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Liam Neeson Says ‘Star Wars’ Has Too Many Spinoffs: ‘It’s Taken Away the Mystery and the Magic’

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 3/11/2023 Tina Pavlik

Known mostly for his distinctive voice and ability to play intimidating characters, Liam Neeson has enjoyed a long, successful career in movies and television. While the actor has been nominated for many awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for Schindler’s List, he’s also famous for his roles in many top franchises like TakenThe Chronicles of Narnia, and Star Wars

Neeson is frequently asked in interviews if he would reprise his role of Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn in a Star Wars spinoff someday. While the answer is usually a short no, recently, the actor elaborated on why.

Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn

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Neeson entered the Star Wars franchise in the first prequel film in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Neeson played Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the Jedi who found Anakin Skywalker as a child and trained Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan, played by Ewan McGregor, would become Skywalker’s master. Then he succumbed to the dark side of the force and was reinvented as Darth Vader.

Neeson didn’t appear in any other Star Wars films, as his character technically died in The Phantom Menace. But he can return in flashbacks or as a force ghost. You can hear his voice as the character in scenes from Star Wars: The Clone WarsStar Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, and Tales of the Jedi. 

Liam Neeson | Samuel de Roman / Contributor © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet Liam Neeson | Samuel de Roman / Contributor

Neeson did appear at Qui-Gon Jinn as a force ghost at the end of the Disney+ show Obi-Wan Kenobi, to the delight of many fans, even though he had just two lines of dialogue. The show’s events were set 10 years after Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith but before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

Neeson’s performance as Qui-Gon Jinn was praised by critics and fans alike, particularly those with McGregor’s Kenobi. The dignity and wisdom he brought to the character made him very memorable.

So many spinoffs

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In his Feb. 16 appearance with Paul Rudd on the show Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Neeson gave a definitive answer to the question of him reprising his Star Wars role in a future spinoff, according to Variety.

Neeson explained that he felt the franchise was damaging its own magic. Neeson said he wasn’t interested in returning in another TV spinoff.

“There’s so many spinoffs of Star Wars,” he said. “It’s diluting to me.” He said all the spinoffs took away the magic and mystery of the franchise “in a weird way.”

Does that mean we’ll never see Qui-Gon Jinn again? Not necessarily. Last year, the actor told he would return under one condition: it would have to be a film, not a TV show. Neeson explained he was “a bit of a snob” regarding television. 

With all the spinoffs on big and small screens, Neeson’s point of view is understandable. Aside from the nine-movie film franchise, there’s been two other films Rogue One and Solo. On Disney+, spinoff shows include Andor, The Book of Boba FettThe Mandalorian, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, with more Star Wars shows to come.

Liam Neeson’s 100th film

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Neeson also just reached an important milestone with his 100th film, Marlowe. Directed by Neil Jordan, the film is based on the novel by John Banville, The Black-Eyed Blonde. The story follows Raymond Chandler’s classic detective Philip Marlowe, played by Neeson, as he takes a job searching for the missing lover of an heiress. Alan Cumming, Diane Kruger, and Jessica Lange also star.

“How did I get so lucky? Do you ever get moments like that?” Neeson asked in an interview with Variety. “Especially working with Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Diane Kruger. It’s just a great cast.”

While the iconic detective has been played in the past by legendary actors like Humphrey Bogart, Elliott Gould, and Robert Mitchum, Neeson says he didn’t feel intimidated. Growing up in Northern Ireland, he explained that there always seemed to be film noirs on television every Sunday afternoon. He described characters that showed up in the pouring rain with their Shelby hats. Neeson said he felt like he’d grown up with that type of character.

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