Where did you get the title, The Phantom Menace?

It's a special title with a special meaning. I like it because it's both descriptive and cryptic. The title's meaning is open to interpretation. I wanted to avoid a cliche title. I've had this particular title in mind for a very long time.

With eight months to go before the film's release, is it safe to assume that this title is going to be "Revenge of the Jedi" all over again?

Not necessarily. There are issues related to the threat of pirated Ep. 1 merchandise that would make a phantom title a serious consideration . . . The fans have been eager for a title and I knew at some point I would have to title Episode 1, but that doesn't mean I can't change it. The entire film still remains subject to certain changes until its release.

Do you enjoy shocking the fans?

Some would think so. (laughs)

starwars.com was the first to report that Boba Fett will appear in Ep. 2, that Ep. 1 will be released May 21, 1999 and that the film is titled "The Phantom Menace." Why are you reporting Ep. 1 news to the internet first instead of print or televised media?

The internet is the primary means by which many fans exchange their ideas, feelings and opinions about the films. For various reasons, the vast majority of the interest in this film is on the internet. It's also an efficient means to release information to the public, without having to go through a third-party outlet which we can't control. Once the news is released on the site, it is generally quickly picked up by the popular media.

How much has the film changed plotwise since principal filming ended last year?

Various aspects of what we filmed were and will be changed to meet certain dramatic needs. During post-production, a film is always changing and evolving. With the computer-animation techniques that are available, I can literally modify every film frame if I wanted. Everytime I watch the rough edits there's always something I wish I could change. There's always a better way a scene could have been filmed or better dialogue that could have been used. I can pretty much make whatever changes I want with ILM's help, but budgetary considerations limit how much you can play around with things. There's only so much time and money that I can spend.


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