Monday, May 19, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Part 1)

Click here for an introduction to this review!

The film opens with the aforementioned infamous crawl about taxation and trade routes:

Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.
Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.
While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict...


And just like that, the world record for screwing up your movie is set, besides casting Taylor Kitsch to star in your movie.  The problem here is all of this is over the taxation of trade routes. In a Star Wars movie. Change this to the assassination of a key political figure or territory disputes, anything over freaking taxes. I suppose taxes could work if we saw ANY kind of effect they were having on anyone, but that's the absolute theme of this movie: NOTHING is explained whatsoever.

How is stopping shipping to the small planet of Naboo going to resolve a tax dispute? The Trade Federation (whose role isn't explained) wants the taxes on trade routes to outlying star systems increased or decreased (we're never told), so they block all shipping to Naboo by setting up a huge fleet of battleships.  This is meant to make the Republic Congress give in and increase or decrease the taxes, but they instead debate back and forth. What is the pro-blockade side of this saying? “Yeah, it's totally cool to deprive Naboo of all their goods, even though they're part of the Republic so should be automatically under our protection!”.

I mean, everyone in Congress knows about the blockade right? This is an outright and deliberate assault on a Republic planet AND the ships that arrive to deliver them goods (because the blockade is DEADLY), what is there to debate about? There hasn't been a single actor on the screen yet and already I'm bogged down trying to figure out plot points.  Not to mention, the Trade Federation isn't like its own world, right? They're just a large company that the Republic hired to deliver goods for them, and now they want more money because they're “greedy”. Why does the Republic have to bother with any of this? Can't they just fire the Federation instead of having to debate in the senate what they want to do? This is like if Pepsi wanted more money from Walmart and set up a barricade in front of a store.  Whew! Hard to believe it's been fifteen years already! Well, thanks for reading and- oh wait, there's still a movie to deal with isn't there?

A Republic ship carrying the two Jedi ambassadors, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, arrives at the blockade, the pilot hailing the Trade Federation in one of the most distractingly hoarse voices I've ever heard. Do they not have lozenges in the future? Or a long, long time ago or whenever the hell Star Wars is supposed to take place?  Nute Gunray, the Viceroy of the Trade Federation, answers the call and agrees to this. On a side note here, I believe when Lucas was writing this movie he just threw out whatever big sounding political word he could think of to describe someone.

Federation: a group of various bodies or parties that have united to achieve a common goal.
Viceroy: a governor who represents a sovereign in a province, colony, or country.

I know, I know: they're all aliens so they probably have different definitions for the same words we do but that's WEAK. You really couldn't use like “Chief Executive Officer” of the Federation or something like that? It doesn't help this movie when every few lines I have to stop and puzzle over something.  Speaking of which, Gunray adds “as you know, our blockade is perfectly legal”.  Ohhhhhh this is going to be the longest review ever. Why is the blockade legal? This private company is cutting off supplies to a member of the Republic, this is the DEFINITION of illegal. I know I'm beating this point to death, but none of this makes any sense. Why is the Republic allowing this? What is there to debate?! What is the pro-blockade side of this?!?

The Jedi are escorted by protocol droid TC-14 to a meeting room, where Obi-Wan immediately says the series catchphrase “I have a bad feeling about this”. So do I Obi-Wan, so do I. Good idea to get the cliches out of the way immediately so we can focused on the nuanced storyline ahead of us. The Jedi ramble on about nothing, Qui-Gon assuring Obi-Wan the negotiations will be short.  TC-14 tells Gunray the ambassadors are Jedi, Gunray's sidekick Daultay Dofine saying they are here to force a settlement. Why wouldn't they? Did you expect them to be happy you're screwing with one of the Republic's members? People are pretty freaking stupid in this movie. Gunray goes to call “Lord Sidious” to get advice on what to do.

The Jedi, like everyone watching this, are getting bored sitting around in the waiting room. Qui-Gon says he senses an unusual amount of fear for something as trivial as this trade dispute. If it's so trivial, why has it brought the entire Congress to a standstill? TC-14 brings them drinks, which they readily gulp down. Wasn't I just saying something about everyone being stupid in this movie? Good thing those weren't poisoned!  Gunray calls Lord Sidious, who appears as a hologram. Dofine bitches and whines, so the hologram kicks him out of the Bad Guys Club. Sidious tells Gunray to begin landing his troops on Naboo, the viceroy asking if that's legal. Sidious say's he'll make it legal, adding Gunray should kill the Jedi as well. We're going to talk about Sidious down the road, so I'm going to save all my ranting about our villains until then.

