Liam Neeson will reprise his Star Wars character Qui-Gon Jinn in animated spinoff 'The Clone Wars'.

The Irish actor was cast as the Jedi Knight in movie 'Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace' and will return to voice the character's ghost in three episodes of animated series 'The Clone Wars'.

The 58-year-old star is glad to be associated with the defining sci-fi series once again, saying: "Growing up, my heroes were cowboys; they were strong and mysterious, and it seemed like they always rode off into the sunset.

"For kids today, 'Star Wars' has that same kind of magic. I really wanted to be a part of that."

In 'The Phantom Menace' Qui-Gon Jinn is mentor to another of the series' central characters, Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom he accompanies in a mission to defeat Darth Maul, in which he is killed.

Maul is subsequently slain by Obi-Wan, who is then given the task of mentoring Anakin Skywalker, another central character in the series - better known in later episodes as Darth Vader.

The 'Clone Wars' episodes will begin airing January 28 in the US.