Prequel Trilogy,  The Phantom Menace “20 timeless quotes from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”


“It’s the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and is celebrating  with the next best thing to a colorful parade in Theed! We’ve collected some of our favorite quotes from the film, which we still use today. Some contain wisdom from the incomparable Qui-Gon Jinn, some are winks at the original trilogy, while still others are just plain fun to say.

Here are our picks for 20 standout quotes from The Phantom Menace.

1. “But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.”

“Not at the expense of the moment.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon’s calm teachings aren’t just for trade negotiations. His explanation of mindfulness is useful for anyone feeling nervous or anxious about what the future holds, not just his young Padawan.

2. “My Lord, is that legal?”

“I will make it legal.” – Nute Gunray and Darth Sidious

This early quote from Darth Sidious lets us know exactly who he is without having to say who he is. Endlessly scheming and always one step ahead of everyone else, you can’t help but admire Palpatine’s cunning as he plays the long game.

3. “You were right about one thing, Master. The negotiations were short.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

A little bit of Obi-Wan’s mischievous side comes out in this quote. Not only does it highlight his youthfulness on his last mission as a Padawan, it also reminds us of his sense of humor, which we get to see in bits and pieces later. “Hello there!”

4. “A communications disruption could mean only one thing. Invasion.” – Sio Bibble

While little more than an ominous warning, this quote uttered in the Queen’s throne room stands out as it was featured in the first few moments of the popular trailer.

5. “The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon isn’t quite sure what to make of Jar Jar Binks when he meets the excitable Gungan, and this memorable line is a bit of a snub (even if it is also a fact).

6. “How rude. “ – Jar Jar Binks

This isn’t just a quote, it’s one of Jar Jar’s favorite things to say! It echoes C-3PO in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and reminds us that the hapless Jar Jar has feelings, too.

7. “There’s always a bigger fish.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

Like so many utterances from the Jedi Master, this quote has more meaning the more time you spend thinking about it.

8. “Are you an angel?” – Anakin Skywalker

Anakin, who doesn’t know much about the galaxy beyond the sands of Tatooine, innocently poses this question to his future wife the first time they meet. His first words to Padmé are almost unbearably sweet.

9. “What do you think, you’re some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that?” – Watto

This line almost always gets a laugh! The look on Qui-Gon’s face after Watto dismisses him with this comment is priceless.

10. “I can assure you they will never get me on one of those dreadful starships.” – C-3PO

This tongue-in-cheek joke is so ironic that you almost can’t resist groaning. Like Jar Jar, Threepio often finds himself right in the middle of where he doesn’t want to be, but he ends up playing an invaluable role. […]



  • Cryogenic

    Good list. Enjoyed the little descriptions.

    Personally, I love all of Qui-Gon’s sayings, especially “Your focus determines your reality.” And I like what the author has to say about it: “This quote from Qui-Gon could be used as a mantra for the moments when you find your thoughts straying to the negative things in your life.”

    Like many lines in the prequels, there are also follow-ons in the other films:

    “You’re focusing on the negative” (Obi-Wan, AOTC)
    “I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger” (Palpatine, ROTS)

    Incidentally, all these lines are directed at Anakin, by each of his mentors — a “vergence” in the Force.


    Watto’s dialogue is also a highlight of the film, in my opinion. That said, I think they picked one of Watto’s weaker lines, though I recognise its appeal. My favourite banter between Watto and Qui-Gon is when Qui-Gon returns to the shop to place his initial bet. That naughty Jedi — betting on dangerous podraces! I love Watto’s comically indignant: “The boy tells me you want to sponsor him in the race — HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?” The reading gets me every time.

    And then Watto’s other remark to Qui-Gon: “I hope you didn’t kill anyone I know for it.” And Qui-Gon’s subtle smirk. The interplay between Watto and Qui-Gon, in my view, is one of the more engaging aspects of the film. On Tatooine, the film really begins to cook.

    In fact, that scene in the film, like the dinner table discussion before it, is when I always say to myself, “I’m happy to be watching this film right now”. Both of the scenes are very fleshed out, fun, beautifully framed and lit, have a number of pleasing intricacies, and the actors are all terrific, especially Liam.

    Beyond that, I like Mace’s cold demeanour in the Jedi Council scenes. “No. He will not be trained.” Because screw you, Qui-Gon. Sam Jackson is great in this part. But when isn’t he?

    And one of my favourite asides from Jar Jar is when he decides to count himself “out of this one” in the Gungan city, murmuring to himself that he’s “Better dead here than dead in da core”, before practically slapping himself up the side of the head, declaring, “Ye gods! What is mesa sayin?” Jar Jar momentarily turns into a witticism-dispensing philosopher: an animal form of Qui-Gon. And Obi-Wan’s annoyed reaction in the background, as he turns and gives a subtle shake of the head, is hilarious.

    The little back-and-forth between Qui-Gon and Amidala on Tatooine is also amusing. “The Queen doesn’t need to know”, “The Queen trusts my judgement, young handmaiden. You should, too.” Oooh, that got her. But we also see how Amidala learns a thing or two from these “reckless” Jedi, putting Qui-Gon’s pragmatic wisdom into action on Coruscant, after the Vote of No Confidence, when she decides to place her trust in Jar Jar and return to Naboo. You may land in a difficult situation, and you may dislike what you have to suffer through, but you can still learn from it and create a better reality down the road.

