Liam Neeson is well known for playing badasses in action movies. Because Neeson has such a blockbuster career, his role in the Star Wars franchise is often overlooked.
Qui-Gon Jinn is an incredibly important character in the Star Wars universe, and Neeson portrays him perfectly. Qui-Gon basically sets all the events of the entire franchise into motion when he discovers the Force in a young Anakin Skywalker, and goes to bat for him. Qui-Gon is sure that Anakin should be trained as a Jedi, despite the fact that he is too old, and many on the Jedi council are against it.
Liam Neeson only appeared in one ‘Star Wars’ movie
Qui-Gon is a legend in the Star Wars universe, but he only appeared in one film. Neeson headlined The Phantom Menace, the first of the Star Wars prequels. Qui-Gon was the first Jedi to encounter a Sith Lord in more than 1,000 years, according to Star Wars canon. The Jedis defeated the Sith thousands of years before any of the Star Wars movies take place. When Qui-Gon fought Darth Maul across the sands of Tatooine and recognized him for what he was, many of the other Jedi were suspicious.
The Jedi Council did not believe any Sith existed. It was Qui-Gon’s warning that alerted the Jedi to the existence of a new order of Sith. Darth Maul would later kill Qui-Gon on Naboo.
Even with a sizable budget, Qui-Gon used a razor as a communicator
Neeson is a big star, but LucasFilm had the budget to hire the likes of Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson for TPM. According to Screenrant, the movie had a budget of $115 million, dwarfing the budgets of the previous three Star Wars installments. Of course the first three Star Wars installments were made in the 1970s and 1980s, but according to In 2013 Dollars, Return of the Jedi’s budget of $32.5 million would have been about $54 million in 1999, when Phantom Menace came out. That means The Phantom Menace had more than double the budget of the previous Star Wars movie.
Which is why it’s surprising that Neeson was stuck using a woman’s razor as a communicator. Yes, a woman’s razor. Gillette, to be specific. According to CBS News, the Phantom Menace crew used a resin cast of a Gillette Ladies Sensor Excel Razor to make Qui-Gon’s communicator. Fans in the know about Qui-Gon’s communicator will have a good chuckle on rewatch, but there are many more important things about Qui-Gon that are still in a somewhat gray area, including what kind of Jedi he actually was.
Is Qui-Gon Jinn a Gray Jedi?
Qui-Gon’s actions in regards to Anakin seemed noble at the time. He stood behind Anakin, a promising young Jedi from a disadvantaged background. But he fought the Jedi council hard to do it. Many feel that Qui-Gon’s defiance of the council makes him what is called a Gray Jedi. A Gray Jedi is one who isn’t tethered completely to the light or dark side. A Gray Jedi never crosses the line to the dark side, although they’re not as far away from it as a regular Jedi.
Others use Gray Jedi to refer to a Jedi who defies the council and doesn’t follow the Jedi Code to the letter. Qui-Gon fits that description to a tee. While his initial support of Anakin seems like the ideal underdog story, Anakin’s actions after he turns to the dark side are deplorable. The dichotomy between a young Anakin and Darth Vader puts Qui-Gon squarely in the middle, in a gray area as a Gray Jedi.