The Phantom Menace is often cited as the weakest instalment in the Star Wars saga, and while there are strong arguments to support these claims, not everything about it is widely reviled. Most fans are willing to admit there are a few positives to take from the movie which kicked off the Prequel Trilogy, and among them is Liam Neeson’s portrayal of Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn.
With the franchise’s immediate future seemingly confined to the small screen, there’s been much speculation about which Star Wars character could be given their own TV show next, and Qui-Gon is a strong contender to join the likes of Mando, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor as a future headline act. What’s more, some fans believe they’ve identified the perfect candidate to play a younger version of the character – be it in a TV series or even a feature film.
Reddit user u/altruismjam has tabled the idea that Hamilton and Frozen star Jonathan Groff would make an ideal young Qui-Gon in a project exploring the Jedi’s past. His post went down well with other users on the website, too, so there appears to be an appetite for Disney to make this casting happen. Groff certainly looks the part, and his recent work with the Mouse House means he’s firmly on the studio’s radar.
Although the Hamilton actor would be a decent choice for Qui-Gon, Disney and Lucasfilm will likely be wary of bowing to fan pressure where future Star Wars projects are concerned. The studios let the negative reaction to The Last Jedi shape The Rise of Skywalker too much and many of its storytelling decisions felt like forced course correction as a result. The plight of the Sequel Trilogy is a good example of what can happen when too much attention is paid to internet forum chatter and negative audience feedback and it’s a mistake the Powers That Be are unlikely to make twice.
There’s been no suggestion that Disney is planning to explore Qui-Gon’s past, either, least of all in a solo TV show, but surely there’s a good chance he’ll appear in Force Ghost form in the upcoming Obi-Wan Disney+ series. Hopefully this will mean Neeson will join Ewan McGregor in reprising his Phantom Menace role, though there could well be room for a young incarnation of the character in flashback sequences, too.