2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. A special panel was held at this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago to honor the occasion. Four behind-the-scenes crew members of The Phantom Menace – all of them still active Lucasfilm employees – graced the Celebration stage to share their memories and insights with host Warwick Davis.
Lucasfilm Art Director Doug Chiang was among the first to work on The Phantom Menace. To him, director George Lucas was “very smart” in the way he began the new trilogy of films. “He wanted to…make sure that the Star Wars galaxy was very cohesive,” Chiang continued, “because he never really considered it science fiction. He always thought of it as a period film…Episode I was going to be more grounded in the 1920’s and 30’s, whereas the original trilogy was more in the 1970’s. That gave me a really great foundation and became a template for all the films now going forward.”