Qui-Gon Jinn is a fictional character in the Star Wars saga, portrayed by Liam Neeson in the 1999 film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Qui-Gon is a major character in the first episode of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He is a wise and powerful Jedi Master and the mentor of Obi-Wan Kenobi and would even later go on to become the first mentor of Anakin Skywalker. Unlike other, more conservative Jedi, he values living in the moment as the best way to embrace the Force. While some Jedi respect him highly, others are puzzled or even discomforted by his unorthodox beliefs. He is not a member of the ruling Jedi Council despite being among the most powerful of the Jedi. Qui-Gon strongly believes that there is good in all people and that nothing happens without a reason.
The Phantom Menace opens with Qui-Gon and his Padawan Obi-Wan sent to the planet Naboo to resolve a political conflict involving the Trade Federation, a corrupt business conglomerate that has blockaded the planet for political leverage. After they are attacked by their host, the Jedi retreat to the planet and rescue its besieged Queen, Padmé Amidala. Their attempt to run the blockade and make way for the galactic capital of Coruscant succeeds, but Amidala's ship is damaged and is forced to land on the backward planet Tatooine for repairs.
While searching for replacement parts on Tatooine, Qui-Gon discovers a slave boy, Anakin Skywalker, who is extraordinarily strong in the Force; a test of his blood reveals that his midi-chlorian count—a measure of Force potential—is one of the highest ever detected. Qui-Gon's concern is heightened when Anakin's mother tells him that the boy had no father. Realizing Anakin might be the "Chosen One" of Jedi lore, Qui-Gon bets Anakin's freedom and the spaceship parts on a podrace, which Anakin wins. The entourage leave Tatooine, but not before Qui-Gon is attacked by an unknown Sith Lord, who is repelled. Returning to Coruscant disturbed, Qui-Gon urges the Jedi Council to allow Anakin to be trained in the Jedi ways. Master Yoda senses fear and anger in the young Anakin, and the Council refuses Qui-Gon's request. Qui-Gon then vows that he himself will train Anakin when Obi-Wan becomes a Jedi Knight.
The Council bids Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon return to Naboo to liberate the planet. There, the pair are confronted by the Sith Lord from earlier, who reveals himself as Darth Maul. After an arduous lightsaber duel, Maul mortally wounds Qui-Gon but is killed in turn by Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin with his dying breath, which Obi-Wan accepts to the chagrin of the Council. Qui-Gon's body is cremated in a traditional Jedi funeral.
Qui-Gon is mentioned, but not seen, in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In Attack of the Clones, Yoda hears his voice cry out to Anakin through the Force as Anakin slaughters a tribe of Tusken Raiders. Obi-Wan discovers that Qui-Gon's old master, Count Dooku, has become a Sith Lord; the two discuss Qui-Gon briefly while Dooku interrogates a captured Obi-Wan. In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda reveals to Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon has returned from the "netherworld of the Force" in order to teach both of them how to retain one's consciousness after death. In the novelization, Yoda finally admits that Qui-Gon was indeed a great Jedi Master.
In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Qui-Gon makes a cameo appearance in "Chapter 21". During Yoda's Force dream, Qui-Gon tells Anakin to enter the mysterious cave on Dagobah where the boy will see a vision of his future. Later when Obi-Wan reprimands Anakin for being late for his secret Knighthood ceremony, Anakin replies "as far as your wisdom goes, you're no Qui-Gon Jinn!". Though this saddens Obi-Wan, Anakin quickly apologizes, to which Obi-Wan responds that he too misses Qui-Gon.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the character is mentioned several times throughout the series. Qui-Gon appears as a Force ghost in two episodes of the third season. On the mysterious planet Mortis, he informs Obi-Wan in the episode "Overlords" and later Anakin in the episode "Ghosts of Mortis" about the three beings who believe, like Qui-Gon, that Anakin is the Chosen One: the Father (the Unifying Force manifestation), the Daughter (the light side incarnation) and the Son (the dark side embodiment). Later in the sixth season episode "Voices," Yoda is contacted by the disembodied voice of Qui-Gon. Following his deceased friend's instructions, Yoda goes on a quest across the galaxy in order to learn the secrets of becoming one with the Force as well.
