Then and Now: The Phantom Menace
With the cast in place for Star Wars: Episode VII and production under way, we take a look back at the cast of the oft-derided Episode I: The Phantom Menace as it nears its 15th anniversary to see what they’ve been up to since.
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
Despite only appearing in the first film of the prequel trilogy, Neeson had somewhat of a resurgence afterwards.
He’s since appeared in Batman Begins as Ra’s al Ghul, as Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia series and in Taken 1 and 2 as well as the upcoming third and final film of the series.
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Appears in all three of the prequels but starts out as Qui-Gon Jinn’s young padawan in The Phantom Menace.
Since hanging up his lightsaber in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, McGregor has been regularly seen on the big screen and on stage.
Tedious link #1 – McGregor is the nephew of Denis Lawson, who played X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.
Natalie Portman as Padmé/Queen Amidala
Portman also appeared in all three of the prequel films as Padmé Amidala, the Queen of Naboo, then Senator Amidala and eventual wife to Anakin Skywalker and mother to Luke and Leia.
Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker
First getting his big break alongside Arnie in Jingle All The Way, Lloyd was cast as the 9-year-old slave boy with aspirations of becoming a Jedi in The Phantom Menace.
After reprising the role in a several video games he retired from acting, claiming the constant daily interviews and disruption to his school life turned his childhood into a ‘living hell’.
Now aged 25 he finished a film and video course at Columbia College Chicago in 2012 and makes regular appearances on the convention circuit.
Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker
August portrayed Anakin’s mother, Shmi, in The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones and is a veteran of Swedish cinema.
She currently directs the Danish drama series Arvingerne (The Legacy) which started airing earlier this year and has recently been picked up by Sky Atlantic.
Samuel L Jackson as Mace Windu
A mainstay of the Tarantino universe, hater of reptiles on aircraft and The Avengers’ boss.
Jackson appeared in all three of the Star Wars prequel films and now has a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Nick Fury.
Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine/Darth Sidious
Along with Kenny Baker, Frank Oz and Anthony Daniels, McDiarmid was one of the few actors to reprise their roles from the original trilogy.
Although he most frequently appears on stage, he was recently on screen in the BBC WWI drama 37 Days as Edward Grey.
Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks
Uhh… do we have to remember Jar Jar? Alright. Since appearing in the prequel trilogy as Jar Jar Binks, Best has appeared in the same role in a few video games and Robot Chicken specials, winning an Annie Award in 2008 for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production or Short Form for Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II.
Ray Park as Darth Maul
Originally part of the stunt crew, Park impressed during test shoots and eventually landed the role of the Sith apprentice himself, although the character was actually voiced by Spaced and Shaun of the Dead star Peter Serafinowicz.
Since The Phantom Menace, Park has appeared as Toad in X-Men, and Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Silas Carson as Nute Gunray, Ki-Adi-Mundi and others
Carson portrayed Nute Gunray, Viceroy of the Trade Federation, in all three of the prequel films as well as the Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi.
He’s also appeared as the voice of the Ood in Doctor Who, and several other British TV dramas including a recurring role on Holby City alongside…
Hugh Quarshie as Captain Panaka
Acting as Queen Amidala’s chief of security in Naboo, Quarshie was prominent on screen during The Phantom Menace. Since 2001 he has appeared in Holby City as Ric Griffin.
Tedious link #2 – Denis Lawson also appeared in Holby City between 2002 and 2004