There has been a lot going on lately to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It landed in cinemas worldwide on May 19th 1999 and brought with it a kind of cinemagoing mania that we hadn’t seen since the Summer Of The Bat.

The movie has been re-released so you can rediscover the profound sense of disappointment all over again. To celebrate this re-release, Lucasfilm’s YouTube account has just posted a remastered version of the original teaser trailer. This debuted in cinemas in November 1998 and there are no words to really describe what an absolutely massive event this teaser dropping actually was.

An entire generation of kids were late for school, or young adults late for work, on the morning of its release. When it was also broadcast on some breakfast television channels, half the planet hastily searched for a VHS tape with some capacity on it, and practically dived at their VCR to start the recording in time.


Any early adopters of the digital realm didn’t really have it any easier. There was no such thing as broadband back then, and YouTube hadn’t been invented. We had to use a 28k dial-up modem and set a course for Apple Quicktime (seriously!) for a several-hour download process. Then pray our parents didn’t want to use the landline in the house to make or receive a call, or we would be disconnected and have to start all over again.

The trailer scored over 1 million downloads within its first 24 hours of release, which equated to billions of hours of dial-ups chirping away as a progress bar moved millimeter by millimeter across the screen.


Kids today wouldn’t believe us.


Meet Joe Black would top the box office simply through people going in to watch the teaser, which was attached to the movie, then leaving having seen it.

A wild time. A happy and innocent time.

This teaser was a big, big deal. People then met to discuss it in revered tones. We immediately poured into the very early version of the internet movie community through sites like Corona Coming Attractions, Aint It Cool News, and Dark Horizons to speculate on what we had just seen.

Just watching this teaser again gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

Can’t save the prequels, though. They are still dogshit.

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