SuperShadow: One of my friends has this to say about the Phantom Menace title and working on the film:
"Obviously, the title to Episode 1 has a million and one different meanings depending on your perspective. From ILM's perspective as Shadow mentioned in the newsletter, the Phantom Menace has been EXTREMELY menacing (not to mention frustrating) to work on. This is by far the most complex and intricate SFX (special effects) that we have ever attempted. Our accomplishments on this film will be mesmerizing and will secure many more Academy Awards for our effort. The revolutionary digital effects that you will see will leave all other films of 1999 in our wake.
No film will come close to the Phantom Menace until Episode 2 is released Summer 2002 . . . Also, this film truly is a "phantom" to the people working on it at ILM. The average Star Wars fan, who reads DSPR, knows a whole lot more about the film than we do. George is keeping the plot to this film a very guarded secret from us. If we don't know what the overall plot to the film is, then we can't leak it to you. It's an ingenious security pre-caution on George's part.
As far as the title, there is a rumor here that the Phantom Menace may not be the final title. As most of you know, during the filming of Return of the Jedi, George codenamed that film "Blue Harvest" in order to keep the production a secret. "Blue Harvest" was described to the public as a low-budget horror film with a tag line to the fit. Also, as many of you know, the first "official" title George announced for ROTJ was Revenge of the Jedi.
Ironically, the first title George has announced for this film could actually BE the title of a low-budget horror film. I don't know for sure, but I would be surprised if there WASN'T some low-budget B-movie of the 1950's or 1960's that was called the Phantom Menace. In fact, Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot and Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame have probably already lampooned such a film on their Sci-Fi Channel TV show . . . George may, once again, be using the horror genre to mask an important aspect of a Star Wars movie.
Obviously, George isn't going to acknowlege that this may be a preliminary title because then he wouldn't be able to crack down on pirate merchandise. Pirate manufacturers need to believe that this is the REAL title to the film before they will invest money in fake/rip-off Episode 1 merchandise (like shirts, teaser posters and ash trays). George must really be enjoying the unprecedented attention that this film is already getting. Can you imagine how intense this is all going to be come May 1999? George is full of many, many surprises. You need to give him some credit!" (Source: Anonymous Lucasfilm Informant)
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