The Star Wars films might centre on Palpatine, Skywalker and the tussle to bring balance to the force, but there are so many other characters who could feasibly star in films of their own.
When Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I became obsessed. It wasn’t like other films. Its plotline, cast of characters, visual features and vocabulary were all on a scale that felt limitless. There was silliness involved, sure – something that contributed to the movie’s low critical rating – but it also felt uniquely solemn, purposeful and a treasure trove for further exploration.
Naturally, I hunted down whatever Star Wars paraphernalia could be found. Intriguingly, the figurines on the market didn’t just account for the film’s main players – Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Senator Palpatine and Jar Jar Binks – but all sorts of lesser characters as well.
Similarly, the accompanying books weren’t like Hollywood behind-the-scenes catalogues revealing how they did the make-up or how many takes were needed to get Qui-Gon and Darth Maul’s saber duel right. Rather, they viewed the world of the film as the real world.
Background information was given on Padme Amidala, the young Queen of Naboo who was determined to protect her country from the Trade Federation blockade. It discussed the differences between astromech droids and protocol droids. It depicted a vast galaxy with Naboo and Tatooine at a distance from the Republic capital planet of Coruscant.
The Star Wars merchandise made it clear that what we saw in the film was just a glimpse – merely what could be contained within a two hour theatrical release. But the world of Star Wars was vast and all of the smaller details were just as compelling as what was included in the film.