“Just like the teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer [for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace] was released in front of a movie. This time it was the movie Wing Commander, featuring the future voice-actor of Kanan from Star Wars Rebels, Freddie Prinze Jr. in the main role. Visitors at the ShoWest Convention in Las Vegas, which took place March 9, 1999, were the first to actually get to see the theatrical trailer, before it aired on TV in popular entertainment shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.
For those who had missed those shows, were unable to go to the convention, didn’t like going to see Wing Commander or who just wanted to see the trailer again and again, Apple released the trailer on the official Star Wars website. And like the teaser before, the internet broke in two on March 11, 1999. It was downloaded more than a million times in 24 hours, 3.5 million times in the first five days, and 6.4 million times within three weeks. Steve Jobs himself described the trailer as, “the biggest Internet download event in history” and it became a huge boom for Apple and Quicktime, which had to be installed on your computer before being able to play the file.
Where the teaser focused primarily on Anakin Skywalker and connecting it with the previous movies, the trailer itself focuses on the actual story of the invasion of Naboo and the Sith returning.
Trivia: The Imperial March can be heard during the Trade Federations Invasion of Naboo and Darth Maul’s scenes.
It seems that this trailer was cut together before the lines of Natalie Portman and Ian McDiarmid were rerecorded during the ADR-looping process. Especially Portman sounds a lot younger than in the actual movie.
The first part of Sio Bibble’s plea to Queen Amidala about the death toll being catastrophic is put over the beginning scene in which the queen looks at the Palpatine hologram instead.
John Knoll’s cameo as the Naboo pilot Rya Kirsch can be seen during the trailer with the Wilhelm scream being heard. In the movie the scream is instead added to two Naboo soldiers dying in the Theed hangar.
It is kind of funny now in hindsight to see the quick action shots montage in the end with Anakin running. Now we know that his running was just to inform Padmé and the Jedi that Panaka had returned and not due to any action taking place.
While the teaser was designed to connect the new movie to the original trilogy, the one connection that they could have made but ended up missing was the appearance of Jabba the Hutt. They added Jabba to this trailer instead.”