George Lucas made a number of mistakes with the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, but the CGI remained impeccable throughout. Or at least, that’s what we thought.
The Republic era, which came after the Original Trilogy, was basically Lucas trying to push Star Wars to its breaking point. Even the man himself once admitted that he “may have gone too far in a few places” after watching a finished cut of The Phantom Menace. But for all the things that we could list as the films’ shortcomings, there are also several redeeming qualities about the story of Anakin Skywalker from his childhood to his fall to the dark side at the end of Revenge of the Sith. If nothing else, Lucas once again revolutionized the industry through his ambition for computer-generated effects and created many unforgettable and iconic sequences in cinema.
Apparently, though, the CGI in these movies, albeit at times excessive, wasn’t completely flawless. During The Phantom Menace‘s pod racing scene on Tatooine, for instance, a young Anakin speeds through the desert and pushes to the front of the pack, with Sebulba’s vehicle right behind him. In one of the shots, though, the pod racer behind Jake Lloyd is empty and Sebulba is nowhere to be found.
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Of course, it should be pointed out that the gaffe is almost impossible to see at normal speed, though special effects supervisor John Knoll acknowledges the error in Episode I‘s DVD commentary, saying: “I figured we could get away with it.”
Fair enough, but it’s still a little ironic when you think that George Lucas, who’s always been obsessed with editing Star Wars films and fixing their imperfections, has let this one slip in every iteration and re-release of The Phantom Menace, one of which literally replaced the puppet Yoda with a digital version.