Lucasfilm Ltd.

A lot of "Star Wars" fans must be feeling their age right about now. It's been 20 years since "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" roared into theaters and ushered in a brand new era for the franchise. It may have its share of detractors, but you can celebrate your love for the first chapter in the prequel trilogy by learning some fun behind-the-scenes facts.

1. Theaters were under struct orders not to show the teaser trailer before a certain date. When one Canadian theater broke the embargo, it lost the right to screen "The Phantom Menace" at all.

2.Ewan McGregor happens to be the nephew of Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

3. An early draft of the screenplay depicted Obi-Wan Kenobi as an older, full-fledged Jedi, with Qui-Gon Jinn not appearing until the Coruscant scenes. Another version had Jar Jar becoming a Jedi (gulp).

4. "The Phantom Menace" is the only pre-Disney "Star Wars" movie where the word "lightsaber" is never spoken.

5.Benicio Del Toro was originally cast as Darth Maul, but he quit the project after George Lucas cut most of Maul's lines from the final script. Maul actually only speaks three lines and has a mere six minutes of screen time across the entire film.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

6. Actor Peter Serafinowicz was hired to dub over Ray Park's dialogue for Darth Maul. When Maul returned in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," Serafinowicz was replaced by Sam Witwer, who voiced Maul in the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

7. In order to conserve money, sets were only built as high as the actors' heads, with the remaining details filled in digitally. Unfortunately, because Liam Neeson is so tall he wound up costing the crew an extra $150,000.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

8. Fortunately, Neeson saved the crew a bit of money in other areas. His advanced communicator device is actually just a modified Gillette shaving razor.

9.Tupac Shakur was an avid "Star Wars" fan and campaigned for a role in "The Phantom Menace," with some speculating that he may have played Mace Windu had he not died in 1996.

10.Michael Jackson also campaigned for a part in the movie, specifically appealing to Lucas to let him play Jar Jar Binks. Lucas was reluctant to cast such a famous and recognizable actor in the role, but he did take actor Ahmed Best to one of Jackson's concerts in order to get the singer's approval.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

11. Best plays another small role in the film, appearing as a Jedi Knight when Chancellor Palpatine arrives on Naboo.

12. This movie established that "Star Wars" and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" exist in the same universe. One of the numerous platforms in the Galactic Senate chamber features several of E.T.'s alien brethren, referred to in the novel "Star Wars: Cloak of Deception" as the Brodo Asogi.

Universal Pictures

13. Actor Jake Lloyd claims that Lucas' original cut ran a full six hours, and that only a handful of people have ever been allowed to see this version.

14. Among the many items in Watto's junk shop is one of the space pods from "2001: A Space Odyssey."


15. This is the only live-action "Star Wars" movie where Anthony Daniels voices C-3PO but doesn't perform his movements. Because the droid lacks an outer shell at this stage in his existence, he was instead controlled by puppeteer Michael Lynch.