Jar Jar Binks

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Jar Jar Binks
Star Wars character
Portrayed by Ahmed Best (voice, motion capture, some body close-ups, the films, video games, and episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
BJ Hughes (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 2008 series)
Fictional profile
Species Gungan
Gender Male
Position General in the Gungan Grand Army, Representative of the Gungan race, Senator of Chommell Sector (substituting for Padmé Amidala)
Homeworld Naboo
Affiliation Gungan Grand Army, Galactic Republic, Galactic Senate, Delegation of 2000, Galactic Empire, Imperial Senate, New Republic

Jar Jar Binks is a fictional character from the Star Wars saga created by George Lucas. A major character in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, he also appears in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.[1] The first lead computer generated character of the franchise, he was portrayed by Ahmed Best in most of his appearances.

Jar Jar's primary role in Episode I was to provide comic relief for the audience, and was generally met with extremely negative comments from both critics and viewers. He is often acknowledged as one of the worst and most hated characters of the film industry and the Star Wars franchise.[2][3][4]

Appearances[edit]

Films[edit]

Jar Jar Binks first appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as a bumbling, foolish Gungan from the planet Naboo. Banished by his tribe through Boss Rugor Nass for his clumsiness, he is nearly killed by a Federation transport, only to be saved at the last minute by Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Qui-Gon and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), persuade Jar Jar's tribe to release him to their custody as a guide. He later goes with the Jedi and Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) to the planet Tatooine, where he meets and befriends Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd).

Jar Jar later appears in the film's climactic battle scene, where he leads his fellow Gungans, as a general in the Gungan army, in defeating the Trade Federation. After the battle he appears at the funeral of Qui-Gon Jinn and in the ending parade with his fellow Gungans.

Jar Jar's role in Attack of the Clones is much smaller, but his actions are significant. Ten years after helping to save his planet, he is a delegate to the Galactic Senate and as such, plays a role in bringing his old friends, Obi-Wan and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) back to Coruscant, where he greets them with enthusiasm. Later, on the behalf of the Naboo, he gives a speech to the assembled Senate in favor of granting Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) vast emergency powers. These are granted, giving Palpatine the necessary power he needs to subsequently overthrow the senate and bring the galaxy into the dictatorial control of the Sith's Galactic Empire.

Jar Jar appears in only a few scenes in Revenge of the Sith, and has no dialogue (besides a brief "'scuse me" at one point). He was originally given some dialogue in the beginning, but this was cut.[5] He is most prominently featured in Padmé Amidala's funeral procession at the end of the film.

Clone Wars[edit]

Jar Jar Binks is a supporting character in the animated series The Clone Wars, once again voiced by Best, although BJ Hughes voiced the character in a handful of season one episodes. In this series, he is a Senate representative who sometimes accompanies the main characters—Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and Padmé—on their adventures. He and master Mace Windu are the two main characters of the episodes "The Disappeared" part 1 and 2. In which they had to search for missing elders and rescue a princess, who was Jar Jar's past love.

Reception[edit]

Even before the release of The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar Binks became the subject of a great deal of media and popular attention, though not in the way his creators intended. Binks became symbolic of what many reviewers such as Brent Staples (The New York Times),[6] David Edelstein (Slate),[7] and Eric Harrison (Los Angeles Times)[8][9] considered to be creative flaws of the film. The character was widely rejected and often ridiculed[2] by people who felt that Jar Jar was included in the film solely to appeal to children. One fan, Mike J. Nichols, created and distributed, free of charge, a modified version of the film, entitled The Phantom Edit, which cut out several scenes featuring what Nichols dubbed 'Jar Jar antics.' The character was also lampooned on an episode of the television show South Park entitled "Jakovasaurs", in The Fairly OddParents (Episode: "Abra-Catastrophe!"), The Simpsons (Episode: "Co-Dependent's Day"), as well as the parody Star Wars episodes of Robot Chicken, in which Best reprised the role in voice-over form.[10]

Along with film critics, many have also accused the film's creators of excessive commercialization directed at young children (a criticism first leveled with the introduction of Ewoks in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi).[2] Star Wars creator George Lucas stated that he feels there is a section of the fanbase who get upset with aspects of Star Wars because "[t]he movies are for children but they don't want to admit that... There is a small group of fans that do not like comic sidekicks. They want the films to be tough like The Terminator, and they get very upset and opinionated about anything that has anything to do with being childlike."[11] Rob Coleman, who was the lead on the Industrial Light & Magic animation team, warned Lucas that the team thought Jar Jar's character came across poorly. Lucas told him that he specifically put Jar Jar in the film to appeal to small children twelve or under.[12]

Allegations of racial caricature[edit]

Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal described the character as a "Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit on platform hoofs, crossed annoyingly with Butterfly McQueen."[13] Patricia J. Williams suggested that many aspects of Jar Jar's character are highly reminiscent of the archetypes portrayed in blackface minstrelsy,[14] while others have suggested the character is a "laid-back clown character" representing a black Caribbean stereotype.[15] George Lucas has denied any racist implications.[16] Ahmed Best also rejected the allegations, saying that "Jar Jar has nothing to do with the Caribbean".[17]

Video game appearance[edit]

Jar Jar appears as a LEGO mini-figure in the Lego Star Wars video games. He also appears as an Angry Bird with a hook move in Angry Birds Star Wars II.

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to Jar Jar's profile, he will appear in The Clone Wars.
  2. ^ a b c O'Ehley, James, Jar Jar Binks Must Die!, retrieved 2008-08-09 
  3. ^ MARIKAR, SHEILA; HERON, LIZ. "The Top 10 Worst TV and Film Characters". ABC News. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Kim, Wook. "10 Things We (Still) Kinda Hate About The Phantom Menace". Time. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Lucas, George. "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Script". IMSDb. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ Staples, Brent (June 20, 1999), "Shuffling Through Star Wars", The New York Times: WK4 
  7. ^ Edelstein, David (May 19, 1999), "Dark Side Lite", Slate, archived from the original on March 6, 2000 
  8. ^ Harrison, Eric (June 21, 1999), "Even an Insider Found Jar Jar, Well, Jarring", Los Angeles Times: F6 
  9. ^ Harrison, Eric (May 26, 1999), "A Galaxy Far, Far Off Racial Mark?", Los Angeles Times: F1 
  10. ^ Robot Chicken: Star Wars at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ "Star Wars: Lucas strikes back". BBC News. 14 July 1999. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  12. ^ Even Some At Lucasfilm Hated Jar Jar, IMDB Studio briefing, 1999-06-21, Retrieved on 2007-03-13.
  13. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (May 19, 1999), "Our Inner Child Meets Young Darth", The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition): A20 
  14. ^ Patricia J. Williams: "Racial Ventriloquism". The Nation. June 17, 1999. Archived from the original on September 20, 2006. Retrieved June 11, 2006. 
  15. ^ Ford, Paul J. (2001), "A further analysis of the ethics of representation in virtual reality: Multi-user environments", Ethics and Information Technology (Kluwer Academic Publishers) 3 (2): 113–121, doi:10.1023/A:1011846009390. 
  16. ^ Okwu, Michael (June 14, 1999). "Jar Jar jarring". CNN. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Okwu, Michael (June 24, 1999). "Jar Jar Binks: A Digital Star Is Born". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]