Photo: LucasFilm


The Tears Of Qui-Gon

On rewatching ‘Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace’

10 min readMay 30, 2024


I did not know when I sat in a packed theater at midnight on May 19th, 1999, to watch Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace that I was going to be shown a vision of the future, an overwhelming, bittersweet look at what would be and what would not be.

This wasn’t just a movie — it was the biggest cultural event of the year. Everyone was talking about two things: the 21st Century and Star Wars. The Phantom Menace was also a message from Hollywood: “Get out of the way.”

A message to me. A young, struggling adult who had spent his short life dreaming of more Star Wars. I thought I would be reunited with all my childhood friends: the man-bear, the pointy-eared gremlin wizard, the beep-beep-booping robot trashcan. I thought, along with the rest of the audience, that my serene, Jedi-like patience would be rewarded, and I was wrong.

Twentieth Century Fox and LucasFilm took my money but pushed me aside. They were interested in a new generation. This is how it goes.

So there I was, 24 years old, stoned on cheap weed bought from a street dealer in the East Village. I had snuck in a blue box of Goobers purchased from a nearby dollar store (back…



John DeVore

I created Humungus, a blog about pop culture, politics, and feelings. Support the madness: