George Lucas Reveals That THE PHANTOM MENACE is One of His Favorite STAR WARS Films
While George Lucas didn't appear in person at Star Wars Celebration this past weekend, there was a video that was shared during the 20th anniversary panel for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace that did feature Lucas.
In that video, Lucas thanked the fans for coming and also talked a little bit about the film and its legacy. One thing he revealed was that The Phantom Menace is one of his favorite Star Wars films and that Jar Jar Binks is his favorite character.
Here’s his quote:
"Thank you for coming to the Celebration. [The Phantom Menace] one of my favorite movies and of course Jar Jar is my favorite character. Ahmed [Best], you did a fantastic job. It was very very hard. Also for John Knoll and all the guys at ILM, I made it impossible for them. We broke a lot of ground. We were using test equipment but it was the beginning of digital, even though we didn’t get to shoot the whole thing digitally, we got to shoot part of it so it was really one of the first digital features and I’m very proud of that. The fans are always such a big part of these films and obviously those of you who are here are the fans of Episode 1 and I love each and ever one of you.
While a lot of fans don't share Lucas' enthusiasm for the film, the movie did break some ground in filmmaking tech and there were aspects of the movie that were very cool! Darth Maul (Ray Park) and that final battle between the villain, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jin (Liam Neeson) was pretty badass. The musical score was also pretty fantastic.
A lot of the younger Star Wars fans that grew up with this film in their lives love the movie, and that's something that I can understand as well. Hey, if this is the film that got a new generation of kids hooked on Star Wars, that's cool! Sure not everyone likes the film, but it does play a huge part in the Star Wars mythology and Skywalker history, which will obviously play a big role in The Rise of Skywalker.
You can watch the full panel below. Lucas comes on at the 1:01:28 mark:
I’m sure Lucas’ praise of the film and Jar Jar was likely in part due to a recent outpouring of fan support for Jar Jar actor Ahmed Best who admitted he had suicidal tendencies after the negative reaction from fans in regards to Jar Jar.
During The Phantom Menace panel, Best received excited cheers from the fans. He also appeared on the main stage at the convention a few days earlier to an enthusiastic crowd. You can watch that video below.