It all started during the 2020 Disney Investors Day when Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced the 10 new Star Wars projects coming by way of Disney. One of those projects, the Ewan McGregor-led Obi-Wan Kenobi series set to premiere on the small screen, received a big boost when it was also announced that Hayden Christensen would be returning to his Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith role of Anakin Skywalker. But now, things seem to be leaping off the charts as it’s being rumored that action star Liam Neeson could also be returning to Star Wars in the Obi-Wan series as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.
Those of you who are up on your Star Wars lore know that Liam Neeson’s one appearance as Qui-Gon Jinn came in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, a movie in which he didn’t survive. Fans will also know that the character has appeared since his demise in animated form, but never again in live-action.
According to a source at Small Screen, the deal between Liam Neeson and Lucasfilm is a done deal, making his return a go. “That deal’s already done. Liam Neeson will be playing Qui-Gon Jinn in Kenobi,” the source claimed. What’s not known, though, is what form fans will see the Jedi Master. Seems the source wasn’t clear on how Neeson’s Qui-Gon would appear either. “Honestly, I’m not 100 percent certain on how they’ll bring the character back. It sounds like it’ll be in a flashback sequence, yet they could also be thinking of bringing him back as a Force Ghost. More info when I get it.”
Regardless of how, Force Ghost or flashback, bringing Liam Neeson back into the Star Wars family along with Christensen is great for Kennedy, Lucasfilm, Star Wars, and most importantly their fans. With things finally looking up for the Star Wars franchise with The Mandalorian and ten other new projects on the horizon, we may soon be able to say Star Wars is back on track and finally be once again proud of the franchise so many love.
When Liam Neeson spoke to Collider about his new movie The Marksman, he sounded surprised that fans would love to see him return to his role as Qui-Gon. He told Collider, “I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t heard that at all.” Then he was asked if he’d ever consider returning to the role in a mini-series, “Sure, I’d like to but I’m wondering if Star Wars [is] starting to fade away from [the] cinema landscape, do you think?” Either he truly doesn’t keep up or the man has a truly remarkable poker face. After he was informed of the Obi-Wan series, the actor continued to play coy. “Oh, so they are sort of spinoffs are they?” But then he added, “I’d be up for that! Yeah.”
A return to Star Wars may go against what Neeson recently told Entertainment Tonight when he said this year would be it for him and action films. “I’m 68 and a half — 69 this year,” he told ET. “There’s a couple more I’m going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there’s a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it.” Thankfully he didn’t say he was retiring altogether.
For Neeson’s part, Star Wars isn’t the only thing he has recently been linked to. Besides the premiere of The Marksman, Neeson has been linked to, believe it or not, The Naked Gun franchise. Family Guy and The Orville creator Seth MacFarlane is keen on rebooting the franchise and is looking to Neeson to lead the way.
“I’ve been approached by Seth McFarlane and Paramount Studios to maybe resurrect the Naked Gun films,” he told People. (“It’ll either finish my career or bring it in another direction. I honestly don’t know.” The Naked Gun franchise was famously led by Leslie Nielsen, who began his career as a dramatic actor then transitioned over to comedy beginning with the first Airplane! (“and don’t call me Shirley”) movie. Not only did The Naked Gun comprise of three movies, but it also took its roots on the short-lived TV series Police Squad! While their last names are nearly identical (Nielsen and Neeson) Neeson may not have the particular set of skills to fill Nielsen’s shoes as Frank Drebin, no one does. But Neeson back as Qui-Gon? Make it happen.