Liam Neeson’s Best Role Was Originally Punk-Rock

By Jessica Goudreault | Published

liam neeson star wars
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn

Can you imagine Liam Neeson training Obi-Wan Kenobi how to be a wise and honorable Jedi Master, all while rocking a mohawk? That was almost the case in the classic 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, according to Slash Film. Instead, the creative department decided to give Liam Neeson the classic long hair and scruffy beard for the role of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

Liam Neeson almost sported a mohwak for his role as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Even though he was only in that one Star Wars movie, Liam Neeson’s role as Qui-Gon Jinn is one of his best, and he is seen as one of the most revered characters in the franchise.

Without him, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) may not have gotten the proper Jedi training that empowered him to use the Force. And if it weren’t for Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda would not have taken in and trained the young Anakin Skywalker.

Liam Neeson is instantly recognizable as Qui-Gon Jinn with his long dark hair, which is always styled in a half ponytail, and his brown beard and mustache. In many cultures, long hair is often associated with power, respect, and strength. If one is to cut their hair or shave their head, then it can show a sign of weakness and surrender.

Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn

The book Star Wars: The Making of Episode I — The Phantom Menace reveals that there were originally very different hairstyles planned for both Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Many people associate a mohawk with a punk rock attitude and a person who doesn’t abide by the rules.

Doug Chiang, the Vice President and Executive Creative Director of Lucasfilm, envisioned Liam Neeson’s character with either a mohawk or three thin pigtails (with one in the back and two on each side). Both haircuts are difficult to imagine on Liam Neeson, but the mohawk is especially tough.

Many people associate a mohawk with a punk rock attitude and a person who doesn’t abide by the rules. While Qui-Gon Jinn doesn’t really follow the rules, it makes his character more appealing and complex since he looks like he should be more law-abiding.

Meanwhile, George Lucas reportedly wanted Obi-Wan Kenobi to have longer hair, much like his later padawan Luke Skywalker. Rather than making Ewan McGregor wear a wig throughout the movie, they gave him a short haircut with one long braid.

liam neeson star wars
Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Apart from the 1999 Star Wars film, Liam Neeson typically has the same traditional haircut in his other films, such as Love Actually, Taken, Kinsey, and Schindler’s List. In these films, he has a slightly longer haircut that uses his natural brown hair color and is typically clean-shaven.

Liam Neeson ended up with longer hair than his usual roles, but the mohawk and triple braid look didn’t make it to the screen.

Though in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, Liam Neeson portrays yet another wise master with untraditional hair. In these films, he plays Ra’s al Ghul/Henri Ducard, the leader of the League of Shadows who trains a young Bruce Wayne how to fight. In these films, he sports shorter hair and a long goatee, and he later becomes a villain.

Next up for Liam Neeson, he will appear in several films, including Retribution, The Naked Gun, and Cold Storage. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of hairstyle he will have in these films.