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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

December 12, 2012 by  

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, “Jar Jar is the key to all this,” declares director George Lucas in a behind-the-scenes video filmed during the production of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”

Of course, anyone who remembers that night in May 1999 when the hapless Gungan goofball Jar Jar Binks nearly ruined the “Star Wars” franchise would probably disagree with Lucas’ assessment of the now-reviled alien character. Lucas’ hilarious Jar Jar declaration is just one of the many moments captured in the behind-the-scenes montage that now look like terrible mistakes in hindsight.

The footage also features Lucas and producers auditioning several child actors for the pivotal role of young Anakin Skywalker — another fateful decision that would ultimately divide fans when the sci-fi prequel was released. Lucas ended up choosing “Jingle All the Way” actor Jake Lloyd as the future Darth Vader after seeing him screen test opposite the already-cast Natalie Portman.

Between the awful “Are you an angel?” dialogue and Portman’s irritated expression, it’s hard to believe that Lloyd actually got the part. But George Lucas apparently saw something in the youngster that others — including most fans — didn’t. It’s quite sad, really, and certainly not young Lloyd’s fault. No one should be subjected to such terrible writing at such a very young age.

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