Qui-Gon's life years prior to The Phantom Menace is mainly detailed in the Jedi Apprentice book series. In The Rising Force(set 12 years before The Phantom Menace), Yoda encourages Qui-Gon to take a new Padawan learner, following the failure of his previous apprentice Xanatos, who turned to the dark side of the Force years before. Qui-Gon observes a small lightsaber tournament among a group of the Temple's older students, which includes 12-year-old Obi-Wan. He takes notice of Obi-Wan's skills, but also of the boy's uncontrolled anger and refuses to train him. Shortly following the tournament, the Jedi Knight leaves for a mission to the planet Bandomeer. On the transport ship, Qui-Gon is reunited with Obi-Wan, who is also being sent to Bandomeer to begin life as an agricultural labourer. During the voyage, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan help defend a group of Arcona from the criminal organization Offworld Corporation. After putting an end to the tense situation, the two arrive on Bandomeer, where Qui-Gon receives a letter signed by his former apprentice Xanatos.
In The Dark Rival, it is revealed that the whole ordeal has been organized by Xanatos, now the leader of Offworld. Qui-Gon sends Obi-Wan off to his Agri-Corps duties, while he plans to meet with Xanatos to find an agreement between Offworld and Bandomeer. However, Xanatos plans to sabotage their meeting and kill Qui-Gon. The Jedi Master duels with his former apprentice, and he and Obi-Wan end Offworld's business on Bandomeer. Xanatos escapes, however. During the encounter with Xanatos, Qui-Gon discovers Obi-Wan's true potential and accepts the boy as his new Padawan. As a gift for Obi-Wan's 13th birthday, Qui-Gon gives his apprentice a special rock he found from the River of Light on his homeworld. In The Captive Temple, Xanatos attacks the Jedi Temple and nearly assassinates Yoda, but Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan thwart his plans, and in The Day of Reckoning, when they chase Xanatos back to his homeworld Telos, the fallen Jedi refuses to surrender and commits suicide. Qui-Gon is thus able to bring closure to a painful chapter of his life.
In Legacy of the Jedi, set during both Qui-Gon's Padawan and Knight years, Qui-Gon and his master Dooku are sent to accompany Senator Blix Annon on a diplomatic assignment. However, space pirates infiltrate their ship and their leader turns out to be rogue Jedi Lorian Nod, a former friend of Dooku's. The two battle and Dooku lets his anger get the best of him but Qui-Gon prevents his master from violating the Jedi Code by committing cold-blooded murder. Years after their first encounter, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan encounter Nod and once again the fallen Jedi is incarcerated for his crimes.
In Secrets of the Jedi (set seven years before The Phantom Menace), Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are paired with Jedi MasterAdi Gallia and her Padawan Siri Tachi. The mission, which results in Qui-Gon and Adi being separated from Obi-Wan and Siri, leads to the discovery of romantic feelings between the two Jedi Padawans. Qui-Gon detects these emotions and warns Obi-Wan of his own example with Tahl, a female Jedi whose murder nearly pushed Qui-Gon over the edge to the dark side.
In Cloak of Deception (set a year before The Phantom Menace), both Jedi fight against a terrorist organization called the Nebula Front, who are secretly following Darth Sidious' orders. At the Trade Federation conference on Eriadu, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan successfully defend Chancellor Valorum, but do not prevent the deaths of the rest of the Trade Federation Directorate, allowing the Neimoidians to take control of the Federation.
In comic books
Aside from the graphic novelization of The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon appears infrequently in Star Wars-related comic books. His most extensive appearance thus far is in the "Stark Hyperspace War" plotline in Star Wars: Republic. In this story arc, which takes place during the same year Qui-Gon takes Obi-Wan as his apprentice, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fight in the titular conflict along with other Jedi such as Plo Koon and Quinlan Vos, and Qui-Gon ends up saving Nute Gunray, the future Trade Federation viceroy.
In video games
Qui-Gon has also appeared in several Star Wars video games: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles, Star Wars: Obi-Wan, the Lego Star Wars games and as a character skin (via purchased download content) in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. A version of Qui-Gon as a bird (known as Quail-Gon) is available as a playable character in Angry Birds Star Wars II.
Behind the scenes
As revealed in The Art of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, director George Lucas conceived the character of Qui-Gon Jinn during pre-production of the film. This is shown by concept art where Obi-Wan Kenobi is shown alone in the Trade Federation flagship and while meeting Jar Jar Binks. Even when Qui-Gon was conceived, Lucas toyed with making him the younger Jedi, as shown in concept art depicting Obi-Wan as an old man. Lucas originally envisioned an Americanactor for the role of Qui-Gon, but ultimately cast Irish actor Liam Neeson because he considered Neeson to have great skills and presence, describing him as a "master actor, who the other actors will look up to, who has got the qualities of strength that the character demands." Initially, Lucas had planned for Qui-Gon to have long white hair, but that idea was scrapped and Qui-Gon is depicted as having long brown hair in the film. For various fight scenes of the film, including the lightsaber duels, British actor Andrew Lawden served as Neeson's body double.