Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson); Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a 9-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter.
Young Ben Crandall (Ethan Hawke) spends his free time watching sci-fi films, playing video games and reading comic books. Surprisingly, his affinity for all things fantastical yields a real result — when he has a vivid dream about technology, his science-loving friend Wolfgang Muller (River Phoenix) manages to create a working spacecraft. Joined by their buddy Darren Woods (Jason Presson), the boys take off into outer space and encounter some very odd extraterrestrial life.
The stars of a 1970s sci-fi show – now scraping a living through re-runs and sci-fi conventions – are beamed aboard an alien spacecraft. Believing the cast’s heroic on-screen dramas are historical documents of real-life adventures, the band of aliens turn to the ailing celebrities for help in their quest to overcome the oppressive regime in their solar system.