In the landing bay, laser cannons pop up and blast the Republic ship into oblivion. The loud explosion alerts the Jedi, who immediately bolt up and draw their light sabers. Geez, jumpy much? What if that was just an accident with some barrels or something? Do they just draw their sabers every time they hear a loud noise? I feel sorry for any pets these guys have. Rather, had.  Poison gas begins pumping into the room, both Jedi holding their breath. Battle droids amass outside the waiting room, a hologram of Gunray telling them the Jedi must be dead by now and to destroy what's left. They don't have cameras in that room to make sure of that first? Or why not just let the gas stay in there for hours just to be sure? Oh wait, these guys are stupid so never mind.

They open the doors, the view inside obscured by the toxic gas. We see two light sabers emerge from the gas as the droids open fire. The Jedi completely obliterate them, because the battle droids are TOTALLY WORTHLESS IN THIS MOVIE. To be fair, in the original trilogy the Stormtroopers ended up totally worthless themselves, but at least it took them three movies until they got their asses handed to them by teddy bears.  The Jedi make their way to the bridge where Gunray is, but he dispatches rolling Destroyer Droids to stop them. The Destroyer Droids open fire, so the Jedi run away at LIGHTNING SPEED.  Wait, does this mean the Flash is a Jedi too then?  Is the Speed Force actually THE Force?!

The Jedi escape into a different ship bay where they find a huge invasion force awaiting deployment. Qui-Gon says they need to warn the Naboo and contact Chancellor Valorum, which is a good idea. He recommends they split up and stow away on separate ships and meet down on the planet, which is a TERRIBLE idea.  Warn the freaking Naboo from the ship! By the time you're on the planet it's going to be too late to warn them, isn't it? And why the hell would you split up? You have no idea where these ships are headed. What if you wind up on completely different parts of the planet? I honestly don't remember the characters being THIS stupid. Obi-Wan does take a moment to crack a joke that Qui-Gon was right, the negotiations were short.

Obi-Wan says this with a really strange look on his face that I believe is called a “smile”. This is a very odd characteristic for any of the main characters in this movie to have. Gunray gets a video call from Queen Monotone Amidala of the Naboo, who tells him she has bad news. Is she pregnant? No that's not it, she tells him his “trade boycott” of her planet is now over.  Wait, it's a boycott now?

Boycott: to cease or refuse to deal with something such as an organization, a company, or a process, as a protest against it or as an effort to force it to become more acceptable

So the TRADE Federation is boycotting TRADE? Shouldn't this be the other way around with the Republic boycotting the Trade Federation over their blockade? Have I been able to go a scene without asking questions about something in it that made no sense?  Monotone has word Valorum's ambassadors are with him now and that Gunray's been commanded to reach a settlement. Oh, Valorum COMMANDS it huh? Why in the hell didn't he do that in the first place? You know, what exactly are his powers? He can't be that powerful if he had to send the Jedi in secret to handle this whole debacle. Gunray says he knows nothing of any ambassadors. Monotone warns him he's gone too far. The viceroy tells her he'd never do anything without the approval of the Senate.  So the Senate- wait, the Senate? I thought it was the Congress? You know, a Senate and Congress aren't the same thing Lucas.


So the Senate approved this blockade since the Federation would “never do anything without their approval”. Why would they approve that?! That's how it's legal? What in God's name is going on in this movie?!?  After Monotone hangs up, Gunray talks with his new sidekick Rune Haako, who has one of the most bitchingly awesome hats in history. He's the one who should be running this show.
Rune asks Gunray if he thinks Monotone suspects an invasion. Gunray doesn't know, but orders all communications to or from the planet jammed just in case. This scene shocked the hell out of me because someone actually did something smart.  On Naboo, Monotone calls the planet's Republic representative, Senator Palpatine, via hologram to tell him what Gunray said, but their call gets broken up by the jamming. She has a meeting with some heads of state or something, Naboo Governor Sio Bibble saying the jamming can only mean one thing: invasion.

