“The Phantom Menace Boy” NYT Crossword Clue Answer

"The Phantom Menace Boy" NYT Crossword Clue Answer

The New York Times crossword “The Phantom Menace boy” clue has a range of possible Star Wars answers. Here’s how to figure out the puzzle.

The New York Times’ Star Wars “The Phantom Menace boy” clue may stump some crossword enthusiasts, but there are several possible answers. The Phantom Menace divided Star Wars fans at the time of release. Some were frustrated by the stilted dialogue and acting, with a few even harshly zoning in on 10-year-old Jake Lloyd’s performance as a young Anakin Skywalker. In the years since, the notoriously critical Star Wars fandom has started forgiving the movie’s idiosyncrasies, with some even calling Phantom Menace the heart of the Star Wars saga. Those who remain annoyed can continue to be so over their morning coffees, as the New York Times crossword features a “The Phantom Menace boy” clue.


To hardened acolytes of Star Wars lore, “The Phantom Menace boy” might seem like an obvious hint. But there’s more than one possible answer depending on the number of letters needed, so a little extra Star Wars savviness is necessary for getting past the clue. What makes this particular clue Jar-Jar-Binks-level annoying is that it could be referring to not only the character but either of the actors’ names. Complicating the matter, Anakin’s mother Shmi calls him Ani in the opening installment of the Star Wars saga, throwing another wrench in the works.

Related: Star Wars: Where To Spot E.T.’s Aliens In The Phantom Menace

However, the full array of the skills formerly known as Jedi mind tricks won’t be necessary, either. Luckily, crossword clues provide the number of letters – and each possible answer for “The Phantom Menace boy” clue has a different number of letters. Here are the possible answers to the New York Times’ “Phantom Menace boy” crossword clue:

(3): Ani(4): Jake(5): Lloyd(6): Anakin

What Happened To Jake Lloyd After Star Wars: The Phantom Menace?

Jake lloyd then and now

Having kept a low profile since 2001, the role of young Anakin had a deep impact on actor Jake Lloyd’s life – in all the worst ways. He had a terrible experience during the Phantom Menace media circus due to the intense criticism he faced for his performance and the hardcore interview schedule. In a 2017 interview with Vulture, Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill fiercely defended Phantom Menace star Lloyd, stating, “I’m still angry about the way they treated Jake Lloyd. He was only 10 years old, that boy, and he did exactly what George [Lucas] wanted him to do.” From that point onward, Lloyd’s days in the limelight were numbered.

Lloyd’s life has taken on a troubled and tragic trajectory since then. A 2015 arrest after a high-speed car chase landed him with charges of reckless driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a license. His mother later shared that Lloyd received a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and an accompanying condition called anosognosia that prevents people (usually with conditions that damage the brain) from understanding their own health problems. His sister tragically passed away in 2018, only exacerbating his condition.

Hayden Christensen later stepped into the role of Anakin and received similar criticism. It’s worth noting the dialogue in the prequel trilogy is certainly not stellar in its own right, and the fault with that lies with neither Lloyd nor Christensen. Still, George Lucas is considered to be largely untouchable, having gifted countless people a beautiful childhood filled with mythology to which they could escape. How much Lloyd’s risible experience around Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace contributed to his mental health struggles later in life is unclear and unfair to speculate on, but placing that amount of pressure and criticism on a 10-year-old boy is disgusting. Lots of child actors aren’t fantastic, but they deserve a fair shot at improvement like any other actor. Disney has seen the rough edge of the Star Wars fandom, too, following the castings of Rey and Finn. Star Wars fans harbor powerful feelings toward the franchise, and seeing a fanbase mobilize to engage with its obsession must be thrilling for filmmakers. But it has a Dark Side, and the unfortunate events following Jake Lloyd’s role in The Phantom Menace demonstrated this wholesale.

More: Star Wars: Why George Lucas Replaced Yoda With CGI In The Phantom Menace

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Adam Felman
(15 Articles Published)

Adam Felman is a senior SEO editor, Nic Cage expert, and proud dog dad. He’s met both Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero and has washed neither hand since. As a Film and English graduate, he’s always loved movies, but Adam has mainly written about health, wellness, fitness, and emotional well-being for Medical News Today and Greatist. Which is, quite simply, not as fun as either Paddington movie. When he’s not overthinking very simple plotlines, Adam produces improvised electronica with his band cablesalad, makes beats for rappers, and rewatches The Room.

Adam also loves The Raid, The Fast Saga, anything Nic Cage touches, and most movies where The Rock turns up in a jungle. He also thinks Star Wars is overrated.

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