The arrival of the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in November of 1998 has become the stuff of legend. It was attached exclusively to certain film screenings at a handful of movie theaters, with thousands of fans buying movie tickets that day just so they could watch it. It was also one of the first previews to ever make a splash online, with a free QuickTime download (holy shit, remember back when we were all using QuickTime?) being available for everyone on the Star Wars official website.
But hey, the internet was still new in the late 90s, so most people didn’t have it, nor did they have access to the limited number of cinemas that were showing the trailer (which wouldn’t be officially attached to a nationwide release until The Prince of Egypt came out the following month). Fortunately for those folks, Entertainment Tonight! had their backs with the world television premiere of the preview. Kind of.
You see, instead of just showing the trailer, as you would expect them to, Entertainment Tonight! gave away a lot of it earlier in the broadcast, with the hosts talking over all of it, and I can’t even imagine how infuriating this must’ve been. “We’re going to show you the first ever trailer for the new Star Wars movie! We’re going to show you the whole thing, and it’s really cool! But first, we’re going to show you most of the trailer as we blab all over it, because Entertainment Tonight! secretly hates you.”
How did YOU first experience the Phantom Menace teaser trailer? Were you one of the few who bought a ticket to The Waterboy just so you could watch it before everyone else? Was it on your old PC? Or were you not around back then?
May the Force be with you, Avocados!