Chief of Security Quarsh Panaka says the Federation can't invade because the Senate would revoke their trade franchise and they'd be finished.  I... I honestly can't take anymore of this. This is UNREAL. The Phantom Menace drinking game is take a shot every time something involving the Federation makes no sense. If you want to play extreme and kill your liver dead, take a shot every time something IN GENERAL makes no sense.

He goes on to say Naboo's security volunteers are no match against a “battle hardened Trade Federation army”. It's established Naboo is like a peaceful paradise, so I can forgive them not having an army but why does the Federation? Security, sure. We've seen shipping interstellar cargo can be a dangerous thing thanks to space pirates, but a “battle hardened one” capable of throwing up blockades over an entire planet? I hate to keep harping on this, but it's mind blowing how changing the Trade Federation to a rebelling planet would have fixed SO much stuff in this movie. Two simple words.  Monotone says her famous “I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war”. What, defending your people? Yeah, that's not important at all.

We see a ton of Federation ships land on Naboo in the middle of nowhere. This is something else I remember from fifteen years ago, why did they land so far away? Surely the Naboo would have noticed this and had plenty of time to scrape up their legendary security volunteers, or at the least go into hiding. On that topic, why did the Federation needs all of this if the Naboo doesn't even have an army? Why not just land a single ship and take over Theed Palace?

Gunray calls droid captain OOM-9, telling him they can't find the Jedi on the ship and they must have stowed away to the planet. We cut to Qui-Gon, who is running ahead of a fleet of giant hovering tanks cutting a path of destruction through the forest. Uh, so no one just sees him there? I mean, he's like RIGHT in front of the tanks.  As Qui-Gon runs, we see fan favourite character JAR JAR BINKS make his triumphant Star Wars debut. He's just standing there, waving his arms and going “oh no!” instead of trying to, you know, get out of the way of the tanks. Somewhere, Dr. Shaw and Captain Vickers from Prometheus are laughing their arses off derisively.


Since Jar Jar is to stupid to move, Qui-Gon tackles him to the ground to save him from getting steamrolled by the tank. You realize we're only ELEVEN minutes into this thing? I mean, the movie has been relentlessly curb stomping our brains since it started and now it's throwing Jar Jar at us? This has to be a violation of the Geneva Convention.  Jar Jar tags along with Qui-Gon. The way he talks... oh boy. I didn't forget how bad it was, but hearing again it is SO BAD. I suppose this is the part where I should talk about the accusations of racism in this movie, how some of the characters talk like racial stereotypes.

I don't know, this never bothered me very much because honestly I don't believe it was intentional. You think a zillionaire like Lucas, who's been sequestered in his crystal palace since the 1980s, has ANY idea how the world has evolved since then?  Qui-Gon tells Jar Jar to GTFO, but the gungan gives us this gem: “Mesa culled Jar Jar Binks. Mesa your humble servant!”

Yikes. Okay, maybe a little racist. Suddenly Obi-Wan runs into the picture, being chased by battle droids on those cool hover Segways of theirs. Qui-Gon quickly takes them out by using his light saber to return their blaster fire back at them.  It's worth noting there's a scene in the shooting script where Obi-Wan reveals his saber got shorted out in the water and now doesn't work. Qui-Gon tells him it'll recharge and be functional in time, telling him next time to make sure he turns off its power so that doesn't happen again. I thought that was a neat little scene that added some insight to light
sabers, but yeah let's cut that for some more WACKY HIJINX with Jar Jar.

Apparently the battle droids didn't bother calling for backup or telling anyone they found the Jedi, because no more appear. Jar Jar tells them the safest place would be Gunga City, which makes Qui-Gon's ears perk up. I guess this is because he thinks this will be a good place to contact the Naboo and Valorum, but I'm wondering why they don't use their super speed to run to Theed.

Jar Jar then backpedals a bit and says he can't take them there because he's been banished, but Qui-Gon talks him into it. They head to the shoreline of a sea, Jar Jar telling them the city is underwater. I hated this part a LOT the first go around, and it turns out I still do.

