The excitement is building for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a little over a week, which will bring fans back into the Star Wars universe for the first time in a decade. The mix of giddiness and apprehension feels unprecedented, but it actually does have a historical parallel — when fans anxiously awaited the premiere of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace back in 1999. Like The Force Awakens, The Phantom Menace marked the beginning of a new Star Wars trilogy, and a return to the legendary space franchise.
With that parallel in mind, it feels timely that a montage of vintage news clips has recently resurfaced on YouTube, in which Star Wars fans talk about their anticipation before seeing The Phantom Menace and then react after having seen it. As most are aware, The Phantom Menace has not been hailed as the greatest cinematic achievement — many fans criticized the writing and the new characters from the rebooted franchise (ahem, Jar Jar Binks) — but the elation of a new Star Wars overrode the critical part of the minds of these superfans.
Only one man voiced disdain for the new film. Everyone else, including Lucy Liu and Shaq himself, praised the space epic. Of course, reactions from superfans will almost definitely be the same when The Force Awakens comes out on Dec. 18; let’s just hope J.J. Abrams’ new chapter delivers upon the hype and has fans singing its praises years after it opens in theaters.