Star Wars’ Liam Neeson Explains Why He Returned For Obi-Wan Kenobi Despite Being A ‘TV Snob’

Liam Neeson in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
(Image credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

Disney+ had a massive hit on its hands with the Ewan McGregor-led series Obi-Wan Kenobi. The show saw several fan favorite stars from the Star Wars prequel films reprise their roles like Hayden Christensen, who returned as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Of course, fans were also excited to see a surprise cameo from Liam Neeson, who reprised his role as Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn. During the course of his career, Neeson hasn't dabbled in TV much, so why did he make an exception for McGregor's show despite being a "TV snob?"

Liam Neeson recently appeared at the San Sebastian Film Festival (via, where he was promoting his latest film, Marlowe. During the event, Neeson was asked about his long-awaited return to the Star Wars franchise, and his reasoning for returning to the fold was honest and very straightforward. The Phantom Menace actor revealed:

I was in the last episode, I’m a bit of a TV snob, but I didn’t want anyone else to play that character. Ewan is a friend. We were in Los Angeles on green screen and Ewan, as Obi-Wan, was on a real camel, and I only had three lines of dialogue, and when we rehearsed, people started crying, it was wonderful.

So it would seem that the 70-year-old actor simply didn't want anyone else playing the role. One can understand his feelings though, had he been unavailable, I doubt Disney and Lucasfilm would've tapped another actor for the job. (Though they could've found a way to insert him digitally.) While his appearance was brief, it certainly resonated with a number of viewers and, based on the actor's comments, the crew was moved by his moment with Ewan McGregor as well.

Though this was the first time Liam Neeson had appeared on screen as Qui-Gon for a live-action production since Episode I, this isn't the only time he's returned to the galaxy far, far away since then. The actor previously provided voiceover work for The Clone Wars and had one of many vocal cameos in The Rise of Skywalker. He is also said to be lending his voice to the upcoming animated series of shorts Tales of the Jedi. It's unclear whether Neeson would return again to play his character in live action again, but I know fans would definitely be on board to see more of him in the role. After all, they spent years theorizing how Qui-Gon could return before Obi-Wan Kenobi aired.

Though the chances of such a reprisal may be quite slim, as the star previously stated that he had "no desire" to do more Star Wars and superhero movies. So I don’t think he’d be keen on participating in a Qui-Gon Jinn series even if it were ever proposed. These days, the Taken star seems to be focusing mostly on smaller projects like Marlowe, in which he plays a private detective probing a case in the 1950s.

Still, there's plenty of room for hope, as I never even thought Liam Neeson would return for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Let's keep speaking another live-action reprisal into existence and, if you haven't already, stream the limited series and the prequel films using a Disney+ subscription. Also, keep an eye out for other upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.