Phantom Menace 25th: Qui-Gon Jinn is one of George Lucas' best-written characters

Liam Neeson gives an unforgettable performance as the best character in the movie.
Qui-Gon Jinn image courtesy of
Qui-Gon Jinn image courtesy of /

It's been 25 years since Episode I—The Phantom Menace was released. Although so much Star Wars content has come out in recent years, Qui-Gon Jinn continues to stand out as one of George Lucas's best characters.

He's easily one of the best Jedi in the saga and one of the best Jedi Masters. Over the years, fans, young and old, have come to admire the independent-thinking Qui-Gon, who, at that time, represented a brand of Jedi who didn't get wrapped up in the politics of the galaxy.

Here's why Qui-Gon Jinn has become such a beloved character:

Liam Neeson's majestic performance

Qui-Gon had to be someone with the grace and nobility of Sir Alec Guinness and the ability to portray a highly trained warrior. Neeson had the soft-spoken and inspiring style needed to play a well-balanced character as well as the lightsaber skills of the prequel era. He plays the character as a free thinker, whose only guide is the Force, which is a strong contrast between him and all other Jedi in the movie. His strong faith in the Force makes him stand out. Neeson makes Qui-Gon the perfectly wise spiritual leader and master in contrast with every other Jedi, including Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi.

George Lucas's writing

Lucas knew exactly what he wanted Qui-Gon to be, and there were no contradictions in how the character was written. From the beginning to the end, Qui-Gon is never swayed by the Jedi Council's influence, whether on the matter of training Anakin or in his belief that Obi-Wan was ready to be promoted to a Jedi Knight. Even moments away from death, Qui-Gon still believed wholeheartedly that Anakin needed to be trained. It's this steadfast belief that makes Qui-Gon such a memorable character. He shows the wisdom of a man who's been through enough to give him complete faith in his own decisions. Through Qui-Gon, George Lucas shows us what a Jedi Master should be like.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Image credit: /

Qui-Gon is what every Jedi ought to be like

George Lucas wanted to cast someone who would be able to deliver a performance like Alec Guinness's performance in the original trilogy. He needed someone who could portray a wise spiritual thinker, which makes sense as Qui-Gon was Obi-Wan's Master. After undergoing numerous trials and challenges, Obi-Wan eventually becomes a Jedi very much like his own Master. Qui-Gon was a Maverick at the time when the Jedi had lost their way. The fact that he rejected orders of the Jedi Council and refused to accept a seat on the council shows that he was aware of the corrupting influence that comes with such a position

Qui-Gon was an example of a Jedi who did his own thing and relied only on his faith in the Force as a guide. He showed that by focusing so much on the future, the Jedi had lost sight of the present. They were worried about what Anakin would become but were unaware of what the Republic had become and that Sidious was hiding in plain sight.

Moreover, Qui-Gon didn't want the Jedi Code to become suffocating for the Jedi and believed it didn't need to be strictly followed. The Jedi still haven't understood this, so Qui-Gon was way ahead of his time.

In future Star Wars stories, the Jedi should be more like Qui-Gon Jinn and less like others whose belief in the Jedi Code was stronger than their belief in the force.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace will return to theaters in May in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

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