Liam Neeson 'Very Proud' of The Phantom Menace, Blames Criticism for Hurting Jar Jar Actor's Career

Dead2009

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Liam Neeson is proud of his work in Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and believes the film's criticism hurt the career of Ahmed Best.

Neeson and Best worked alongside each other in the first of three Star Wars prequel movies as Qui-Gon Jin and Jar Jar Binks. The former is considered quite beloved by fans, even those who don't necessarily like The Phantom Menace, but the latter receives a lot of hate. Jar Jar Binks was meant to be a comedic relief of sorts to a not-so-funny movie but many found that this didn't work.

"I know a lot of fans and critics didn't like it and my lovely friend Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks, came in for a lot, a lot of criticism," Neeson told Andy Cohen on Cohen's Sirius XM radio show, as originally reported by IndieWire. "To the point where 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 have ever worked with."

"Truly, he is one of the funniest guys," Neeson continued. "He had all of us in stitches — including George Lucas, and then bam, the film comes out and he's attacked, personally attacked by fans and critics for whatever reasons."

Neeson said he recalls calling his old ex-agent and telling them, "I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy." Neeson said he still believes that.

The actor also told Cohen that he was "very proud" of the film, adding that he got to be a Jedi and was able to play with lightsabers and more, which is something he considers "terrific."
 

InnKpr

Well-Known Member
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Liam Neeson is proud of his work in Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and believes the film's criticism hurt the career of Ahmed Best.

Neeson and Best worked alongside each other in the first of three Star Wars prequel movies as Qui-Gon Jin and Jar Jar Binks. The former is considered quite beloved by fans, even those who don't necessarily like The Phantom Menace, but the latter receives a lot of hate. Jar Jar Binks was meant to be a comedic relief of sorts to a not-so-funny movie but many found that this didn't work.

"I know a lot of fans and critics didn't like it and my lovely friend Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks, came in for a lot, a lot of criticism," Neeson told Andy Cohen on Cohen's Sirius XM radio show, as originally reported by IndieWire. "To the point where 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 have ever worked with."

"Truly, he is one of the funniest guys," Neeson continued. "He had all of us in stitches — including George Lucas, and then bam, the film comes out and he's attacked, personally attacked by fans and critics for whatever reasons."

Neeson said he recalls calling his old ex-agent and telling them, "I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy." Neeson said he still believes that.

The actor also told Cohen that he was "very proud" of the film, adding that he got to be a Jedi and was able to play with lightsabers and more, which is something he considers "terrific."
Just my two-cents, and I am by no means a Jar Jar Binks fan... but he makes a valid point. The actors do what is asked of them. Ahmed Best didn't make the poor decisions which led to that character being such a distraction in TPM. He voiced the character as he was instructed, and read the lines which the script dictated. Any frustrations should be aimed toward the director/writers.

Same goes to the people who trolled Kelly Marie Tran into taking down her social media platforms after TLJ. None of the problems surrounding that movie or her character's poor story were her fault.
 

erasure fan1

Well-Known Member
The actor also told Cohen that he was "very proud" of the film, adding that he got to be a Jedi and was able to play with lightsabers and more, which is something he considers "terrific."
He should be proud of his work as he was Awesome. He made Qui gon and he's one of my all time favorite Jedi. While I have always supported the prequels, I understand there is a lot to scrutinize for sure. Qui gon isn't one of those. Unless you want to argue Lucas killed him off too quick. And I argue that all the time.
He voiced the character as he was instructed, and read the lines which the script dictated. Any frustrations should be aimed toward the director/writers.

Same goes to the people who trolled Kelly Marie Tran into taking down her social media platforms after TLJ.
100%. Unfortunately a very small minority of star wars fans who did this gave all of us the "toxic fans" label. Best did what he was paid to do. Unfortunately what Lucas wanted was not great to begin with.

All in all the phantom menace gave us some fantastic star wars moments. Some of the best in the whole saga. Of course it also gave us some of the worst as well. But if they re-edited it they could fix a lot of those issues. Disney will never do it because there has to be some stipulation in the sale that says they won't change anything Lucas did in 1 - 6. Otherwise we would already have the OT original cuts on home video.
 

CJR

Well-Known Member
When you listen to people's complaints, Liam Neeson's performance isn't usually one of them. He did a great job, as always.

I also agree that Jar Jar's issues shouldn't be linked to his actor. That's silly, IMO. The direction as a whole was a problem in the prequel trilogy.
 

erasure fan1

Well-Known Member
Generally speaking, Qui-gon, Obi-Wan, maul and Palpatine are not really complained about. Most genuinely liked the performances. Maul and Qui-gon died way too quick, but other than that, they were great.
 

InnKpr

Well-Known Member
Generally speaking, Qui-gon, Obi-Wan, maul and Palpatine are not really complained about. Most genuinely liked the performances. Maul and Qui-gon died way too quick, but other than that, they were great.
I know Maul takes some criticism for not being really fleshed out story-wise. But really if you think about it, he was never meant to have a story, or any type of character development. His sole purpose was to illustrate the Sith master/apprentice rule of 2... with him being an early apprentice. Then we he falls, another takes his place, and so on, until we reach Anakin's fate.

So for what minor purpose he was meant to have within the saga, I thought Maul worked as a villain.
 

mary2013

Member
I know Maul takes some criticism for not being really fleshed out story-wise. But really if you think about it, he was never meant to have a story, or any type of character development. His sole purpose was to illustrate the Sith master/apprentice rule of 2... with him being an early apprentice. Then we he falls, another takes his place, and so on, until we reach Anakin's fate.

So for what minor purpose he was meant to have within the saga, I thought Maul worked as a villain.
I'm guessing you never watched any of the animated Star Wars shows. Maul's death didn't really take. 😏
 

Robbiem

Well-Known Member
Star Wars Rebels was great. I highly recommend it.

clone wars is my favourite but rebels is great too. You really need to watch CW first to understand Maul, Ashoka ets stories in rebels.
resistance isn’t so good but if you want some fun the lego star wars series are great
 

Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
He should be proud of his work as he was Awesome. He made Qui gon and he's one of my all time favorite Jedi. While I have always supported the prequels, I understand there is a lot to scrutinize for sure. Qui gon isn't one of those. Unless you want to argue Lucas killed him off too quick. And I argue that all the time.

I always thought his character shouldn't have even existed necessarily. Why does the Phantom Menace focus on a character we've never heard of before and will never see again, at the expense of developing what should be the core relationship - Anakin and Obi-Wan?

However, Dave Filoni makes some good points about the purpose of the character in the Mandalorian documentary series. Qui-Gon's death is a key element in Anakin's fate. That's what Duel of the Fates is about, what will happen to Anakin? If Qui-Gon survives, Anakin is trained by someone with absolute belief in him. In contrast, Obi-Wan has no interest and looks at Anakin as just another annoying passenger in their mission, no more important than Jar Jar.

I think that's an interesting perspective that helps justify Qui-Gon's presence in the story, as well as killing him off right away. It all plays into what Anakin's story will be.
 

erasure fan1

Well-Known Member
I always thought his character shouldn't have even existed necessarily. Why does the Phantom Menace focus on a character we've never heard of before and will never see again
Totally agree. But Neeson was so awesome as a jedi, I just wanted more. I've had that compaint about a lot of the Prequel era stuff. It's Lucas at his most annoying to some degree. As much as I love Qui-gon, I still watch the OT and wonder why such an important jedi was never referenced. But he was so good , it doesn't really bother me. I have the same issues with Ahsoka. Really Anakin trained her, they went on all these missions and yet ep3 comes along, and not a word.
 
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