One of the most important Star Wars characters played by Liam Neeson became a fan favorite after his first appearance as Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn. The rebellious, fearless, and calm Jedi was the first to notice the potential in every subject he met on his travels, be it in passing or otherwise. Qui-Gon’s lightness of foot, quick reaction, and critical eye in analyzing threats brought a new perspective to viewers’ knowledge about the Jedi.
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Perhaps it hasn’t been mentioned enough, however, Neeson’s role as Obi-Wan Kenobi’s master was too limited and too quick to boot. Granted Obi-Wan was as ready as he could be by the end of Episode I, but the audience needed more of Qui-Gon himself, alive and kicking. Perhaps that is why the actor himself brought back his iconic character to the screen this summer in the Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
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Liam Neeson’s Return As Qui-Gon Jinn
The Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, has been making ripples in the Star Wars fandom world with its multiple cameos and surprising easter eggs. The series has brought back Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, a young Leia Organa, an easter egg involving Mace Windu in Episode 4, and an interpretive look into the fate of the clone troopers after the events of Order 66.
Ewan McGregor has pulled off an iconic comeback with his reprisal as Obi-Wan Kenobi. And now, Liam Neeson himself is back as Qui-Gon Jinn, 23 years after his first appearance in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This is what the actor had to say about his return in the series finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi:
“I certainly didn’t want anyone else playing Qui-Gon Jinn, and I wanted to show my respect for George [Lucas] and that mythical world that he created. Plus, Ewan [McGregor] is a pal, and I loved working with him during The Phantom Menace 25 years ago.”
The Criticism Levied At Star Wars Prequel Trilogy
The fandom was not very enthusiastic or supportive of the Star Wars prequel trilogy when the films came out. Perhaps, it was a failure to meet the expectation that had built up over the years. Or, the criticisms could be a factor of the audience not loving the bureaucratic and economic tone of The Phantom Menace rather than what was objectively recognized as Star Wars — Darth Vader, Yoda, the Empire, Deathstar, and a lot of battle.
Even though the movies gained a following and much greater appreciation over the years, at the time of release the criticism was so harsh that Ewan McGregor had pointedly refused to return to the franchise after the trilogy, and the child actor, Jake Lloyd, who had played Anakin Skywalker in Episode I quit acting at just age 12. But Neeson stood firm by the films, the franchise, and his work:
“I like [Phantom Menace]. I am proud of it and proud to have been a part of it. I got to be a Jedi. I got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff. It was terrific, it really was.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter