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Liam Neeson Shares His Honest Thoughts About Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

The man who released the kraken in the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans has just revealed interesting information from his time on the set of Star Wars: Phantom Menace. Liam Neeson had the honor of playing Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn in the venerable saga, and in an interview on SiriusXM's Radio Andy, he shed some light on who he considers an unsung hero from Star Wars' first episode. 

When The Phantom Menace was released, the entire pop culture world was rabid with excitement, especially about a new Darth with a double-sided lightsaber facing off against a young Obi-Wan with Liam Neeson as his mentor. Yoda was coming back too, as a younger version of himself! Then, there was the dorky CGI character with rabbit ears parading around our beloved icons. Critics and fans alike were not kind to Jar Jar Binks, centering the character in harsh overall criticism of the film. It was a time of strife and division. Liam Neeson, however, actually looks back on this time, and on Jar Jar, quite fondly. His recent chat with Andy Cohen shed new light on the past.

Liam Neeson thought Ahmed Best was the next Eddie Murphy

In the SiriusXM interview, Neeson stated that he called his agent while on set and told him, "Listen, I think I've just worked with the new Eddie Murphy." He spoke fondly of actor Ahmed Best, who was the performance capture and voice artist for Jar Jar, and the exchanges they had on set. To sum it all up, he declared, "Ahmed Best truly is one of the funniest guys. He had all of us in stitches of laughter, including George Lucas." 

This stands in stark contrast to the outside reception for both the character of Jar Jar and Best's performance. The character came under a vast amount of criticism for his clownish demeanor, and the ordeal almost destroyed Best's career — and his life. Thankfully, the intervening years have seen fans gain some perspective, and reverse course on their treatment of Best.  According to Neeson, the actor went to a convention in San Diego in recent years and was showered with standing ovations and cheers for his appearance. "It was beautiful," Neeson stated.

Neeson went on to describe his time working on The Phantom Menace with nothing but earnest gratitude. "Look, I'm proud of the film. I got to play a Jedi," Neeson said in a tone marked with cheerful reminiscence. "It was terrific, Andy. It really was. I like the movie. I'm proud of it." After speak fondly of the film, Neeson then circled back around to reinforce his previous statements about Ahmed Best. If Qui-Gon himself is speaking so highly of Jar Jar, perhaps it's time we revisit where the whole Star Wars story began with fresh eyes.