The desire to utter the iconic line “may the Force be with you” in a Star Wars movie is a coveted wish for many actors. Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson both harbored this aspiration, but Neeson had the privilege of saying it first in The Phantom Menace, creating a minor issue for Jackson.
Upon joining the Star Wars universe, Jackson was enthusiastic about having Mace Windu be the first character to deliver the iconic phrase. As The Phantom Menace is the first in chronological order, there was a chance for Windu to claim the honor of introducing this famous line. Naturally, Jackson was eager to beat the rest of the cast to this significant moment.
In an interview with Star Wars Insider in 1999, Jackson expressed his excitement upon seeing the script pages, thinking he’d get to deliver the line first. However, his anticipation turned into disappointment when he realized that Liam Neeson’s character, Qui-Gon Jinn, had said it before Mace Windu in the film.
Despite Mace Windu eventually saying the line, Qui-Gon Jinn precedes him, becoming the first character to say “may the Force be with you” in The Phantom Menace. Such competitiveness among the Jedi characters added a humorous twist to the situation.
However, the origins of the phrase are somewhat fragile. With new movies expanding the Star Wars timeline, prequels to the prequels are inevitable, potentially introducing characters who could say the iconic line centuries before Qui-Gon or Windu.
Regarding the first actor to say the phrase on screen, that honor belongs to Alex McCrindle, who portrayed General Dodonna in the original 1977 Star Wars movie, addressing the Rebel forces during a briefing before their Death Star attack.
While Obi-Wan Kenobi, portrayed by Alec Guinness, does say a similar line earlier in the movie, we don’t attribute the iconic phrase specifically to him. Given Guinness’s noted disdain for the Star Wars universe, he likely wouldn’t have minded letting McCrindle, Jackson, or Neeson take the accolade.
For ardent Star Wars fans, there’s a lot more to explore in the galaxy far, far away. Andor Season 2’s release date and other updates about the franchise are on the way. You can also check out what’s new on Disney Plus for more Star Wars content.