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"Every saga has a beginning."

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a 1999 science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas. It was the fourth film to be released in the Star Wars saga, and the first in terms of internal chronology. Among fans, the title is commonly abbreviated as "TPM."

The film begins as two Jedi, assigned as ambassadors to resolve a trade dispute, arrive in orbit of the threatened planet Naboo. When the situation turns violent, the Jedi, along with Padmé Amidala, the planet's queen, flee Naboo in an attempt to reach the capital world of the Republic, Coruscant. There they hope to find a peaceful end to the dispute. Along the way, the ship must stop for repairs on the planet Tatooine. It is there that the Jedi encounter Anakin Skywalker, a young slave boy who is unusually strong with the Force. When the group returns to Naboo, they realize that the situation is much worse than they had at first thought: the evil Sith, ancient enemies of the Jedi, have returned.

The release of the film on May 19, 1999 came almost 16 years after the release of the last film in the series, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The release was accompanied by extensive media coverage and great anticipation. Despite mixed reviews by critics and fans, it grossed $924.3 million worldwide.

Since the movie was released, Lego® made several sets and minifigures based on scenes and characters from Episode I.

On February 10, 2012, Episode I was rerelased in 3D.

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Alternate poster for the Episode I 3D-rerelease