So... how are the Jedi going to get to this city that is deep underwater? Hold their breath for a very long time thanks to their mastery of the Force, like we've seen they can do? Noooo, they pull out these little re-breather devices that they just HAPPEN to have in their robes. I despise this, as with the exception of a light saber the very idea of a Jedi is the rejection of dependence upon technology.  A Jedi uses the the Force, their willpower, and their intellect to overcome obstacles rather than machines. That was one of the core concepts of the original trilogy, and by far one of my favourite things I got out of those movies.

And just to add some icing on this cake of wrongness, the Jedi enter the water wearing their heavy ass robes. They have to make swimming so awkward, but I guess the Jedi use the Force to make them lighter? Sigh.  They enter the city, immediately taken into custody by Captain Roos Tarpals. He brings them to “da bosses”, and I just noticed every single authority figure in this movie sits in a semi circle or a full circle.  The leader of the gungans is Boss Rugor Nass, who looks nothing like the other gungans. He's either really really fat or a different species altogether. Nope, he must be a gungan because I can't understand anything he's saying either.

“Dis army of Mackineeks up dare is new weesong”.  Yeah okay there, sure.

Qui-Gon tells him they need to warn the Naboo. You know Qui-Gon, you keep prattling on about warning them, what exactly are you going to do? As an ambassador, shouldn't you have researched the planet and discovered the Naboo have no army? Hell, shouldn't you have known about the gungans and Gunga City? But Jar Jar did say it's hidden, so maybe that's a secret to the Republic so I'll let that one go. Really at this point calling Valorum should be tops of your list so he could send some REAL help?

Nass doesn't care about any of this because they hate the Naboo. This is something I would have loved to see elaborated on more, or at all for that reason. Why do the two races hate each other? Just give me an OUNCE of depth movie, that's all I ask!  Obi-Wan tells him once the droids take control of the surface, they'll take control of the gungans. But if their city is a secret, how would the Federation know about it? Nass backs me up on this one, saying the droids don't know about them. Obi-Wan busts out one of the weirdest replies I've ever heard. “You and the Naboo form a symbiont circle. What happens to one of you will affect the other. You must understand this.”.  Qui-Gon gets fed up with all this bullshit so does what he should have done in the first place: the Jedi mind trick.

He makes Nass give him a ship so they can leave, the gungan telling him the quickest way to the Naboo is through “the planet core”. I don't think Lucas knows what a core is either.  You know what bugs me about this scene? When Qui-Gon uses the mind trick on Nass, we get a reaction shot of Jar Jar looking super confused as to why Nass is suddenly helping them. Now of course WE all know what Qui-Gon's doing, but imagine a first time viewer watching this. I'm sure there's some out there, there certainly will be next generation and they'll watch the movies in numerical order. They'll have no idea what's going on here, especially since the framing here is terrible and you can barely see Qui-Gon waving his hand.

The Jedi go to leave, Jar Jar asking them for help. Obi-Wan's all “AWW HELL NO!”, but Qui-Gon says “we'll need a navigator to get us through the planet's core”. REMEMBER THIS SENTENCE.  Qui-Gon tells Nass that he saved Jar Jar's life and now he owes him what the gungans call a “life debt”. Except the scene where Jar Jar uses those exact words was cut from the movie, so this part doesn't make a lot of sense. Oops! Nass sends Jar Jar along with the Jedi. You know what? We are only SIXTEEN minutes into this thing. I've seen glaciers that could run circles around the pace of this movie.

Upon learning he's free, Jar Jar spouts this sentence of sheer WTFery: “Count me outta dis one. Better dead here than dead in da core. Yee gods! What mesa sayin'?!” I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA!  They leave in the ship, which is called a bongo. Obi-Wan drives, somehow knowing how to expertly pilot the totally alien craft that he's never operated in his entire life. He asks Jar Jar why he was banished, and we get an answer I was never able to understand thanks to Jar Jar's gibberish.  Subtitles, take it away!

“It's a longo tale-o. Buta small part of it would be mesa... clumsy.”
“You were banished because you were clumsy?”
“Yousa might'n be sayin' dat. Mesa caused mabbe one, two-y lettle bitty axadentes, huh? Yud-say boom da gassar, den crashin' der boss's heyblibber, den banished.”

