STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE's Liam Neeson On Board With Returning As Qui-Gon Jinn In OBI-WAN KENOBI
Liam Neeson remains beloved as Qui-Gon Jinn after playing the Jedi Master in The Phantom Menace, & the actor has revealed that he would be willing to reprise the role in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Liam Neeson is an icon, and no matter how much hate the Star Wars prequels get, fans seem unanimous in their love of Qui-Gon Jinn. After playing the Jedi Master for the first time in 1999, the actor has returned to voice the character in both The Clone Wars and The Rise of Skywalker.
The question is, could we see him make a physical appearance as Qui-Gon again?
Well, during a recent interview with Collider, the site asked Neeson whether he's aware of how desperate Star Wars fans are to see him play the late Jedi again. "I'll be honest with you," he replied, "I haven't heard that at all."
After the site explained that there's still a lot of love for him and the franchise, it was put to The Phantom Menace star that he could perhaps return as Qui-Gon in Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor.
A smile reportedly spread across his face at this point in the interview, and Neeson responded: "Sure, I'd be up for that, yeah." We can only hope that Lucasfilm now makes that a reality.
A cameo would make sense on a number of levels, especially when the prevailing theory among fans is that it was Qui-Gon's Force Ghost who taught his former apprentice how to return following his death (remember, he reached out to Yoda on Dagobah for the same reason).
Time will tell on this one, but keep everything crossed it happens!
Click on the "Next" button below to see what did
and didn't work in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace!
Did Work: New Planets To Explore
For movies which were set in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, the original Star Wars trilogy really didn’t explore all that much of it. Budgetary and technological limitations obviously saw to that, and it’s admittedly hard to complain about the time we spent on the likes of Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor.
However, one big plus point for The Phantom Menace was the fact that it took us to locations never before seen in Star Wars, while CGI (which was a detriment to the prequels on many occasions, but a plus in this respect) meant that planets such as Naboo and Coruscant could be brought to life in a way which ensured they looked truly breathtaking and beautiful on the big screen.
Lucas even managed to show off a new side of Tatooine, so this exploration definitely deserves credit.
Didn't Work: Jar Jar Binks (But Only For Adults)
George Lucas clearly envisioned Jar-Jar Binks as a character who would be embraced by both fans of the franchise, but this unbearably annoying supporting character quickly outstayed his welcome. The fact he looks like a giant walking cartoon can be forgiven because Jar-Jar looked great for where special effect were at the time The Phantom Menace was released.
Unfortunately, his voice and personality can’t.
Of course, had Jar-Jar disappeared after his scenes on Naboo, it may have been easier to forgive what an awful character he was, but he stuck around the entire time, and that proved to be too much for many fans. It's important to remember that he was created to entertain kids, though, and in that respect, it doesn't seem unfair to say that he was a success for the most part.
Did Work: Darth Maul
Darth Maul wasn’t really in The Phantom Menace all that much, had only a couple of lines of dialogue, and no real sort of backstory or character arc (thank goodness for The Clone Wars).
He was simply a weapon to be used against the Jedi and served that role wonderfully. Despite his limitations, the character has still become an icon in the world of Star Wars, and was what this movie needed. With no Darth Vader, Lucas had to find a villain who people would get behind (even if in Maul’s case it was mostly because he was just so freaking cool), and there wasn’t a kid – or adult – who saw this movie that didn’t immediately want his doubled-bladed lightsaber.
Visually striking and genuinely quite scary, Darth Maul made a real impact on the Star Wars franchise.
Didn't Work: Midi-Chlorians
The original Star Wars trilogy never really delved into where the Force came from or what it was, and that never bothered anyone. It was widely accepted to just be a mystical energy of some sort which there was absolutely no reason to offer some sort of forced (no pun intended) or convoluted explanation for.
Well, George Lucas had other ideas, and so The Phantom Menace included Midi-Chlorians, described by the Star Wars Wiki as, “intelligent microscopic life forms that lived symbiotically inside the cells of all living things.” So, yeah, their introduction neither simplified nor offered an explanation as to where the Force came from.
