Liam Neeson says that he's 'proud' of 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace'

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2-min read
Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace (Credit: Fox/Lucasfilm)
Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace (Credit: Fox/Lucasfilm)

Though the other movies in the Star Wars prequel trilogy are hardly impervious to fan hatred, it was The Phantom Menace which seemed to act as the lightening rod.

At once too much playing to the children in the audience while also throwing in boring intergalactic politics, it opened up the first critical cracks in the roundly-loved space franchise.

But for Liam Neeson, who played young Anakin Skywalker's mentor and Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn, he's retains a measure of pride in the work he did.

Speaking to Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM radio show in the US, Neeson said: “I like the film. I proud of it and proud to have been a part of it. I got to be a Jedi. I got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff. It was terrific, Andy, it really was.”

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However, there was one side of the movie's reception that disturbed him – the now legendarily poor reaction to Ahmed Best's hapless Gungan warrior Jar Jar Binks, the movie's poorly judged comic relief.

Qui-Gon and Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace (Credit: Fox/Lucasfilm)
Qui-Gon and Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace (Credit: Fox/Lucasfilm)

“He came into a lot of criticism, I mean to the point where it really hurt his career,” Neeson went on.

“And I have to say when I was making that film... he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I have ever worked with. I remember calling my old agent, and I said 'Listen, I think I've just worked with the new Eddie Murphy'. And I still believe that... he had all of us in stitches laughing. Including George Lucas.”

Best revealed last year that due to the blowback from the role, his career was devastated, to the point where he even considered suicide.

However, the tide has turned some, with Best appearing at the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago last year, where he received a hero's welcome from the crowd.

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