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Liam Neeson Says The Backlash Against Jar Jar Binks Unfairly Hurt The Career Of The Actor Who Played Him

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It’s long been fashionable to diss the Star Wars prequels, but it’s worth noting that each film at least opened to decent reviews and boffo box office before their reputations plummeted. But there’s one element that was never, ever popular: Jar Jar Binks, the Rastafarian-esque alien who was intended as comic relief and was instead greeted as a distracting annoyance. You won’t find too many Jar Jar defenders — that is, with the noted exception of another prequels star, Liam Neeson.

As caught by IndieWire, the Oscar-nominated actor recently appeared on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM radio show, and he spent some of his time defending The Phantom Menace, in which he played Jedi master and mentor Qui-Gon Jinn. He saved some of that energy for Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar in cinema’s very first all-motion-capture performance. The furor over the character — which was such that his role in the sequels was greatly reduced — drove Best to consider suicide. That was deeply unfair, Neeson said, and it may have even robbed us of a great and diverse career.

“I know a lot of fans and critics didn’t like it and my lovely friend Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks, came in for a lot, a lot of criticism. To the point where it really hurt his career,” Neeson told Cohen. “And I have to say when I was making that film, he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I have ever worked with. I remember calling my old ex-agent at ICM and said, ‘I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy.’ I still believe that.

“Truly, he is one of the funniest guys,” Neeson added. “He had all of us in stitches — including George Lucas. And then bam, the film comes out and he’s attacked, personally attacked by fans and critics for whatever reasons.”

Neeson added that he remains “very proud” of The Phantom Menace, adding, “I got to be a Jedi, got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff, it was terrific. It really was. I liked the movie. I’m proud of it. I’m proud to have been a part of it.”

Anyone who would like to give The Phantom Menace — and its two follow-ups, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith — can do so on their current home on Disney+. Surely they’re a better watch than the instantly disliked The Rise of Skywalker, which didn’t even enjoy the luxury of decent initial reviews.

(Via IndieWire)

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Game of Thrones bosses explain why they left out major character

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Despite a wealth of source material available for mining, the Game of Thrones series wasn’t afraid to deviate from George RR Martin’s novels. (For better or worse.)

Now, with the dust finally settled on Thrones‘ controversial final season, series bosses David Benioff and Dan Weiss have revealed why one popular character from the books never made it to the small screen.

We’re talking about Lady Stoneheart, the vengeful resurrected form of Catelyn Stark and leader of the Brotherhood without Banners.

HBO

Related: Game of Thrones: 8 of the biggest differences between HBO’s hit series and George RR Martin’s novels

Detailing their reasons for Lady Stoneheart’s omission, Benioff and Weiss argued that calls for the character to appear came off the back of “one great scene” in A Storm of Swords, rather than anything more substantial (via Entertainment Weekly).

“There was never really much debate about [including Lady Stoneheart],” Benioff explained, before outlining the three key reasons Thrones fans never got to see the return of Michelle Fairley.

The first was to avoid spoilers from Martin’s upcoming books, while the second was to avoid “diminishing the impact” of Jon Snow’s resurrection later in the series. “We wanted to keep our powder dry for that,” they added.

catelyn stark in game of thrones s03e09 'the rains of castamere'

HBO/Helen Sloan

And thirdly, because Catelyn had such a good death at the Red Wedding. “Catelyn’s last moment was so fantastic, and Michelle is such a great actress, to bring her back as a zombie who doesn’t speak felt like diminishing returns,” Benioff said.

Compelling reasoning or a few good excuses made with the benefit of hindsight? We’ll let you decide that one.

Game of Thrones seasons 1-8 are now available on DVD and Blu-ray.


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Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker set for Who Do You Think You Are?

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Doctor Who‘s Jodie Whittaker is set to uncover “uncomfortable truths” about her family in the new series of Who Do You Think You Are?

Jodie is among the celebrities unravelling their family history in the new four-part series, alongside Britain’s Got Talent‘s David Walliams, Silent Witness star Liz Carr and Gavin and Stacey‘s Ruth Jones.

In her episode, Jodie will learn about “the poignant reality” behind a family myth involving her great uncle’s sacrifice in World War One while also unearthing some “uncomfortable truths” about her great-great grandfather in Yorkshire.

