Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (also known by its subtitle, The Phantom Menace) is a 1999 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas, produced by Lucas film and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The fourth installment in the Star Wars series, the film stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Ray Park, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August and Frank Oz. The film was Lucas’ first production as a film director after a 22-year hiatus following the original Star Wars film, and his fourth film overall.
The film’s narrative follows the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. They escort and protect Queen Amidala, who is traveling from the planet Naboo to the planet Coruscant, hoping to find a peaceful end to a large-scale interplanetary trade dispute. The story also features a young Anakin Skywalker before he became a Jedi; he is introduced as a young slave boy who appears to have unusually strong nascent powers of the Force and must contend with the mysterious return of the Sith.