The first installment (chronologically) in the "Star Wars" saga is "The Phantom Menace," although it's actually the fourth film to be produced in the epic franchise's run. The film is also notable for the return of creator George Lucas to the director's chair, twenty-two years after he called the shots for the original.
Vital background is provided for the now-familiar characters as viewers are shown the various ins-and-outs, and the hows-and-whys of circumstances leading up to the epic intergalactic wars which form the basis of the saga. "Phantom Menace" also relies much more on computer-generated imagery, which reportedly played a big role in drawing Lucas back into the day-to-day production.
"Phantom Menace" is also notable for introducing an almost entirely new cast to the series, including Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman. One aspect that remains steadfast to the production is the bigger-than-life soundtrack, scored by the legendary John Williams.