Liam Neeson defends Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace got a pretty bad wrap, as did all the prequels. Perhaps none felt the brunt of that more than Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best, who received his fair share of criticism during his time playing the goofy Gungan.

Liam Neeson, who played Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode 1, has recently backed both Phantom Menace and Best, even going as far as saying he was “proud” of the first entry in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

“I'm very proud of the film, I got to be a Jedi, got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff, it was terrific. I liked the movie,” Neeson told Sirius XM’s Andy Cohen.

“It really hurt his career," Neeson said of Best. "And I have to say when I was making that film… he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I had ever worked with. I remember calling my old ex-agent… and said, 'I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy.' I still believe that. Truly, he had all of his in stitches – including George Lucas. But I liked the movie,” he reaffirmed.

At least these stories have happy endings. Ahmed Best returned to a galaxy far, far away earlier this year with Disney Plus gameshow Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge and, remarkably, some public opinion on the prequels have swayed and mellowed over time. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.

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Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.