With less than a week to go, Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace at last returns. A live action SW film hasn't been seen on the silver screen since 2005. As great as the Blu-Ray box set was, nothing can quite engulf a person like going to an actual theater and sitting down in front of the opening crawl, with John Williams' music erupting from the speakers.
If anyone reading this needs any incentive to get out to the cinema, I have just the thing. One is The New Beginning, my own article recalling my experience back in 1999. The other is a brilliant piece by prequel fan Bob Clark, which can be found here. Do yourself a favor and give it a scroll through if you haven't yet. Or better still, take the time to actually print it out and read it.
And if that doesn't inspire enough, might I recommend a few books from the EU? And this isn't the ordinary EU as it's been run for awhile, this is EU with major correspondence between the authors and Lucasfilm, including Dave Filoni of Clone Wars fame and even the Maker himself.
Darth Plagueis is a treasure trove of material. It also has some special relevance for The Phantom Menace, casting some new rays of meaning on Palpatine's role in the film. James Luceno does an excellent job here, as he has in most of his other works. And best of all, if you're ever in a position where Palpatine turns to you and asks, "Have you ever heard the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?", you can just knowingly smile.
While Plagueis is rightly getting a lot of attention, The Wrath of Darth Maul by Rider Windham is an epic read, too. Again, this has some full-on collaboration between Windham and Luceno and Katie Lucas, all in a much-appreciated effort to consolidate continuity not only in the EU, but also with the films and the CW. I'm only halfway through this one and I'm told it contains some major spoilers regarding Maul's return, so consider yourself warned. I've also been assured the return is going to be done with near mythic brilliance, so I'm reading it ahead of time.
Incidentally, if anyone is around the Atlanta area, the Rebel Legion and the 501st will be setting up shop at the Mall of Georgia Regal Cinema on the afternoon of February 11th. I personally am going to try to attend this one, as it promises to be a good time. I know they're going to be doing events all over the place, so everyone should check out what the situation is going to be around their neighborhood.
I hope everyone has a great time. See ya at the movies.