With the superhero genre entering its third decade as a box office staple and second as a dominant cultural force, we are seeing esteemed actors of all stripes joining in on the fun. We are also seeing other actors that played costumed crime fighters or villains in the past coming back for new roles, like Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer. Just don’t expect to see Liam Neeson hop back into the tights for another superhero movie.
The Oscar-nominated actor previously starred in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, the beginning and end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy that changed perceptions of what comic book films could be. Yet, Liam Neeson has “no desire” for more superhero movies. When asked about if that’s a world he’d like to return to, he said:
I’ll be honest with you, no. It’s not. I’m really not a huge fan of the genre. I think it’s Hollywood with all the bells and whistles and the technical achievements and stuff — which I admire — but I have no desire to go into the gym for three hours every day to pump myself up to squeeze into a Velcro suit with a cape.
Liam Neeson, who is now starring in the romantic drama Ordinary Love, has no desire to hop back into the world of superheroes. As he told ET, the prospect simply doesn’t interest him. He doesn’t go so far as Martin Scorsese to say that comic book movies are theme parks and not cinema, but Liam Neeson isn’t really a fan of the genre.
While Liam Neeson can appreciate all the bigness of superhero films and all the technological wizardry that goes into making them, they’re simply not his cup of tea so he doesn’t feel compelled to dive back into that world. Beyond just not being a huge fan of the genre, Liam Neeson also knows that playing a superhero character would require him to go through some prolonged, intense and perhaps unpleasant physical preparation, and he simply doesn’t want to do that.
It’s a completely understandable take from Liam Neeson. You shouldn’t have to do things that don’t interest you and even Hugh Jackman could only undergo the physically intense roles for so long. Plus, Liam Neeson has done it before. The actor seemingly has little desire to return to something like Star Wars either, as he continued:
I admire the actors and I know some of the actors who do it — and do it fantastically. It’s just not my genre, it really isn’t. The first Star Wars, I was in that, that was 22 years ago, and I enjoyed that, because it was novel and that was new. I was acting to tennis balls, which were ultimately going to be little fuzzy furry creatures and stuff. That was interesting, acting-wise, to try and make that seem real, but that was the last. It’s quite exhausting.
Despite the fact that genre material like superheroes and Star Wars are not particularly what interests Liam Neeson, he starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace because it represented something entirely new. As he recalled, the greenscreen used in that film and the acting opposite tennis balls stand-ins for CGI characters was new to him and he actually enjoyed that unique and challenging acting experience.
But it was also incredibly tiring, as are superhero films. So for Liam Neeson, he’s come to the end of his time doing things like superhero movies and Star Wars. He’s scratched that itch and now wants to do things he really likes and who could blame him.
Liam Neeson did return to Star Wars to lend his voice as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and although he may not be interested, I think many of us would love to see him appear as a Force Ghost opposite Ewan McGregor in the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series.
It’s funny that we think of Liam Neeson as someone who should be in these blockbusters nowadays, considering that he was once known more for his dramatic work before Star Wars, Batman Begins and Taken changed things. Liam Neeson still does play in his own Liam Neeson beats people up genre, but I suppose those films, where he has a stunt double and doesn’t need a six-pack, are a bit less tiring than superhero fare.