20 years ago, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace's trailer made web history

CNET | 11/17/2018 | Richard Trenholm
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I feel a disturbance in the Force.

I stick my head out of my door and run into two of my neighbours. "He's watching it again!" We run down the corridor of our college residence, our new home since leaving home only a month or two earlier, to the end room -- where the one guy with a computer and a modem plays the trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace yet again, at earsplitting volume.

Star - Wars - World - Buddies - Phantom

It was 1998. Like Star Wars fans all over the world, my buddies and I couldn't get enough of the Phantom Menace trailer. Long before Star Wars' current ubiquity, long before The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi and Rogue One and Solo, before even the Clone Wars cartoons, the return of the sacred saga to the big screen was set to be a world-shaking moment. The trailers for The Phantom Menace gave the first glimpse, and therefore were huge events in themselves.

But they were more than that. Today, teasers and trailers and teasers for trailers are a huge part of the movie marketing machine on YouTube along with countless entertainment and fan sites. But back then the previews of The Phantom Menace didn't just offer a peek at the new film: for some of us The Phantom Menace trailers were our first significant brush with this new-fangled invention called the World Wide Web. And they were instrumental in proving the next-generation technology that would drive the burgeoning internet's quantum leap forward.

Things - Decade - Half - Changes - Year

It's astonishing to think how much things have changed in the last decade and a half, and many of those changes began for me that very year. In 1998, not only did I go to college, but I also I got my first email address -- Hotmail, of course. I hand-wrote essays, until...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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