Veteran actor Liam Neeson, who portrayed ill-fated Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, has opened the door for a return to the sci-fi franchise after ruling it out in previous interviews.
Neeson last played the character during a cameo in Disney+ spin-off series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which was released in 2022, 23 years after his Star Wars debut. He’s since denied rumours of a Qui-Gon standalone show or movie, but when NME recently asked if he’d consider coming back should creator George Lucas be directing, he said: “I would certainly have to think about it.”
Neeson went on to describe his dissatisfaction with Disney’s handling of the franchise – Disney bought Lucasfilm, the company behind Star Wars, from Lucas for $4.05 billion in 2012. They have released five Star Wars films and four live-action TV series since, none of which have been helmed by Lucas.
“There’s so many spin-offs now. It’s diluted it all for me,” he said. “I did [The Phantom Menace]. My character got killed at the end of it and that was fine. I loved shooting it.”
Remembering his time on the film, which was shot in 1997, Neeson told NME about some memorable advice he got from Lucas.
“I had a little speech to say to Jake Lloyd, who was the young Darth Vader [aka Anakin Skywalker],” he said. “I had a bunch of things to say to him about being special and chosen; and I remember saying to George: ‘What the fuck am I saying? What’s a Midi-chlorian? Please tell me?!’
“Here’s what he said: ‘OK, you know in your gut you have millions of bacteria. One of those strains has an intelligence,’ and that’s all he said and then left. I thought ‘Oh OK’. That was all the direction I got the whole movie. Occasionally, there’d be a ‘speak a little bit faster’ or ‘a little bit slower’ but that was it!”
Neeson is currently promoting new crime thriller Marlowe, in which he plays the titular, down-on-his-luck detective who is hired to track down the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress, played by Diane Kruger. The film is based on the best-selling fictional character created by legendary American-British novelist Raymond Chandler during the 1930s.
‘Marlowe’ is in cinemas and on Sky Cinema now