Ohhh, well that makes COMPLETE sense now! I guess we can just close the book on that fifteen year old mystery.  A giant fish attacks the ship, using its tongue as a tractor beam to draw the craft into its mouth. But then an even bigger fish shows up and eats it, allowing the bongo to escape. Qui-Gon quips “there's always a bigger fish”, which I have to admit is about a perfect line.  Back on the Federation ship, Gunray tells Sidious the invasion is going as planned. Sidious tells them he has the Senate bogged down in procedures and they'll have no choice but to accept the Federation's control of the system.  The bongo continues its trek through the “planet core”. Jar Jar asks where they're going, and Qui-Gon replying “Don't worry. The Force will guide us”.

I...

But...

You know what movie? No no no, seriously, you know what?! FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU SO MUCH! At 16:23 Qui-Gon says they'll need a navigator to help them through the core. At 19:24, THREE MINUTES LATER, they contradict this because all they need is the Force. Why did you bring Jar Jar along then?! What was Lucas drinking when he wrote this, and how much? Where are the bodies of the editors for this script buried?  Jar says “Ohh, maxi big, da Force. Well, dat smells stinkowiff.”.  Sure, I'll accept a completely isolationist society like the gungans would know about the Force but what the hell did the rest of that mean? Stinkowiff?! Was that a slam against the Force? Was he being sarcastic? How come Jabba The Hutt spoke better English than Jar Jar?

The bongo suddenly loses power as a result of the fish attack. Obi-Wan, who can fix any alien technology that he's never encountered before, repairs the entire ship by simply hotwiring it. I bet the Force told him how to do it! Moving one single little wire is somehow able to undo all the massive physical damage we see on the outside of the bongo from where the fish bit into it.  As the bongo's lights come back on, we see another giant fish. Jar Jar starts freaking out so Qui-Gon gives him the Vulcan nerve pinch to shut him up, and instantly this movie is awesome! They race away from the fish, but then ANOTHER even gianter fish shows up to save them. I guess this is a running gag now so it's funny? No? Oh.

We cut to the outskirts of Theed, where the Federation's invasion force is traveling through an endless sprawl of beautiful green grass and hills. This is where they should have landed instead of that forest with all of its trees and hard to see areas. We get a beautiful shot of Monotone sadly watching them arrive, which is easily my favourite shot in the entire movie.  A bit later Gunray and Rune arrive in Theed, learning the queen has been captured. I would have much rather seen her capture than the bongo nonsense, but this really isn't that kind of movie. Speaking of the bongo, it surfaces in a body of water right by the palace. Convenient!

Gunray and his army escort Monotone and her people through the city. Bibble asks how they'll justify this invasion to the Senate, Gunray telling him the queen will sign a treaty that will “legitimize” their occupation which the Senate will ratify. He has his droids take her to a makeshift prison camp. I'm holding off on THAT for a moment to point out Monotone has changed into a completely new and extravagant black costume, which I believe is the “Captive Queen” outfit. We've come a LONG way from “Slave Leia”.

In the original trilogy the characters change clothes somewhat often, which was very refreshing for the sci-fi genre. I'm NOT going to be cynical here and say it was so they could make more toys to sell, but the costume changes were always very practical. Leia changed clothes the most, and I believe they made Monotone pay homage to that because she changes clothes a LOT in this movie. However here it's almost never practical, because her outfits look incredibly complex and time consuming to change into.

This part is incredibly stupid, because it makes me think this happened: “Oh there's thousands of droids coming! Instead of trying to hide, escape, or marshal a resistance, I'm going to spend an hour changing clothes and doing my makeup! I don't want to end up on TMZ with the caption 'Kidnapped Queen a Hot Mess'!”.  Or even better, the droids politely wait outside her bathroom while she “goes to change”. We hear a window open, exaggerated running, a car door opening and slamming shut, a motor turning over, and tires loudly squeal off, the droids making small talk and whistling.

Monotone tells Gunray she won't sign the treaty. He says she will when she see how her people will suffer. Alright, I've stalled long enough. Incredibly enough, I think THIS was the most moronic part of the entire thing. WHY do they need her to sign the treaty? WHY couldn't they just forge her signature? After every illegal thing they've done, FORGERY is where they draw the line?  Why would the Senate need to ratify a treaty for a trading company to settle on a planet? I mean, they're not part of the Republic, they just had a contract with them or whatever. I imagine them as the equivalent of a tobacco company that has great power in the Senate because they buy everyone off, but if such a company suddenly took over part of America would our Senate need to ratify a treaty between Marlboro and Oregon? Again, this is something you can all chalk up to “they're aliens, their cultures are going to be different than ours” but if that's the case WHY NOT JUST MAKE THE FEDERATION A REBEL PLANET?!?

Psst... only 22 minutes into the film. I know this because this is where I stopped for a break because my head was beginning to get the brain pains.  The Jedi leap off a ledge and take out all the battle droids like they were made of paper. Well, the whole “warning the Naboo” thing you were so obsessed with didn't work out so well, did it Qui-Gon? He tells Monotone they're the ambassadors and the negotiations never took place. He says it's urgent they contact the Republic, but Panaka tells him about the jamming. Qui-Gon decides they need to take a ship and leave through the deadly blockade. That... doesn't seem wise.

They head to the main hangar bay, which is full of battle droids who are guarding a bunch of captive pilots. Qui-Gon tells Panaka they won't be a problem like any of us were worried for a nanosecond. Why even have the battle droids in this movie at all? Why not use Destroyer Droids, the only thing that the Jedi apparently can't defeat? Sure you always knew the Stormtroopers weren't going to win, but at least they were an effective enemy that always overwhelmed our heroes and forced them to use their heads to win.  Qui-Gon wants Monotone to come to the Republic capital of Coruscant with them so she can relay the situation. She says her place is with her people but the Jedi tells her the Federation will kill her. Panaka says no way, they need her to sign the treaty to make their invasion legal.


Bibble says she should go because Palpatine will need her assistance to get the Senate to help them out. Bibble reminds me to point out something about this movie I've failed to mention: the acting BLOWS. Every character is either “bored student reading out loud to the class in a monotone voice” or “first time actor doing a table read” level. I'll really expound on this later, but Lucas had really devolved into a GODAWFUL director at this point. He has some of the finest actors of this generation in this movie and does not care to even attempt to get a performance of any kind out of them. I bet there were a LOT of single takes in this movie.

Monotone says either choice presents grave danger and looks at one of her handmaidens who says “we are brave, your highness”. Okay, usually when I do these reviews I've never seen the movie and have no idea what's going to happen next but since I've seen this one I'm going to spoil something here.  The queen is not the queen, but actually a decoy named Sabe.  Sabe is played by Keira Knightley, who looked so identical to Natalie Portman that when in makeup that their parents couldn't tell them apart on the filming set. Hell, I can barely tell them apart WITHOUT makeup!

The handmaiden is Padme Amidala, who is actually the queen. Though I've always wondered why she used her real name when in disguise, you think someone would have noticed that. Kind of defeats the purpose of using a decoy! The comment Padme made was her way of telling Sabe what to do, which is one of the few times this movie is being clever.  Fun fact: one of the queen's other handmaidens is also quite famous, Sache is played by writer/director/kick ass gymnast Sofia Coppola. Congrats Sofia, the Godfather 3 is no longer the worst movie you've ever been in!  "The queen" agrees to go with the Jedi. They enter the hangar bay, the droids stopping them instead of opening fire for some reason. Sure they need the queen alive, but why not just shoot everyone else? But I guess so it's we can have this weird scene:

Qui-Gon: I'm the ambassador to the Supreme Chancellor. I'm taking these people to Coruscant.
Droid: Where are you taking them?
Qui-Gon: To Coruscant.
Droid: Coruscant. Uh, that doesn't compute. Uh, wait. You're under arrest.

Why does the robot say “uh”? Why would you program a robot to say “uh”? Let's compare this to the shooting script:

Droid : Where are you going?
Qui-Gon : I'm Ambassador for the Supreme Chancellor, and I'm taking those people to Coruscant.
Droid: You're under arrest!

That's just fine, why change that? I guess ANY chance Lucas had to throw in some kind of “comedy”, he was going to take it. Remember years ago when Lucas announced he and Seth Green were going to make a Star Wars comedy, which never materialized? Consider the Phantom Menace the pilot episode.