Wayne described the use of 3D holography to present Neeson’s character as a “technological leap forward”, and a new double album has been released to tie in with the tour.
Previous versions of the show, which first toured in 2006 and has since been seen by over half a million people, featured projections of Richard Burton, who voiced The Journalist on Wayne’s original 1978 concept album.
Neeson, who has starred in films including Schindler’s List, Star Wars and Love Actually, said he was “flattered” to be inheriting the role from Burton.
Jeff Wayne added: “After long consideration I concluded that for future productions, some of HG Wells’ storylines and characters should be re-explored … Perhaps the greatest opportunity was revisiting the main character of George Herbert, The Journalist who threads the story together ... I believe audiences and listeners alike will find Liam's interpretation now less compelling.”
Neeson, who declared himself a fan of the original album, will appear in three ways during the show: as an 11-foot high hologram; within CGI sequences on a 100-foot ‘animation wall’; and as a ‘full body interacting holographically with the show’s live performers’. He won't be singing though - "I only do that in the bath", he said.Jason Donovan, Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson and Wicked's Kerry Ellis have also been confirmed to appear.
The War of the Worlds – The New Generation plays at the Manchester Arena on 8 December.