Star Wars - Dueling With Fate: The Making of Episode I

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Original Release Date:
1999
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258
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Brief Synopsis:
Dueling with Fate is a 13-part docu-series on the making and production of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. The docu-series chronicles the entire behind the scenes process on the beginning of the Prequel Trilogy. Several hours of interviews from the cast and crew, featurettes, webisodes, outtakes, raw footage from on-set and inside the production have been edited and combined together to create
Intention:
Same with my Episode II documentary. all of the Making-Of and Behind the Scenes content for the prequels and this film especially are stretched and broken up on multiple discs on multiple formats and even content exclusive to starwars.com, there isn't any easy way to watch all of it without needing to switch things around. So I sought out to make a definitive documentary, in the vein of Empire of Dreams, that you could sit down and watch to understand the process behind the making of the film.
Other Sources:
TV SPECIALS
Star Wars - The Magic and the Mystery (1997)
Star Wars - An MTV Special (1997)
From Star Wars to Star Wars - The Story of Industrial Light and Magic (1999)
Omnibus S37E09 - A Long Time Ago - The Story of Star Wars (1999)
AMC Cinema Secrets - S01E04 - Epic Battles (2000)

DVD FEATURETTES
Costume
Design
Fights
Story
Visual Effects

STARWARS.COM WEBISODES
All I Need is an Idea
Assistant Director
Bad Droid Karma
Boys in Paradise
Costume Drama
Home Sweet Home
It’s Like War Now
Movie Music
Prime of the Jedi
This is a Creature Film
Thousands of Things
Three Thousand Anakins

MISC. STARWARS.COM CONTENTS
Casting Director
Depth
Interview Outtakes
Naboo Soldier
One Day to Go
Podracing
Something Out of Nothing
Sound
The Fall
Watto

BLU-RAY COLLECTION INTERVIEWS
Darth Maul Costume
Pre-Senate Address Costume
Queen Amidala Senate Costume
Senate Guard Costume
Full-Sized Battle Droid
Jar Jar Maquette
Naboo Starfighter Model
Republic Cruiser
Sando Aqua Monster
Trade Federation Battleship Model
Anakin’s Podracer Model
Dud Bolt Puppet
Eopie with Anakin Maquette
Queens Royal Starship Model
Sebulba Maquette
Sith Speeder Model
Watto Maquette

BLU-RAY INTERVIEWS
Coruscant Overview
Tatooine Overview
Naboo Overview
Rick McCallum Interview - Filming in Tunisia
Rick McCallum Interview - Podracers
Liam Neeson Interview
George Lucas on Preparing to Write Episode I - 1994

OTHER SOURCES
An Exclusive Interview with George Lucas - Part 3 of 3 - ROTJ VHS (1995)
SW UK Fan Club VHS - Behind the Scenes of Episode I (1999)
The Beginning - Making Episode I (2001)
Release Information:
Digital
Special Features
- Unused Footage: There is a bonus part 14 included that has any unused footage from the sources I had used throughout.
Cuts and Additions:
The series is split up into 13-parts, as 5 hours cant be done in one sitting.

Part 1 - Prequel Prelude
All about George Lucas writing the film from 1994-1997, and some of his hopes for the upcoming trilogy, of which he was not considering directing at all.

Part 2 - Rebuilding a Galaxy
The 2nd part is all about the pre-production of the film, looking into the storyboarding, production meetings, prop and set building, as well as the first table reading of the script with all cast members.

Part 3 - Casting and Characters
Casting director Robin Gurland and George Lucas discuss the characters and the actors behind them. Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) feature as they also talk about their characters.

Part 4 - The World of Naboo
Doug Chang and the art department explore the world of Naboo, both the surface Theed City and the underwater Gungan City. Almost everything on the planet is discussed, the battle droids, the minutes that make up the cities, the designs and the creatures.

Part 5 - CGI Characters
Jar Jar, Watto and Sebulba star as the production team and cast talk about the difficulties in bringing the first all CG Character to life both on set and in post-production.

Part 6 - A Planet Called Tatooine
Travelling back to Tatooine, the production aims to recreate the desert planet. It also discusses the challenges of building a new R2-D2, making Anakin's hobble, and the storms of the Tunisan desert almost ruining and delaying filming.

Part 7 - Now This is Podracing
The Bonta Eve Classic hosted at The Mos Espa Arena as well as Podracing is explored from its initial designing and storyboarding, to CG Animatics, and the final visual effects extravaganza.

Part 8 - Coruscant and Costuming
The challenges of bringing an all-city planet to life are detailed, as well as all the lavish costumes featured in the film, especially the Queen's wardrobe. An exploration of what an Assistant Director does on a Star Wars set is also shown.

Part 9 - The Digital Battlefront
The production behind the Gungan vs Droid battle during the climax of the film, the motion capture used as well as the surprising practical effects during an almost entirely CG sequence.

Part 10 - The Great Duel
The development of the final duel with Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Maul. From everything to choreography, stunts and Ewan McGregor choosing his own lightsaber.

Part 11 - Sound and Score
George discusses the audio side of film production, including the making of John William's score (with the chorus for Duel of the Fates) as well as the sound and foley production headed by Ben Burtt.

Part 12 - Editing and Deleted Magic
All about the then-modern non-linear editing as well as the deleted and unused scenes cut from the final film, and why they aren't in the film.

