Multimedia Multiverse is a series which delves into the production process of iconic films, games and TV shows and discovers how they could have turned out differently. In partnership with starwarseditor.com we will be writing articles delving into the development process of various Star Wars projects and deciphering just how different this iconic saga could be in an alternate world. Although we try to find reliable sources from those who worked on the projects, it can be unclear as to what is true and what is not, though as per the rules of the Multiverse theory anything can happen. In this article we will be exploring the first chronological film in the Skywalker Saga, The Phantom Menace.
as Qui Gon Jinn
as Obi Wan Kenobi
as Queen Amidala
Benicio Del Toro
as Darth Maul
An Animatronic Anx
as Mace Windu
as Sio Bibble
(Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial)
(Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Da Vinci Code, Willow)
(Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Death Becomes Her)
According to an issue of Starblazer magazine that was published in 1985, the film would feature the appearance of a witch-like character that would tempt and seduce Anakin Skywalker to the darkside. Though it seems unlikely this rumour has any truth to it, it is possible that (if true) this witch could be a concept that lead to the creation of the Nightsisters as seen in The Clone Wars.
Early versions of the script did not feature Qui-Gon Jinn, instead the role of Qui Gon would just be Obi-Wan as a Jedi Knight rather than a Padawan. Qui-Gon was added in order to further establish the theme of 'passing the torch' that is present throughout the Skywalker Saga.
The character of Darth Maul was initially meant to have much more dialogue. This is when Benicio Del Toro was attached to play Maul, though when newer drafts of the script cut much of Maul's dialogue he lost interest in the role and exited the project.
A Jar Jar Too Far?
It's hard to believe that the character of Jar Jar Binks could be even more comically inclined, though some original designs of him had the Gungan fitted with elastic-like bones. This would make him able to stretch his body as well as alter his appearance in different settings. He was also intended to have a dog-like pet/sidekick called Blarth that constantly craved attention.
The Destruction of Otoh Gunga
As seen in early storyboards of the film, the underwater Gungan city of Otoh Gunga was to be destroyed before Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan could find the location. It was decided that this was too dark for the film and the idea was subsequently scrapped.
Before production started on the film, Mace Windu was intended to be portrayed by an animatronic alien. When Samuel L. Jackson joined the cast, the role was repurposed to suit him. The animatronic does however appear in a few scenes of the film, once at the pod race watching with Watto as Graxol Kelvyyn, and again amongst the senators of the Galactic Senate as Senator Horox Ryyder.
In an earlier cut of the film, when Maul was defeated by Obi Wan he was to fall down into the pit in one piece. However George decided he should be cut in half to make it explicitly clear that the character was dead and he would never be coming back. Ironically, George would later go on to revive the character for The Clone Wars TV show.
Bail Organa of Alderaan
This deleted scene would feature the debut of the character Bail Organa, played here by Irish actor Adrian Dunbar. As the scene was cut the character instead became a new character known as Bail Antilles, and was referred to as such in a majority of reference books, though some still referred to the characters as Organa. Bail Organa would actually make his first appearance in the following film Attack of the Clones and was instead portrayed by Jimmy Smits.
In a deleted scene this young Rodian gets themselves into a fight, to which someone exclaims "Stay out of trouble, Greedo, or you'll come to a bad end". In the final film and canon material however any mention of this character being a younger Greedo is removed and the character is instead referred to by the name Wald.
R2 the Rocketeer
The concept of R2-D2 having rocket boosters was actually supposed to be introduced in The Phantom Menace. It was scripted that R2 would fall off of one of the Coruscant landing platforms and would use his built in boosters to save himself. Despite this scene being partially shot it was ultimately left out of the film, though R2's boosters would feature in Attack of the Clones.
Naboo Solar Sailer
Queen Amidala's ship was originally designed to be a yacht powered by a solar sail. When this idea was rejected, it was later recycled for Count Dooku's Solar Sailer in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002).
Early concept art for the character of Darth Maul depicted the character as female. George tasked artists with drawing a character as if from a nightmare. These concepts would go on to serve as designs for the Nightsisters of Dathomir, first seen in The Clone Wars series.
More Alien Mace
This design is much more humanoid than the Anx animatronic that was to be used for Mace Windu. Despite being scrapped it would later resurface in The Clone Wars as the design for Consular Jedi doctor Rig Nema.