The phrase is taken from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which premiered in the United States on May 16th, 1999.
The opening scenes of the movie involve Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrive at a Separatist ship.
In a subsequent scene, local leader Nute Gunray is seen shouting “This is getting out of hand! Now, there are two of them!” confronted with the appearance of Darth Maul during a holo-conversation with Senator Palpatine.
Thus, the phrase refers to Nute Gunray being terrified that he is now facing two Sith Lords.
A separated clip of the scene was uploaded to YouTube by QuoteTheGuy on January 24th, 2014.
The meme started spreading as an image macro following the YouTube upload.
It became especially prevalent after the creation of the r/PrequelMemes subreddit on December 27th, 2016.
“This is getting out of hand” can be encountered on numerous image macros on sites like Reddit, Twitter, me.me and iFunny.
- Reddit – r/PrequelMemes