Neeson Proud of "The Phantom Menace"

 

When the sequel trilogy of the Skywalker Saga happened, a lot of people started talking about the anticipation that surrounded the prequel trilogy that ran from 1999 to 2005. Focusing on the origin of Darth Vader as Anakin Skywalker, the tale chronicled his life from his childhood to his years as a Padawan to his fall from the Light Side and becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith. While many assumed, and hoped, that George Lucas had planned for years the prequels (Based on quotes of him outlining the entire story back in the early 1980's), Lucas best and worst came out.


Every installment, like the originals, captured inventive new worlds and featured a deep mythology, but the dialogue (Which Lucas himself often notes is one of his weaker traits as a filmmaker) wasn't well-received along with several of the casting choices. Ewan McGregor was almost universally loved as a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi which is defended by the fact fan support helped him get a solo Disney+ series that is in the works currently. However, one point of contention was the depiction of Anakin throughout the film, portrayed as a boy by Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace and then by Hayden Christensen as an adult in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Another was several characters that many felt contained insensitive parallels to certain racial stereotypes.


One major one was Jar Jar Binks (Played vocally and through motion capture by Ahmed Best). Many complained the character (And the Gungan race in general) was a cheap shot at Jamaican Creole. It got so bad that a couple years ago Best was interviewed and spoke how he had been so heavily harassed online that he contemplated suicide. However, in recent years, Best has been more openly received by fans as they have warmed up to the prequels. But despite all this, many still condemn the prequels (Like pretty much every other mainstream piece of Star Wars cinema) for not living up to the legacy of the original trilogy. But those involved still defend it to this day. And joining that is Liam Neeson, who played Obi-Wan's master Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode I - The Phantom Menace. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly he talks about how he was “very proud of the film, I got to be a Jedi, got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff, it was terrific. I liked the movie.”


Neeson himself also spoke about Best in the interview, not only praising him but daring to say he believes he is still meant to be a big star:

“It really hurt his career, and I have to say when I was making that film… he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I had ever worked with. I remember calling my old ex-agent at ICM and said, ‘I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy.’ I still believe that. Truly, he had all of us in stitches – including George Lucas.”

While many felt had their issues with the prequels, Neeson was pretty much welcomed from minute one for his portrayal and has even returned to the part for bit scenes in the popular animated series The Clone Wars and also lent his voice, along with most of the actors to play Jedi in the films, to a small "vocal reunion" at the end of Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker. However, some have been hoping he'll return to the role in live-action. With rumor flying that Hayden Christensen will appear in the solo Obi-Wan series, which will take place during his isolation on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope as he watched over Luke, many are also hoping that Neeson returns but there is no word at this time. With Neeson's passion for his part in the massive franchise, no one should count him out. Stay tuned!

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