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1 [caption]: Flashback to 1998 and the excitement we all felt at seeing the first trailers for Star Wars Episode I:
1 Yoda: Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger.
2 Yoda: Anger leads to hate.
3 Yoda: Hate... leads to suffering.
4 Yoda: I sense much fear in the fan base about the quality of these prequels.
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Man. Remember how excited we were when that first trailer came out?
Moving to the late 1990s, the excitement began to build again, as Lucasfilm announced a new Star Wars film. I had a job then, working for IBM. I was grown up. When the first trailer for The Phantom Menace came out, people around the world were paying to get into movies they had no interest in, just to see the Phantom Menace trailer, and then leave the cinema. Tens of thousands of people did this. They were like me - kids who'd grown up with Star Wars. A bit later, the trailer was released on the primitive Internet. We downloaded it at work (it took several minutes over the network speeds of the day), and played it on the huge projection screen in the audiovisual lab. About twenty people around my age—who also grew up with Star Wars—were crowded into that small room. We watched that 2-minute trailer, and we cheered. Then we watched it again. I don't think any of us did any work for the rest of that afternoon.
Yeah, seriously. It really was like this. Given what we all now know about the film, can you imagine the mismatch between the pre-release hype and the actual film? It's hard to imagine any film ever being able to live up to the hype in 1998 and early 1999. It wasn't advertising or publicity hype either. It was the fans themselves who got so incredibly excited about the forthcoming Phantom Menace. And it lasted months and months. After that sort of build-up, the resulting backlash against the movie was almost inevitable.
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