The Troubled Journey of Jar Jar Binks
Before Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise and critics began to tear apart movies and TV shows, there was a distant galaxy where George Lucas created a rich backstory for his iconic villain, Darth Vader, and introduced a diverse cast of characters. In the first episode of the prequel trilogy, released in 1999, the Jedi knights Qui-Gon Jinn (played by Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) encounter the peculiar Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan from the underwater city of Otoh Gunga, who aids the heroes in their search for Queen Padmé Amidala. However, this character faced intense criticism from fans.
An Actor at His Lowest Point
The backlash against Jar Jar Binks was so severe that its actor, Ahmed Best, faced emotional turmoil and contemplated suicide. In a recent podcast called “The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks,” Best opens up about this excruciating experience. He reflects on the drastic shift in perception, from portraying an important character that pushed the boundaries of CGI in cinema to becoming an insignificant figure. Many fans saw Jar Jar Binks as a poorly executed “comic relief” that injected unnecessary humor into the saga. Websites like “JarJarBinksDoitMourir.com” emerged, and Best even received death threats after his phone number was leaked online.
Best describes this period as the lowest point in his life, where he lost all confidence as an artist. However, his role in The Mandalorian brought him a newfound sense of purpose. In the show’s third season, Best returned as Jedi Kelleran Beq, seeking redemption and reclaiming his place in the Star Wars universe. This opportunity has been transformative for Best, reinforcing that the criticism he faced was not his fault. The Mandalorian has rejuvenated his spirit and has opened doors for more significant roles in the future. Fans can anticipate his appearance in the upcoming fourth chapter of the show, expected to be released by the end of next year or the beginning of 2025.