Star Wars Celebration: Jar Jar actor feels the love 20 years later


Jar Jar Binks actor got a resounding ovation and outpouring of support at his first Star Wars Celebration in 20 years.

Twenty years ago, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace made its way on to the screen becoming the introduction for a new generation of fans for a franchise so many already held dear.

Despite the hype and the fun of Star Wars, the movie was hit with harsh criticisms – some deserved – and some of the actors were ridiculed and harassed. Two decades later, we still fight the same issues, but at least there is hope things will get better.

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Ahmed Best, the man who played Jar Jar Binks in the prequels, returned to his first Star Wars Celebration in 20 years. He was a popular autograph guest and came out to resounding ovation at The Phantom Menace 20th anniversary panel.

He deserved it.

Best was cruelly mocked over the years, but things have changed. While there are still fans who dislike Jar Jar Binks, remember there is that generation of Star Wars fans who got their first taste of the franchise with Episode I.

Those kids who sat in the theaters hungrily soaking up their love of the space opera are now adults. They’re enjoying and loving everything Star Wars related – especially things that happened in the prequels.

I had a chance to speak with Best briefly about coming back. He was nervous, but excited. He sees the love fans have for him and his character, even if it was difficult to see through the negativity before.

By the end of the show, he felt the love that so many fans gave him.

This is exactly what Star Wars fandom should be about. We’ve written endlessly about being OK with disliking characters, but it’s not OK to harass the actors that play them. Yet, 20 years later we see the same happening with Kelly Marie Tran.

Tran got a great ovation when she came out on the Star Wars: Episode IX panel at Celebration. I hope she felt loved because the vocal minority doesn’t represent an entire fan base.

I also hope it doesn’t take 20 years for Tran to feel the love.

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What is your favorite Star Wars character that hasn’t gotten enough love?