    It’s quite the same idea at work, in fact, when Qui-Gon says down the intercom, “I’m sure another solution will present itself”, as he patiently endures the heat and the sand of Tatooine, where no quick fix to their problems is evident. Amidala and Jar Jar are in his presence and are arguably imprinted with the notion that alternative paths are available or will be rendered accessible, if you’re prepared to think outside the box and wait for one to open up. This is exactly what we see happening in Palpatine’s apartment when Jar Jar mentions the Gungan army to Amidala, and in Amidala rapidly grasping the olive branch that Jar Jar (perhaps unconsciously) offers to her.

    In some respects, the film is about these new avenues of possibility being found and accessed, right when things look desperate, or even impossible. Early on, Nute even protests, when Qui-Gon continues breaching the three layers of sealed blast doors, “This is impossible!” Similarly, Artoo improbably bypasses the main power drive, when all his buddies have been blasted into spare parts, allowing the queen’s ship to pass through the blockade. The most important covenant is the one between Amidala and Jar Jar — stoic, loftily-adorned royalty and an “irritating”, semi-naked, elastic fool. With their bond earlier established in a short but effective moment on the queen’s ship (echoing the brief meeting between Anakin and Obi-Wan in the same basic area), they are now able to architect a new reality and change the weave of history. Even Palpatine seems surprised.

    TPM encourages you to watch closely and look for these precious jewels in the lotus. There is one. Or there are many. All depends on your “focus”. The dialogue may be somewhat simplistic and speech-bubble-oriented, but it is hardly imprecise or redundant. It functions like a series of legends or markers that hint at where the real treasure of the movie may lie. Indeed, the real trick of the dialogue in Star Wars is that it isn’t to be taken seriously; but seriously enough. And in TPM, it’s nice to see the actors generally intoning their lines and reacting to one another with a kind of muted realism; where the digital characters are far more fluid and demonstrative than their human counterparts. Lots of clever counterpointing in the movie also.

    I could keep going here. What about Shmi’s beautifully poignant remarks to Anakin as he prepares to leave? “But you can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” Which made the list. And the utterly iconic: “Don’t look back.” Which didn’t. Plus Anakin complaining to Padme on the ship, huddled in the corner, that he feels cold (shades of Luke expressing the same sentiment to Yoda on Dagobah near the cave). Which he then repeats in front of the Jedi Council. Ominous stuff. I love how the dialogue of the prequels is inflected with awesome foreshadowing.

    The short scene between Anakin and the Queen on Coruscant is another favourite of mine. The one that Lucas added late after Spielberg, providing his usual feedback, asked about Padme, and Lucas realized he had forgotten about her in the formal labyrinth of Coruscant. So Anakin goes to the Queen and himself asks after Padme, expressing his desire to say goodbye because he’s on his way to the Jedi Temple and “may never see her again” (an inversion of the ruminations sequence in ROTS). I wrote this about it on TFN in 2017:

    What I also about this little scene, after watching it umpteen times, is a curious subtext: While invited inside, Anakin half-stumbles upon and nearly unmasks the whole charade. Look at the storage containers half-broken open. It gives the feel that Anakin nearly discovers what Amidala is “up” to; who she really is. The entire interplay of the cosmos, the chilly dance around a cracked kettle, is almost uncovered. Anakin as the accidental saboteur; the destroyer and unmasker.

    Anakin himself later tries hiding in a container in the hangar; opting for the N-1 starfighter after a hail of laser fire compels him to seek cover elsewhere; and from which he will do so much damage to the TF control ship and, by extension, the whole galaxy. That’s another thing about Star Wars, of course, and of this movie in particular: very evocative links and contrasts and strange repeat elements and haunting poetic meanings.

    The scene also contains an odd spiritual ache. Why can’t we just be ourselves? Why the masking, the fronting, the coded transmissions, the misdirection? Instead, we are brought together but held apart with odd rituals, customs, oblique mannerisms and practices that are imperfectly understood. Imagine a “laser gate” between the characters, especially in scenes like the above, and a deeper meaning can be glimpsed in the duel and then retroactively applied to the whole movie. It’s a little like in “THX-1138”. The strange habits that people become locked into; and the unlikeliness of escaping the circle. Jar Jar is the key to all this…

    The prequels are ludicrously underrated movies. Meditative, melancholy, archly operatic, silly, beautiful, stirring, poignant, sweeping, meticulous, scuzzy, gorgeous, and hyper-individualised. They are what cinema is all about. And they come from the artistic bosom of a man that likes his money, but that also has — and this is what his detractors miss — the mind of a painter, the heart of a poet, and the soul of a clown.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Joey:

        Ah, yes. I like that one. It palpably and concisely paints Qui-Gon as different from the other Jedi. Especially when Yoda’s words to Anakin in ROTS resonate against it in a different light: “Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.”

        Qui-Gon is apparently a bit more pragmatic and open about the concept of greed than other Jedi Masters. Which gives a flavour of why he doesn’t chase being on the Jedi Council (despite being qualified as Obi-Wan’s exchange with him on Coruscant makes clear) in the first place.

        Per AOTC, that also suggests there’s a trace of Qui-Gon’s own former master within him. But whereas one went dark, the other stayed on the light…

      • Cryogenic

        Correction: “But whereas one went dark, the other stayed on the light…”

        Or *in* the light.

        But I suppose “on” fits.

        Qui-Gon: riding that light beam to Planet Yoda.

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