However, they did make it clear that you need weird little creatures living inside of you to use it. Ugh.
Did Work: Podracing
At times, The Phantom Menace became almost a cartoon. Greedo was an entertaining enough character (unlike you-know-who), but the aliens Anakin faced off against in this Podrace were a little more hit-and-miss, and are a good example of what this Star Wars movie did wrong in terms of relying too much on special effects.
That aside, though, and those same effects came in very handy for what turned out to be an exciting and well put together race sequence which should have had everyone on the edge of their seats.
It also holds up well all these years later, just like the space set sequences which followed in the final act. Bonus points go to this one for spawning the incredibly fun Nintendo 64 Podracing video game!
Didn't Work: Anakin Skywalker, The Cheerful Slave
Had The Phantom Menace been solely aimed at children and not Star Wars fans, it probably would have worked a lot better than it ultimately did. While The Phantom Menace is certainly a movie with some darker moments, it’s too often a camp and cheerful affair which sits oddly out of place alongside the original trilogy.
This is evident when we meet Anakin Skywalker. Despite being a slave, he’s terribly cheerful and doesn’t seem at all fazed by what you would imagine should be a pretty miserable existence. Lucas had the chance here to offer some insight into why Anakin would one day snap, but disappointingly, his childhood wasn’t that bad.
We weren't expecting to see anything too extreme, but emphasising the hardships Anakin went through as a youngster definitely would have gone some way in explaining his turn to the Dark Side.
Did Work: Obi-Wan Kenobi And Qui-Gon Jinn
While spending time with a young Darth Vader was no doubt a major draw for Star Wars fans, The Phantom Menace found much greater success in telling the story of the young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Ewan McGregor was a perfect casting choice and delivered some strong moments, while Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn was just as well cast and a character pretty much all of us can agree it would have been nice to spend even more time with. Put these two together and the results were truly amazing, something which was evident from the impressive opening sequence.
That pit Master and Apprentice against an army of battle droids, while their difference of opinion over Anakin also made for some nice foreshadowing for what would come in future instalments.
Didn't Work: The Jedi Council
While we were probably meant to be upset when The Jedi Council fell in Revenge of the Sith, it’s fair to say they haven’t exactly been missed. Essentially a bunch of bureaucrats making the lives of their Jedi Knights unnecessarily difficult, the Council were a frustrating bunch whose reasoning and motivations seemed to only exist to cause conflict where none was needed.
Story issues aside, and they were just, well, boring. Of all the ways Lucas could have gone about portraying the years when the Jedis were at their most powerful, he found the dullest way possible to do so, and even managed to turn Samuel L. Jackson (as Mace Windu) into a tremendous bore.
The less said about that Yoda puppet, the better, though that was later replaced by a CGI version.
Did Work: Duel Of The Fates
One major difference in The Phantom Menace to what had come before in the Star Wars franchise were the lightsaber battles. With fully trained and young Jedi Knights wielding the blades, these scenes took on a more exciting pace, and it’s not hard to see why some fans consider the final fight between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Darth Maul to be perhaps the best in the series.
This sequence was just mind-blowing, both because it was so different to what had come before and due to the fact that it showed the Jedi at the very peak of their power. Throw in the added drama of Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber and the heartbreaking moment in which Obi-Wan watches his Master fall, and this almost redeems this divisive movie in many ways.
It's also important to mention just how damn good John Williams' score was during this sequence.
Didn't Work: Too Much Politics
Because watching the Jedi Council prattle on wasn’t boring enough, The Phantom Menace devoted a ridiculous amount of time to familiarising us to the Galactic Senate’s doings.
While there was some potentially interesting stuff going on here as Palpatine (who it was easy to see was also the man who would one day become The Emperor, something which made him immediately intriguing if not all that compelling) tried to manipulate things to his benefit, Lucas just didn’t execute it very well and it came across as jumbled.
These debates about taxation and the like weren’t interesting for kids or adults watching, and simply didn’t need to be in the movie. Imagine the extra screen time characters like Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon could have had without this, while there were definitely better ways to show how Palpatine manipulated them for his own nefarious means.