Though it’s pretty much gospel that The Phantom Menace is a terrible movie, one of the most appealing details left over from that 1999 blunder was its villain, Darth Maul. He’s arguably the most fearsome screen presence in the Star Wars saga this side of Darth Vader, and his level of general badass-ery trumps other relatively goofy prequel villains like Count Dooku or General Grievous. Too bad George Lucas had to (uh, spoilers?) go kill him off after only about 15 minutes of screen time. (He also uses the force the least among force-empowered characters in the franchise, a total of 8 seconds, by a Bloomberg count.) People wanted more of the horned baddie. Perhaps this is why a persistent Facebook meme has popped up around him. Too bad it’s complete bullshit.
The meme involves Maul allegedly being the only person in cinema history to ever kill a character played by Liam Neeson. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your opinion of his boring-ass character), Neeson’s role in the Star Wars saga was cut short when his character Qui-Gon Jinn was killed by Maul at the end of The Phantom Menace. Given Neeson’s illustrious cinema career, full of hard-to-kill turns in Taken movies and Rob Roy and etc., it’s notable that his death at the hands of Darth Maul is allegedly the only time one of his characters has been killed. But anybody with at least a little knowledge of Neeson’s career knows that’s hilariously wrong.
Even though Neeson’s characters have done plenty of killing themselves onscreen over the years (see, again, the Taken trilogy), here is a short list of films in which characters played by Liam Neeson die onscreen or off:
- The Mission
- A Prayer for the Dying
- Next of Kin
- Schindler’s List
- Michael Collins
- Gangs of New York
- Batman Begins
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Kingdom of Heaven
- Wrath of the Titans
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
- A Million Ways to Die in the West
- Run All Night
Add to that his characters’ presumed deaths in movies like Excalibur, Seraphim Falls, and The Grey, and we can successfully put this Star Wars meme to rest. Sorry, internet. You can go back to forgetting about Darth Maul now.