Growing up in the era of the Star Wars prequels, I didn't realize until much later that they were hated by many. Of course, now I recognize the legitimate gripes with a lot of people have with these films, but they still hold a special place in my heart. On the 20th anniversary of the release of The Phantom Menace, I offer my gratitude to all those that brought a galaxy far, far away to life once more in 1999, and I'm immensely grateful that this universe is ever-expanding, even today. I'll never forget watching the duel between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan for the first time, with John Williams' ridiculously epic "Duel of the Fates" score blasting in the background. (Although I didn't see this until 5 or 6 years after its release, it is still an incredible memory from my childhood). So, while The Phantom Menace is far from my favorite Star Wars film, it is nevertheless part of this wonderful franchise that has impacted my life on an unreal level.
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