BBC One/Wall To Wall

In a statement, Jodie said: “Who Do You Think You Are? took me on an incredible journey through some of my family history. I discovered people and events that I had no idea existed before this.

“I was lucky to go home and see my mum and dad, lucky to see places I’d never been to before, and lucky to meet and shake hands with some wonderful and intelligent people whose insight into history blew my mind.

“And only in February did I embark on this journey, and knowing where we are now, it feels even more special to have had this adventure.”

In his episode, David Walliams will learn about a great-great grandfather who, after becoming blind, forged a career as a travelling entertainer.

He also uncovers a tragic story surrounding his paternal great grandfather’s experiences following WWI.

who do you think you are   david walliams

BBC One/Wall To Wall

David said of the experience: “I’m delighted to have taken part in the series. I started off the journey knowing very little about my ancestry.

“In making the programme I found out lots of family history I would never would have learned of. I was pleased to discover that being an entertainer runs in the family.”

Meanwhile, Liz Carr will take a trip to County Armagh, Northern Ireland to expose an ancestor’s role in an attempted murder, and Ruth Jones will discover that her paternal grandfather was a key player in the Medical Aid Societies of South Wales, which provided a model for the National Health Service.

The new series of Who Do You Think You Are? launches on BBC One this October. Doctor Who airs on BBC One in the UK and BBC America in the US, and will return for a festive special.



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The Blacklist season 8 release date on Netflix, cast, trailer and more

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The Blacklist is one of the most popular non-Netflix original shows available to stream on Netflix. The Blacklist season 8 is officially happening at NBC, and now fans want to know when that season will be available to stream on Netflix.

The Blacklist season 7 was added to Netflix on Sept. 19. Now, the TV show is moving up the ranks of the Netflix Top 10 list.

Below, we shared everything we know about The Blacklist season 8 release date on Netflix, cast, trailer, synopsis and more.

The Blacklist season 8 release date on Netflix

As mentioned, The Blacklist season 7 was just added to Netflix recently. It was not on the list of September new releases, so we were surprised as anyone to see the new season available on the streaming service.

If you haven’t seen it, we recommend getting caught up soon. Unfortunately, there’s no rush to watch season 7 that quickly, though. The Blacklist season 8 is not coming to Netflix anytime soon.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Blacklist season 8 has not started production yet, according to Precinct TV, our sister site at FanSided.

It sounds like production will get started soon, according to star Megan Boone.

The Blacklist season 8 is scheduled to premiere on Nov. 13, 2020. If production starts soon, they might be able to hit that premiere date. If not, it could be delayed until after the start of the new year.

Assuming the season premieres in November and there are no major delays because of the pandemic, we can expect to see the season finish in May or June 2021.

Then, we’ll have to wait a few more months until the season hits Netflix. Based on when season 7 was added to Netflix, The Blacklist season 8 release date on Netflix should be sometime in September or October 2021. 

That’s the best prediction we can make right now.

The Blacklist season 8 cast

We’re expecting the full cast of season 7 to return for The Blacklist season 8. James Spader and Megan Boone will obviously be back for the eighth season.

Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Amir Arison, and Hisham Tawfiq will definitely be back for The Blacklist season 8, as well.

We’ll probably see some of the recurring cast of season 7 in the new season, as well, especially since the seventh season was cut short. We’re expecting Laila Robins will be back because that storyline wasn’t complete. We don’t know how long Robins will stick around in the new season, though.

According to a report from TV Guide, Laura Sohn, who plays Agent Alina Park, is also going to be part of the main cast for season 8.

The Blacklist season 8 trailer

As mentioned, production has not started on season 8 yet, which means that there is no trailer for The Blacklist season 8 yet either.

As soon as production starts, NBC should release a trailer or teaser for season 8. They’ll need to start promoting the season on Sunday Night Football and all other popular programming.

The Blacklist season 8 synopsis

We haven’t seen the synopsis for The Blacklist season 8 yet. NBC will likely be sharing that soon, like when they share the first episode title and information.

We do know a little bit more about this season than we would normally, considering it’s going to wrap up the season 7 storyline before diving into season 8.

Stay tuned for more news about The Blacklist season 8 release date on Netflix!

Next: 50 best crime shows on Netflix

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