It was May 3, 1999 and Hasbro released the first collection of action figures and toys from the first Star Wars movie in almost 20 years, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Fans across the country rushed to the "event" dubbed Midnight Madness. Toys "R" Us and other retailers opened their doors at 12 am to begin selling what was perhaps the most highly anticipated toy line ever. Hasbro was able to debut nearly 30 characters in the span of two months. They introduced a new technology called the "Commtech" chip, which enabled the figures to speak certain lines from the movie when placed on a special reader device. With improved sculpting, paint, and articulation, the new Episode I figures are worlds apart from the original line. But Hasbro decided to stick with the same 3?" formula that made Kenner's product a revolutionary success.
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