Qui-Gon Jinn (92 BBY – 32 BBY) was a revered Jedi Master, Padawan to Count Dooku, and mentor to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Regarded a maverick by his peers, Qui-Gon Jinn was a wise and faithful, but unorthodox, member of the Jedi Order. He was a believer in the living force and his many attempts to help lesser creatures annoyed his master Dooku to no end. He successfully trained several Jedi Knights in his time, until a failure with his Padawan, Xanatos, led him to obsess over the mistake. Due to this, he was reluctant to take Obi-Wan Kenobi to be his new apprentice. Dooku, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Anakin Skywalker formed a chain of Jedi Masters and Padawans through which passed a rebellious streak, making them a difficulty in the eyes of the Jedi Council. Indeed, his Padawan Obi-Wan suggested that the Council would have invited Qui-Gon to join them, if only he would have conformed to their views.
A philosophical warrior, Qui-Gon believed heavily in what he referred to as the "Living Force", a method of focusing on the moment rather than contemplating the Force in all its degrees. For this reason, Qui-Gon could be considered one of the more 'down-to-earth' Jedi of his time, due to his concentration on the matter at hand. It has been suggested that an ability such as this would have been instrumental in stopping Palpatine's rise to power; as the Jedi focused on the Separatist threat to the future of the Galactic Republic, they failed to examine the moment more closely.
Qui-Gon was also known for his often-overwhelming compassion for all life forms. This commiseration led to his saving Jar Jar Binks from his punishment at the hands of his fellow Gungans, and contributed greatly to his freeing of Anakin, to which Obi-Wan would exasperatedly comment, "Why do I get the feeling that we’ve picked up yet another pathetic lifeform?"
The venerable Jedi Master had craggy features and a penetrating gaze. Qui-Gon possessed knowledge of the architecture and engineering of various space transports and large capital vessels. He also possessed a subtle attention to detail, seen as he wore a moisture farmer's poncho to blend with the Mos Espa locals. He brandished his lightsaber with consummate grace (apparent in his Form IV mastery: see lightsaber combat), often having sparred with Master Mace Windu. The Jedi lightsaber master who taught Qui-Gon had considered him the best lightsaber duelist he had seen in over 400 years of teaching in the Jedi Order.
The blockade of Naboo
At the Battle of Naboo, Qui-Gon and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi fought a living weapon, the Sith Lord Darth Maul. The duo put up a great fight, but when Maul kicked Obi-Wan over an edge, Qui-Gon and Maul moved on, and passed into the laser shields. They closed between them, separating the combatants for a moment. Unfortunately, they also separated Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. When they disappeared, Qui-Gon immediately attacked Darth Maul, and Obi-Wan rushed to help his Master. But the shields again prevented him from succoring his mentor. Although Qui-Gon was one of the best lightsaber masters in the Order, Maul had the advantage of youth and the exhausted Qui-Gon was impaled in chest by the demonic warrior. Enraged, Obi-Wan attacked the Sith, cutting his double-bladed lightsaber in two pieces. In haste, Maul used the Force to knock Obi-Wan into a bottomless pit, but Kenobi hung onto a piece of iron. His lightsaber was lost. However, Obi-Wan was able to use the Force to jump out and wield his Master's lightsaber to cut Maul in half. He receives a hero's funeral, as his body is ceremonially burned in the manner of a Jedi before several mourners.
After falling at the hands of Darth Maul on Naboo, Qui-Gon continued to have a large impact on the future of the Jedi. Discovering a way to maintain his identity after becoming one with the Force, Qui-Gon attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Anakin's slaughter of the Sandpeople that had killed his mother. He was also known to have often communicated with Yoda through the Force, sometimes in a subtle way.
Yoda learned the technique, and passed it on to Obi-Wan Kenobi, giving him the ability to aid Luke Skywalker where it would otherwise have been impossible. Thus even in death, Qui-Gon's rebellious nature would serve the greater good.
Behind the scenes
Qui-Gon Jinn was portrayed by Liam Neeson in The Phantom Menace. Neeson was slated to appear in Attack of the Clones, but broke his leg prior to filming. In addition, scenes with Qui-Gon were cut from Revenge of the Sith, although he is still referred to in the dialogue.
There is some confusion as to how many apprentices Qui-Gon had during the course of his career. All sources agree that he trained Xanatos and then Obi-Wan Kenobi, but there is also the occasional reference to a Padawan before Xanatos.