George Lucas recently said Jar Jar Binks was his favorite Star Wars character. This isn’t an incredible trolling of Star Wars fans–it actually makes a lot of sense.
During the introduction to The Phantom Menace 20th anniversary panel at Celebration, George Lucas said that Jar Jar Binks is his all-time favorite Star Wars character. Interesting Choice.
It’s no secret how Jar Jar is viewed by many Star Wars fans. Jar Jar’s childish antics and attempts at comedic relief were torn apart by after TPM release, and the character has been punished by fans and critics in the 20 years since. Yet through it all, George has been steadfast in his love for the Gungan.
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Jar Jar Was Integral to the Plot
Jar Jar’s had the most screen time in TPM. A lot of screen time. But nothing he did in Episode I compares to his role in Attack of the Clones.
Despite his lines devolving in Episode II to a few scenes in the senate and again to a softly uttered “’scuse me” in Episode III, Jar Jar had helped shaped the galaxy when he voted to grant Palpatine emergency powers to create the clone army. That’s kind of a big deal because, you know, the whole Galactic Empire thing that spanned three films.
Jar Jar’s actions in Episode II would be felt through the rest of the saga. Sure this wasn’t exactly a win for the good guys, but then again, who said Jar Jar was always supposed to be a good guy.
Jar Jar had a Larger Unrealized Role
No he wasn’t a sith lord. But was there potential for him to be a collaborator with dark side? It’s not that crazy. The backlash following The Phantom Menace put an end to that potential.
Even Ahmed best had some interesting things to say about the abandoned future of the character back in 2016, including a very intriguing deleted scene featuring Palpatine and Jar Jar having a strangely dark heart-to-heart.
Whether he was a mastermind behind the dense plot or just another one of Palpatine’s easily manipulated puppets, Jar Jar must have been eyed for role beyond blatant comic relief. It seems highly unusual to grant a character such a prominent role in a the opening film of a trilogy, only to abandon the character all together by the third film.
Only George has the entire story on the Gungan klutz.
Jar Jar was the first CGI character in a live-action movie
George Lucas’s affinity for special effects dated back to A New Hope. He did not miss his opportunity to take full advantage of CGI in his new trilogy, which was highly criticized at the time.
Nevertheless, The Phantom Menace made history when it incorporated a fully CGI costar in a live-action film. Ahmed Best provided the voice and motion capture for Jar Jar, and technology provided the rest. Jar Jar paved the way for characters like Thanos, the Na’vi from Avatar, and Andy Serkis’s entire filmography to make their way to the live-action screen.
In a way, Jar Jar will likely always represent the advances LucasFilm made in production and special effects, therefore holding a special place in George’s heart.
I’m sure George Lucas has plenty of reasons for his love for Jar Jar. Do you think the Gungan deserves all of the hate? Let us know below.