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Web Site Gives Inside Story Of Next Star Wars Sequel

FRIDAY, NOV. 28, 1997

Long ago, in a distant galaxy, 40 years before Luke Skywalker learned the ropes of The Force, a cute little 8-year-old kid named Anakin sat down at the breakfast table with his mom. He wasn’t the despicable gargle-voiced Darth Vader yet. It was before things went bad.

You and virtually everyone else on the planet will find out all about it when George Lucas finally brings to the screen the movie that he’s currently calling “Episode 1” of the prequel trilogy to the fabulously successful (and, in rerelease, fabulously successful all over again) “Star Wars” trilogy.

While the movie’s still a ways off the release date is tentatively May 1999 “Star Wars” fans can follow the saga of the making of “Episode 1” on Star, the film’s official Web site. (To get straight to the new stuff, go to:

The new site doesn’t give away much of the plot, but it does clarify and dispel several rumors that have been cropping up for months on such cinema scoop sites as Coming Attractions (, where buffs share rumors and gossip about yet-to-be-released films.

Casting, for instance, has been a source of wild gossip throughout “Star Wars” fandom.

With the new site, authorized by the series writer and director George Lucas, visitors can read production notes on the filming of the movie, scan a smattering of “making-of” feature stories and learn about the film’s crew and cast. The site is updated regularly.

You’ll find that Liam Neeson will play a “venerable Jedi Knight,” Ewan McGregor will take the role of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman will play “a young queen” (presumably the future mother of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia), and Jake Lloyd, who a smattering of viewers saw in the Christmas flick “Jingle All the Way,” will play the 8-year-old Anakin Skywalker.

More amusingly, visitors to the “Episode 1” site can get loads of photos from various film locations, including Tunisia, Italy and the massive Leavesden Studios outside London.

The photos currently online include shots of some of the typically strange characters, weaponry and robots that mark the “Star Wars” films.

The lovable little R2-D2 droid, viewers will be happy to see, will be zipping around throughout the movie - though the more proper gentleman droid C3PO has yet to surface on the site.

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