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The first step in a big epic journey is finally ready to be shown to the world. Funny way to go about things - having seen the middle cycle first - but we are all on the edge of our seat, eagerly waiting to see what train of events led to our familiar "galaxy far, far away". The magic, the excitement and finally, the sheer magnitude of this whole new world has caught the attention of almost everyone. So far we know only a little bit...

Before the Emperor Palpatine got too big for his britches, he was merely a Senator in the Imperial Senate. And apparently, he wasn't even such a bad guy to start off with. There are some other people that we may recognize from their future: Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, R2D2, a modified C3P0 and of course the mini-Darth.

Yoda appears to have more hair (he is not only a client, but a Jedi Master) but don't forget he's still over 800 years old. And speaking of hair, we now know where Princess Leia's wicked hairdo originated. From her Royal Mother, Queen Amidala (aka Natalie Portman) who has an even wilder design on her head. Obi-Wan is young and sprightly as you can see from the pic at the top of this page, but maybe not young and sprightly enough to beat the guy with the bigger.. er.. sabre.

It seems that the story focuses on the beginnings of the Imperial threat. Palpatine ends up taking over somehow and forcing the cooperation and subjugation of various systems, Naboo being one of them. Perhaps in all the mess, young Anikin makes a wrong turn at Albaquerque and ends up on the wrong side of the Force. Just like his son Luke chooses to stay on the good side even though he was desperately tempted to switch and use his anger in Return of the Jedi. I hope Darth Vader was still good-guy Anikin when he made Luke and Leia, cause that helmet would sure cramp my style otherwise.

SYNOPSIS (taken from the dust jacket of the TPM novelization by Terry Brooks)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an evil legacy long believed dead is stirring. Even the Jedi are caught by surprise, their attentions focused on the political unrest between the Trade Federation and the Republic. Now the dark side of the Force threatens to overwhelm the light, and only an ancient Jedi prophecy stands between hope and doom for the entire galaxy. On the desert world of Tatooine, far from the concerns of the Republic, a slave boy works by day and dreams by night--of being a Jedi Knight and one day traveling the stars to worlds he's only heard of in stories . . . of finding a way to win freedom from enslavement for himself and his beloved mother. His only hope lies in his extraordinary instincts and his strange gift for understanding the "rightness" of things, talents that allow him to be one of the best pod racers on the planet. In another part of the galaxy, the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, young Obi-Wan Kenobi, are charged with the protection of Amidala, the young Queen of Naboo, as she seeks to end the siege of her planet by Trade Federation warships. It is this quest that brings Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and the Queen's beautiful young handmaiden to the sand-swept streets of Tatooine and the shop where the slave boy Anakin Skywalker toils and dreams. And it is this unexpected meeting that marks the beginning of the drama that will become legend . . .