The Worst Star Wars Movie Trailer Intentionally Lied To Fans

By Zack Zagranis | Published

The first teaser for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace released on November 20, 1998, was a game-changer. It is impossible to describe to anyone who wasn’t there just how hyped society as a whole was for the follow-up to Return of the Jedi. Now, a shocking revelation has come to light: that hype may have been generated artificially through dishonest editing.

What Fans Wanted, Not What They Would Get

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Dr. David West Reynolds, one of the two editors responsible for the original Episode I teaser, recently dropped a bombshell on an episode of the Trash Compactor podcast. According to Reynolds, he and his co-editor made the conscious decision to make a trailer that resembled the Star Wars movie fans wanted instead of the one they would soon get.

A Movie For George Lucas’ Kids

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Upon seeing the film George was making, it became apparent to Reynolds, as a long-time fan, that it wasn’t the droid Star Wars fans were looking for. Something Reynolds admits was Lucas’s plan from the beginning. “George is saying to Rick McCallum and a couple of other people that you’re not going to like this, but I am making this movie for my kids. That’s what I’m doing,” Reynolds recalls Lucas telling him and producer Rick McCallum, “So there are going to be a lot of decisions that you’re not going to agree with, but that’s the movie that I’m choosing to make.”

Intentionally Left Out Jar Jar Binks

Reynolds was asked what specific things he chose to hide from the Phantom Menace trailer. The slapstick humor,” the Archeologist turned Lucasfilm employee answered. He then added the quasi-racist accents employed by Jar Jar Binks and the Neimoidians as another aspect he chose to leave out of the teaser.

While it’s foolish to think that including a shot of Jar Jar saying, “Yousa people gunna die?” would have stopped scores of Star Wars fans from camping out on the sidewalk for weeks just to be the first to see the movie, there are definitely some fans that wouldn’t have been quite so enthusiastic for Episode I had they knew one of the main characters would have a horse-like creature fart in his face.

The Editor’s Hopes And Dreams Crushed

Clearly, Reynolds’s decision wasn’t easy. Several times on the podcast, he describes going back and forth over whether to accurately represent the film or craft his idealized version of it. While he ultimately went with the more deceptive course of action, it’s clear that it had nothing to do with wanting to trick people into seeing the movie and everything to do with not wanting to crush their dreams.

Reynolds describes his first meeting with George Lucas as a prime example of why you should never meet your heroes. Reynolds took the opportunity to gush over how much he loved Star Wars: A New Hope, only to find out that Lucas hated how the movie turned out.

“I was so passionately a fan of what they now call A New Hope.” Reynolds said, “That was the perfect myth to me, and it was, it was elegant in the way that it was presented.” He then goes on to describe the film as “simple,” and “earnest” as well as the perfect film to give viewers “something to believe in.” Reynolds was crushed when Lucas then told him, “No, no, no. That movie was not at all what I intended.”

The Phantom Menace Was Lucas’ Dream Project

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Lucas told Reynolds that The Phantom Menace was what he “intended to do with Star Wars from the beginning.” George stated that Star Wars was supposed to be humorous and, first and foremost, for kids, something Reynolds was sad to hear. “None of that was what I wanted to hear from my idol, you know, my guru that I have climbed my Himalayan mountain to reach,” Reynolds confessed sadly.

It’s clear that Reynolds had such a reverence for the original Star Wars films, at one point calling them artwork that “transformed” his life, that he didn’t want others to experience the heartbreak that he felt when faced with his idol’s “true” vision.

A Major Letdown

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While we’re not sure that we would have done the same thing in his shoes, we can at least understand where the guy was coming from. No one wants to find out that the man behind the curtain is less a radical genius with goals of changing cinema forever and more a flannel-wearing Dad who put a scene in his movie where a character steps in poop just to make his kids laugh.

Source: Trash Compactor