To celebrate the 3D release of Jar Jar, Queen Amidala, Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn and little Anakin Skywalker hitting the big screen in glorious 3D, here are some of our favorite quotes from celebrities and bands interviewed in our past Star Wars Rocks section (no longer available on StarWars.com) who shared their favorite memories of The Phantom Menace.
Kyle Newman — Fanboys director: I remember lining up at the Union Square theater in New York City over a day and a half in advance. I was mesmerized by the already massive turnout, and thought, “Is this going to be the last movie to ever have a line like this?” In many ways it was. We didn’t need to line up, we wanted to! I had reserved my tickets online two weeks before. My seat at the midnight screening was secure, but I needed to be in that line because the movie is only part of the Star Wars experience!
After sixteen years without a film, I not only wanted a piece of that magic again — I wanted to celebrate the past too; to stand amongst anxious fellow fans and wonder and laugh and debate about what we were about to see; and discuss how it would change the face of what we knew and loved forever. It was exciting and nerve-racking. I was actually nervous! The hours leading up to the screening were electric. As soon as the usher dropped that velvet rope, the race for the perfect seat was on. But by that point it didn’t matter where I was sitting. I think I saw The Phantom Menace nine more times that week! And I waited in line every time. That sense of community and camaraderie and nostalgia are what makes Star Wars so very special!
Seth Green — Robot Chicken co-creator, actor: Impossibly, I got to go to Skywalker Ranch, and see The Phantom Menace for the first time in the Stag Theater with George just 10 rows behind me. There was so much excitement around the movie, and being there was really overwhelming. Such a great day.
Matthew Senreich — Robot Chicken co-creator: I remember standing outside the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City for a super-late night showing. It was a long, long wait. I interacted with way too many people who dressed in costume. It was quite fascinating actually.
Bill Hader — Saturday Night Live player: When I was going to college in Phoenix, my friends and I took turns waiting in a line at the mall to see The Phantom Menace. One friend would be there at 6 in the morning; then I took over at noon. People kept asking us what we were in line for, and we thought it was so obvious since there was a dude dressed as Yoda behind me. But for a laugh we bought this cheap Backstreet Boys poster and made a sign saying “In line for Backstreet Boys” and told all these kids we were so excited to see them play.
Weird Al Yankovic — comedian/singer: I actually wrote “The Saga Begins” before I ever saw the movie [The Phantom Menace]. I wanted to get the parody out absolutely as soon as possible after the movie premiered in theaters, so I scanned the Internet for leaks and rumors, pieced together the plot as best as I could, and then wrote and recorded the song based on that. I actually did wait until I was able to go to the charity screening of The Phantom Menace before I actually mastered the album — just in case all those Internet leaks were completely bogus. I certainly expected the song to do well, just based on the fact that it was based on Episode I, which I think was the most heavily-anticipated film of my lifetime.