George Lucas was supposed to write only one long film to cover the beginning of the Star Wars. As a matter of fact, the title of the film was to be “The Beginning”. But as he was writing, he realized that he could not cover the whole story in just one film. George Lucas elaborated the first section of the storyline calling it episode 1, and thought that depending on how successful this movie would be, there could be sequels following it. By the time he finished writing his third episode, he already had negotiated a contract that would give him rights to present the entire story as a trilogy. His screenplay was inspired by his own 15 page outline written almost twenty years earlier.
It’s at the end of the writing of his trilogy that George Lucas revealed the name of the very first episode : The Phantom Menace. He chose this title in relation to Senator Palpatine who seemed like a good person, but who actually was the manipulative Sith Lord who turned Anakin Skywalker into the very famous Darth Vador.
I remember watching The Phantom Menace with my best buddy who was trying desperately to stay “dry”. He was, honestly, an alcoholic at the time and had just started a new 12 step program that require abstinence from any alcohol. It was really rough. Over the next ten years he was in and out of rehab programs and felt he was a total failure. When yo learn that the success rate for AA and other residential 12 step treatment programs is about 10%, its easier to understand why he never succeeded…until now. About a half a year ago he learned about a drug treatment for alcoholics that includes not only psychotherapy but also pharmacotherapy. The medication he is on is Baclofen which removes or strongly suppresses cravings for alcohol in 92% of people. Initial clinical trials show that Baclofen has a 65% success rate for treatment-resistant alcoholics. Doctors in Europe prescribe baclofen as the primary treatment for people who drink excessively. Interestingly this drug to prevent alcoholism originally was developed to help relieve painful spasm, automatism, as well as clonus from a number of neurological diseases associated with spasm of the skeletal muscles. It is only relatively recently doctors are using it to treat excessive drinking. My buddy has his drinking down to moderation. This treatment doesn’t require abstinence although many people do stop all drinking. Pretty incredible. This past weekend we celebrated his success with this new approach by doing a Presequal Star Wars movies marathon starting with…you guessed it: “Episode I: The Phantom Menace. PS: I love Jar Jar Binks.
With a budget of approximately 115 million dollars, this first episode of “The Beginning” grossed 924.3 million dollars worldwide, making it the highest grossing Star Wars film, the 12th highest – grossing film of all times and the 7th highest – grossing film of all time at the US box office.
It was a great accomplishment, but to this day there are some die hard fans that just claim it did not live up to expectations… I think that no matter how you try to handle a situation like the revival of this caliber film franchise, no matter what you do, some will not accept it as “good enough”. To me, this is just silly. If