The Phantom Menace
|Name:||Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode I, Star Wars: TPM|
|Abbreviation(s):||TPM, SW: TPM|
|Date(s):||May 19, 1999|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|External Links:||Wikipedia, IMDB|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is the first film in the prequel trilogy and the fourth Star Wars film overall. Given that it was the first new Star Wars film in 16 years, it was a very big deal for Star Wars fans. It also spawned a new slash fandom.
The Phantom Menace was the slash fandom that swallowed all other media slash fandoms of its time and it was also one of the first fandoms that brought media and anime/manga fans together. The fandom started almost immediately after the movie aired and was overwhelmingly OTP centered around Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan. As the Jedi Apprentice novels added to canon, another slashable character, Xanatos, gained a strong following paired with either Qui-Gon or Obi-Wan; some het appeared as well, mainly involving Siri, another character from the Jedi Apprentice novels.
Because Qui-Gon dies at the end of the film, a large portion of TPM fic is either set before the events of the film or is AU, with Qui-Gon surviving. The default setting is AU for Qui-Gon's death, to the point where stories that follow canon were expected to warn for it.
TPM fandom divides AUs into two types: Alternate Universe (AU) to denote stories which are set in the Star Wars universe but diverge from canon in some way, and Alternate Reality (AR) for stories where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are in ancient Rome or are rock stars, etc.
General Star Wars Fandom
Among Star Wars fans, The Phantom Menace is generally considered the worst of the six live-action Star Wars feature films. Fans love to criticize Jar Jar Binks and complain about the retconned explanation for The Force.
Slash fans responded quickly to The Phantom Menace, launching the Master/Apprentice Fanfiction Archive on 21 May, 1999, two days after the movie's North American premiere. The fandom drew heavily from the big fandoms of the late 1990s (such as Sentinel, Highlander, etc.) and the first few months were characterized by an incredibly high output of quality fanfiction by established and new authors which laid the grounds for a rich fanon and everything that followed after that. Several of the early Q/O classics have been republished as zines, for example Riding the Wheel of If, L'Histoire d'Obi, Walk Softly and Carry a Big Lightsaber, The Warrior's Heart, and Buying Trouble. Other well know stories were collected at T.O.T.O. - the Obi-Wan torture Oasis. T.O.T.O. was a hurt/comfort archive that featured some of the best stories in the fandom and looked very pretty with its fanfiction covers by analise. In addition to traditional fanzines, The Phantom Menace also created a small but thriving amount of doujinshi in both English and Japanese. For a complete list of all Phantom Menace fanzines, which includes both original print as well as republished online fiction, see the List of Phantom Menace Zines.
As a fandom where western media slash met yaoi, especially the fanart reflects the different influences. On the one hand, there were fanartists like Suzan Lovett, who represented the media fandom tration. On the other hand, there were popular TPM artists like Fuumin. Unlike most Japanese artists, whose doujinshi are scanlated without permission (or even the artist's knowledge), Fuumin was actually involved in western TPM fandom and sold her doujinshi directly to English-speaking fans, sometimes including simple English translations with them. She also provided artwork for some English-language zines.
Beloved Padawan art print by Suzan Lovett
Come What May by Diana Williams is a Q/O vid that was made in 2001, when the fandom was still at its height, and it left a strong impression. The vid is a perfect description of the way fans saw the Q/O relationship. Their love will endure, come what may! The song is a duet from the movie Moulin Rouge and one of the two voices is that of Ewan McGregor who played Obi-Wan in TPM. Years later, talking about a vid in another fandom and describing it as quite possibly the perfect slash vid, one commenter says It rates right up with Diana Williams’ “Come what May.”
There is one central archive, Master/Apprentice Fanfiction Archive. For years, the Master Apprentice mailing list was the hub of fandom activity, though in recent years there has been more and more activity on LiveJournal, on communities such as quiobisupport and tpm100. Almost everyone archived at MA, but authors often had individual websites as well, featuring their fanfiction, links to other sites, and recommendations. Some recommendation pages for Q/O and other TPM fic include:
- Destina's Star Wars Fiction Recommendations. Mostly Q/O slash, last update June 13, 2002.
- Emma Grant's Star Wars Recs. Obi-centered fanfic recs. Mostly Q/O, last update January 06, 2004. Emma on the appeal of the pairing: For some, it's the OTP. For others, it's an incestuous teacher/student relationship. But we all adore it so.
- Cimorene's Star Wars Recs. Mostly Q/O.
- Jayne Hundt's Recommended Fics. Long list of Q/O recs, last update May 14, 2001. (GeoCities site)
- Boys in Chains. The archive had a lot of Q/O stories and several recs in a few fandoms, mostly TPM Q/O.
- Jedi Apprentice novels: canon, or not?
- Taking the JA novels as a starting point, TPM was the fandom that invented chanslash
- M/A Archive selling copies of the archive on disk without asking the authors for permission in order to raise money for more hardware.
- Not counting the Ewok made-for-tv movies, which nobody talks about.
- Master/Apprentice Archive launch date (Accessed 13 Oct 2008.)
- The Phantom Menace release dates (Accessed 13 Oct 2008.)
- T.O.T.O., via Wayback. (Accessed 15 October 2009)
- Download Come What May (2001) at Diana's Music Videos.
- LJ entry, 15 December 2004. (Accessed 15 October 2009)