The Phantom Menace

In the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, we see Daisy Ridley as Rey, followed by a card that reads “Every generation has a legend.” That phrase is a callback to the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, in which the same phrase was shown alongside Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker. That film, released on May 19, 1999, was a central focus of last month’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago — a 20th anniversary not just for Celebration, but for The Phantom Menace itself.

But before the movie, something else happened. On May 3, 1999, Star Wars fans gathered at retailers around the country for what was arguably the best Star Wars product launch of all-time — the first-ever Midnight Madness.

Star Wars Midnight Madness 1999

As I noted in an installment of Transmissions last year, I not only attended Midnight Madness, I worked it, witnessing a re-energized fandom that hadn’t seen a new Star Wars film in theaters since Return of the Jedi hit theaters in 1983. It was an event that’s never been topped, though it continues to inspire with the forthcoming Triple Force Friday looming like the Death Star on the horizon with new toys from The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the way. It seems like so long ago, … a simpler era before smartphones and social media, when the prequel trilogy was just beginning, creating a lineage that will conclude with the end of the sequel trilogy this December.

Phantom Menace Hasbro Star Wars The Black Series Exclusives

Hasbro Pulse to Offer The Black Series Phantom Menace Exclusives

If you didn’t make it to Star Wars Celebration, or you did and just didn’t win the lottery for a shot at purchasing them, Hasbro Pulse is making the exclusive Star Wars The Black Series Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi available for Star Wars Day. The 6-inch figures feature Hasbro’s photoreal face technology and are packaged on a 6-inch-scale replica of the 1999 card backs from The Phantom Menace toy line. A limited quantity will hit Hasbro Pulse at 1 p.m. ET on May 4, so get ready to crash the site.

The Star Wars Show Celebrates Star Wars Day Early

In this week’s episode, Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni sit down with comic writer Charles Soule and throw down some details on the opening reservations for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — which you’ve already missed if you’re reading this now. Fans were met with mixed experiences using the registration system, according to the Twitterverse.

Razer Stormtrooper Set

Razer Brings The Dark Side to Your Desktop

Functional. Reliable. Imperial. That’s what Razer says about its new collection of Stormtrooper-themed computer peripherals and accessories. Remember when HP released those Dark Side computers a few years back? These would be the cherry on top of that rig. For those of us with non-Star Wars-branded computers, Razer can add the Imperial flair with keyboards, mice, and keyboard mats.

Further Transmissions

Photos: Razer, James Zahn, Lucasfilm (top)

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.