Making any movie comes with a number of complications that a filmmaker has to keep track of, while making a massive blockbuster like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace amplifies all of those duties astronomically. The difficulties of crafting such a spectacle will sometimes result in errors that you don't realize for years, as director George Lucas may have focused all his energy on one element of the film while another is overlooked. Two decades after it initially hit theaters, one eagle-eyed fan noticed that in a scene towards the end of the film, Samuel L. Jackson's stand-in plays Mace Windu as he is meant to walk alongside his fellow members of the Jedi Council.
The sequence takes place shortly after Obi-Wan Kenobi mourns the fallen Qui-Gon Jinn, with audiences still reeling from the effects of that showdown. Windu takes up minimal screen time, with much of a viewer's attention being focused on Palpatine, yet when the scene is zoomed in on the background elements, it's clear that it isn't Jackson wearing Windu's garb.
Stand-ins are used quite regularly on large productions, as they help a filmmaker visualize the composition of the scene and adjust lighting levels without requiring an actor to stand around for long periods of time. It's unclear if Jackson was available for the scene and Lucas didn't realize he didn't relieve the surrogate performer or if Jackson was completely unavailable and the production hoped no one would notice the background actor.
Jackson's character became a fan favorite in the prequel trilogy, leaving fans wanting to see more of Windu's adventures. While Jackson might have sat out the above scene, he has regularly shared that he'd happily return to reprise the role in some capacity. However, given Windu's death in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, it would likely have to be a younger version of the Jedi.
"Well, we've got Lola [VFX], they've got Lola, it's theirs, let's see what happens. I'm down with it," Jackson shared with ComicBook.com about going through the de-aging process for his Jedi's origin story. "I've still got my purple lightsaber, I'm ready."
Have you ever noticed this continuity error in The Phantom Menace? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!
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