Part 13 - Anticipation and Release
Dueling With Fate: The Making of Episode I

User reviews

2 reviews
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0(2)
Visual Editing
 
10.0(2)
Audio Editing
 
8.5(2)
Narrative
 
9.5(2)
Enjoyment
 
10.0(2)
(Updated: April 26, 2022)
Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
I had to knock points off the score due to consistent audio issues in Part 13 (as well as the "Unused Footage" chapter), so this score could easily jump up if Bobson fixes/re-uploads that (and I hope he does!) The audio repeatedly cuts out while people are speaking, anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute, making these last two chapters pretty difficult to watch. I thought maybe it was my version, but I watched on a couple different devices and I see that the other reviewer here had issues as well. I hope this is changed shortly, as it's a great doc otherwise!

As a pretty huge Star Wars fan back in '99 when Episode 1 came out, I thought I had seen just about everything there was to see on it over the years. Well, I'm not nearly as big a SW nerd as I thought apparently, since about 40-50% of this material was new to me! All the big behind-the-scenes mini-docs are assembled here, mostly in the middle bits, but there are lots of interviews and clips incorporated besides. Bobson does a great job organizing these so it feels like a flow through the development and release of the film, even thought they're mostly themed in different categories like Planets or Characters.

Quick thoughts on each chapter:
I- Really interesting to see Lucas break out his old 15-page treatment and use that next to a blank notepad to start writing Episode I on. The very opening media coverage footage building anticipation for this got a bit long and a bit repetitive for me though. It was over 4 minutes and I think 2 minutes of news anchors saying "The prequels are happening!" would suffice. Also it would be great to try to get a consistent aspect ratio across the sources, not to have them stretch or zoomed-in...of course they won't all fill the screen, but it felt like too many broad changes that a bit of editing could easily fix.
II- There was a lot of footage here on Set Design and early stuff when actors were just getting cast that was all new to me! However, I started wishing that audio levels were evened-out across sources, too. This series could really use editing to a consistent audio volume.
III- I had seen the casting session for Anakin before, but the footage here proved definitively that they should have chosen the runner-up. He was a bit more serious, a bit darker, and it added layers to many of the simple lines Anakin had. Jake Lloyd wasn't the best choice for the role, he was just a really cute kid who charmed everybody off-camera.
IV and V- These parts on model design and practical effects versus CG reveal that there was so much more being actually built and filmed than people remember/realize for this movie. I guess at the time we weren't prepared for the industry to use CG to this level on the regular.
VI and VII- The bits on Tatooine and podracing might be my most-enjoyed part, mostly because it builds on the nostalgia just right. I LOVE the podracing sequence, and you can really see Lucas and the crew all did, too. It's obvious which ideas were really resonating with people while making this film just by watching their level of enthusiasm while making it. (The enthusiasm for Jar Jar was notably absent in Part V...)
VIII- The costuming doesn't get enough credit in this film, and I always love learning more about it. Bobson made a great choice wrapping those bits up with the glamor of creating Coruscant.
IX- This is a short feature taken wholesale from some particular source, about creating the big Naboo battle. It honestly feels slightly out of place here since there are no other connections being made...maybe something on the concurrent space battle would've worked spliced in here?
X- The lightsaber fighting. I've watched all this stuff 100x and could watch 100 more.
XI- John Williams and Ben Burtt explaining how they make the sounds that Star Wars is best known for. Burtt is a mad genius who never gets enough credit, and I would watch his TED Talk any time.
XII- This part is about the editing of the film, which honestly seems like about 30% or more of the process for this movie, even more so than A New Hope, which was completely made by the editing. This feature goes a lot more into how/why the deleted scenes were edited, which is interesting, but I would've liked more on how the theatrical film was edited. I guess they just didn't have cameras in the editing room as much.... the frustration with the rough cut is apparent, with everyone agreeing the film isn't working how they wanted.
XIII- Consequently, it's a bit of a downer, but it would've flowed well to show how some fans were also disappointed by the theatrical release. I know this is a "making-of" documentary, but as Bobson chooses to have a segment about the release, it feels strange to not mention any of the controversies. Showing people react really well to the bits that we saw assembled earlier (Maul, Duel of the Fates, podracing) and being frustrated with some of the new choices (a lot more humor, Jar-Jar, so much CG) would give the documentary series a kind of arc that would be gratifying to watch.

Overall, this is really a fantastic undertaking, and a must-see I think for any Star Wars fan. Arranging it as a docu-series is really smart, and allowed me to watch about 2 'episodes' per day. I did catch about a half dozen times where Bobson (accidentally?) repeats footage across chapters, but mostly there is little overlap and it feels like a great trip into aspects of the first prequel that maybe audiences didn't appreciate until recently. I can't wait to see what Bobson does for Episode II.

User Review

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Yes
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Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Overall rating
 
9.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
This was great. A really comprehensive documentary on everything behind the phantom menace. What I liked about it was how it made me appreciate all the hard work people put into the film. Most documentaries focus on George Lucas, but this really dove into all the craftsmen, designers, model makers, costume people, and everyone around him that made the film possible. I had issues with the Phantom Menace when it came out years ago, but I still respect the process they all went through to make the movie. It wasn't all just George Lucas, it was hundreds of people working together, challenging themselves, and doing their best work. As an audience member I got to see a 2 hour experience, but they had years of creativity and day-to-day activities that gave them purpose and enjoyment. Nothing can take away the experience they had working on the movie, and the innovations that came from it. All the movies that have come in the last 20 years owe their special effects to the Phantom Menace's crew and their dligence. This documentary did a good job of highlighting all of that effort. Which is commendable. You've done a great job with this documentary. I saw it all on youtube. The only hiccup was part 13 had some gaps in the sound. Did not take away at all from my enjoyment, just thought I'd point it out to you in case you wish to reupload.

This was a highly enjoyable experience, well worth the time to watch it. You did excellent work putting this together. Thank you.

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