George Lucas Told Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor to Stop Making Lightsaber Noises While Filming First ‘Star Wars’ Action Scene: ‘Boys, We Can Add It in Later’

Liam Neeson appeared on a recent episode of the “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend” podcast (recorded prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike) and again shaded the “Star Wars” franchise for diluting itself with so many sequels and spinoffs. The actor, who played the Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn in George Lucas’ “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” (1999), was asked about how often “Star Wars” fans come up to him to ask for an autograph.

“Not all the time,” Neeson answered. “I mean it is a cult. There’s so many movies and spin-offs now I think it’s diluting the whole thing, that’s my personal thing. Occasionally there’s kids after a ‘Star Wars’ autograph and I don’t want to give autographs at the airport. Oh but it’s not the kid, it’s the grandfather, there he is – or the dad. They become 11 year olds.”

Neeson said during a February episode of “Watch What Happens Live!” that so many “Star Wars” spinoffs and sequels had “taken away the mystery and the magic” of the franchise “in a weird way.” Neeson had a brief cameo in the Disney+ series “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” but he only had about two lines of dialogue.

Elsewhere during his “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend” interview, Neeson remembered actually making lightsaber noises while filming his first lightsaber action scene with co-star Ewan McGregor.

“The first time we actually had to use the lightsaber to start a little fight… we both automatically [made the noises],” Neeson said. “George [Lucas] said, ‘Let’s cut there. Boys, we can add that in later.’”

Neeson also remembered his makeup artist telling him her work wouldn’t matter much considering all of the CGI and visual effects on display in “The Phantom Menace,” many of which were new at the time.

“I was supposed to being doing this scene with [Watto], a little flying monster,” Neeson remembered. “I didn’t know what this thing was going to look like. It was a green tennis ball that was eventually going to be this flying monster. I’m in the makeup chair, and the lady says, ‘I did see a mock-up of the monster, and you could be a monkey smoking a pipe and no one is going to be looking at you.’”

Watch Neeson reflect more on his “Star Wars” experience in the video below.

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