The first major signs of trouble in the relationship between George Lucas and legions of ardent adult “Star Wars” geeks can be traced directly to May 19, 1999.
“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” opened at midnight, and theaters practically sank under the weight of audience expectations. The movie certainly made a huge impact in the "Star Wars" community, but not in the way the filmmaker or fans could have predicted.
“The Phantom Menace,” which returns to the big screen in 3-D on Friday, occupies a unique and controversial place in the "Star Wars" universe for a generation of adults who grew up on the trilogy of the ’70s and ’80s. For one, it ushered in the era of the harshly criticized "Star Wars" prequels, which some of the geek faithful saw, fairly or not, as a betrayal.
It was also the beginning of a standoff between Lucas and vocal fans who were displeased not only by the new movies, but also the filmmaker’s decisions to tinker with key scenes in the original "Star Wars" films. There’s a reason for all those “Han Shot First” T-shirts on the Internet.
The emotional reaction to “The Phantom Menace” and what it represents speaks volumes about the fierce sense of ownership that hardcore nerds have about the things they love. FULL POST