actually worried for the queen's safety, since she is Padm&eacute and wants to explore the planet to get the parts they need, but will carry out her orders against his wishes.
  • 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 red, 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).
  • 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!
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • When Sidious orders Nute Gunray to land his troops on Naboo. The following dialogue shows this trope.
    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.
    • Qui-Gon on hearing that the Jedi Council won't let Anakin become a Padawan says he will take on the boy as his apprentice, stating 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 influential example by far 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 can have more than one appreciate at a time.
  • 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.
    • 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 publically 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.
  • 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 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."
  • 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.
  • The Stinger: Sort of: As the credits end, the viewer can distinctly hear Vader's iconic breathing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Padme 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Wuxia: While the Original Trilogy is heavily inspired by Jidaigeki samurai films, the Prequel Trilogy takes more inspiration from the wuxia genre.
  • 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 won a podrace, let alone finished one.


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

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

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Arrival on Coruscant

"Coruscant, the capital of the Republic. The entire planet is one big city."

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5 (3 votes)

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Main / CityPlanet

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