The Phantom Edit is a re-edited version of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, that removed elements of the original movie considered by most fans of the original trilogy to be unsuccessful. The purpose of this edit, according to the editor, was to create a stronger film than what was released by George Lucas. This version coined the phrase "Phantom Edit." It was widely believed that it was the first unauthorized re-edit of The Phantom Menace to receive any publicity, although there is some debate as to whether this is true or not.
The changes included removing most of Jar Jar Binks's scenes, limiting the discussion of midi-chlorians, trimming reiteration of the politics, re-arranging some shots and scenes, and removing "yippee" and "oops" from young Anakin's dialogue to give him stronger character.
It was originally circulated on videocassette, and acclaimed as providing a more focused and better paced version of the film. Later, it was available on the internet and DVD as well. The DVD contained two deleted scenes and a commentary track by the editor as well as a few easter eggs.
There was also another copy entitled The Phantom Re-Edit. In this version, Jar Jar Binks's dialogue was changed to make him wise in the Force. The Phantom Re-Edit was also circulated on the Internet.
Rumor attributed The Phantom Edit to Kevin Smith, likely because his films frequently referred to the Star Wars mythos, and he edited his own films. Smith admitted to having seen it, but denied that he was the editor. The editor was revealed to be Mike J. Nichols of Santa Clarita, California in the September 7, 2001 edition of the Washington Post, and the June 1, 2002 edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Despite rumors, no lawsuits were filed against Nichols, nor did he sell or make any money from the edit.
After the release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Nichols created a new edit of that film entitled Attack of the Phantom.