Liam Neeson is returning to a galaxy far, far away. At least for one episode.
Lucasfilm has been announcing new projects left and right at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, one of which is “Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi.” The animated anthology, which is set to stream on Disney+ this fall, will consist of one-off episodes exploring the backstories of beloved characters from the “Star Wars” franchise. Featured characters will include Count Dooku, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka. One particularly high profile episode will focus on Qui-Gon Jinn, the Jedi master that Liam Neeson portrayed in “The Phantom Menace.” And on the panel announcing the series, producer Dave Filoni revealed that Neeson himself would be voicing the character.
While the news is certainly exciting for many fans, the announcement directly contradicts Neeson’s recent stance on returning to “Star Wars.” The actor made headlines in April when he was asked if he was interested in reprising his role as Qui-Gon Jinn. At a time when even the biggest movie stars are sprinting towards high profile television gigs, Neeson said he remains a film purist and would prefer to keep his “Star Wars” endeavors on the big screen.
“Oh, I think so, yeah, yeah, yeah, I think so … if it was a film,” Neeson said. “Yeah, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to TV, I must admit, I just like the big screen, you know?”
Diehard fans were quick to point out that he had already appeared as Qui-Gon Jinn in three episodes of the TV show “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” in the past. Some thought that meant he had changed his mind about animated shows, but the actor is clearly still willing to do that, too.
And although Neeson has never taken a major television role, he has recently begun to dip his toe into live action TV work, making a memorable cameo on “Atlanta” this season as well as appearing in two episodes of “Derry Girls.” But, at least for the moment, a live action Qui-Gon Jinn series seems out of the question. It appears that Neeson’s current policy is that he won’t don the Jedi costume for anything short of a theatrical film.