Six Weeks of STAR WARS at CALS Ron Robinson Theater starts tonight with PHANTOM MENACE

official poster for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom MenaceFor six weeks this summer, the Central Arkansas Library System is showing the first six episodes of the STAR WARS saga on Thursday evenings.  They are being shown in episode order, not release order, or any of the other orders dreamed up by fans.

Tonight is Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Stranded on the desert planet Tatooine after rescuing young Queen Amidala from the impending invasion of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi Master discover nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker, a young slave unusually strong in the Force. Anakin wins a thrilling Podrace and with it his freedom as he leaves his home to be trained as a Jedi. The heroes return to Naboo where Anakin and the Queen face massive invasion forces while the two Jedi contend with a deadly foe named Darth Maul. Only then do they realize the invasion is merely the first step in a sinister scheme by the re-emergent forces of darkness known as the Sith.

The film that re-started the franchise was released 20 years ago.  Telling the backstory of some of the characters from the first trilogy, it starred Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Terence Stamp, and Jake Lloyd.  Written and directed by George Lucas, it was nominated for three Oscars (Sound, Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects).

The screening starts tonight, July 11, at 7pm. Admission is $5.00.