Jar Jar Binks

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For the essay collection, see Jar Jar Binks Must Die.
Jar Jar Binks
Star Wars character
First appearance The Phantom Menace (1999)
Last appearance Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Created by George Lucas
Portrayed by Ahmed Best (motion capture, some body close-ups, Episodes I-III)
Voiced by Ahmed Best (Episodes I-III, video games, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and most other appearances)
B.J. Hughes (three episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Phil LaMarr (Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace)
Trevor Devall (Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles and Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales)
Species Gungan
Gender Male
Occupation General in the Gungan Grand Army, Representative of the Gungan race, Senator of Chommell Sector (substituting for Padmé Amidala)
Affiliation Gungan Grand Army, Galactic Republic, Galactic Senate, Delegation of 2000, Galactic Empire, Imperial Senate, New Republic
Homeworld Naboo

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 has a smaller role in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and a one-line cameo in 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 he was generally met with an extremely negative reception from both critics and viewers. Jar Jar is a divisive figure among Star Wars fans, with some appreciating what Lucas was trying to achieve, and others dismissing it as misguided.[2][3][4]

In 2015 George Lucas revealed that Disney's Goofy was the inspiration of Jar Jar Binks. [5]



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 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 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.[6] He is most prominently featured in Padmé Amidala's funeral procession at the end of the film.

In a recent interview, director J.J. Abrams suggested that Jar Jar's death may be referenced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[7]


Star Wars: The Clone Wars[edit]

Jar Jar Binks is a supporting character in the animated series Star Wars: 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.

Star Wars Detours[edit]

Ahmed Best will portray Jar Jar Binks in the upcoming show Star Wars Detours.


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),[8] David Edelstein (Slate),[9] and Eric Harrison (Los Angeles Times)[10] 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. Bruce Handy of Vanity Fair wrote that "Jar Jar has come to symbolize what many fans see as the faults of the prequel trilogy: characters no one much cares about; a sense of humor geared toward the youngest conceivable audience members; an over-reliance on computer graphics; and story lines devoted to the kinds of convoluted political machinations which wouldn’t have been out of place in adaptations of I, Claudius or The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, but which fit less snugly in films with characters like Jar Jar Binks."[11] 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.[12]

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 the Ewoks in 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 "the 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."[13] 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.[14][citation not found]

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."[15] Patricia J. Williams suggested that many aspects of Jar Jar's character are highly reminiscent of the archetypes portrayed in blackface minstrelsy,[16] while others have suggested the character is a "laid-back clown character" representing a black Caribbean stereotype.[17][18] George Lucas has denied any racist implications.[19] Ahmed Best also rejected the allegations, saying that "Jar Jar has nothing to do with the Caribbean".[20]

Speculations of antagonism[edit]

In late October of 2015, a Reddit user by the name of "Lumpawarroo" published a theory that Jar Jar Binks was originally written as a major antagonist of the series, and a prominent collaborator with Palpatine, before being redacted from the villain's role due to the character's initial negative reception.[21] The post became one of the top ten all-time submissions to the site and garnered its own subreddit.[22][23] The theory contends that Jar Jar Binks was a trained Force user, knowing Sith collaborator, and will play a central role in The Force Awakens. It cites Jar Jar's apparent abilities as a Sith-like warrior, including Zui quan (drunken fist) and mind control techniques, to claim that his destructive clumsiness was an intentional facade rather than comical (making him comparable to The Mule in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series), and that Count Dooku was a late addition to the franchise, replacing Jar Jar as a main antagonist. The theory further speculates that Jar Jar may be featured as Supreme Leader Snoke, leader of the First Order, in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The post quickly became viral and received significant media coverage internationally by independent bloggers and major news outlets like The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The New York Times that included analysis of his actions in The Phantom Menace.[24][25][26][27] An old episode of Adult Swim's Robot Chicken[28] where Jar Jar Binks reveals himself as evil recirculated after theorists cited that this idea had been presented years prior. On November 2nd, the actor who played Jar Jar Binks, Ahmed Best, posted on Twitter, "I will say this, it feels really good when the hidden meaning behind the work is seen. No matter how long it takes. #TPM", further igniting speculation.[29] Best would further add another tweet later that day, "Now, do you get it?"

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.


  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. ^ http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Jar-Jar-Binks-Was-Inspired-By-Classic-Disney-Character-77507.html
  6. ^ Lucas, George. "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Script". IMSDb. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ Hooton, Christopher. "Jar Jar Binks is going to be killed off unceremoniously in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.". The Independent. Retrieved May 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ Staples, Brent (June 20, 1999), "Shuffling Through Star Wars", The New York Times: WK4 
  9. ^ Edelstein, David (May 19, 1999), "Dark Side Lite", Slate, archived from the original on March 6, 2000 
  10. ^ Harrison, Eric (June 21, 1999), "Even an Insider Found Jar Jar, Well, Jarring", Los Angeles Times: F6 
  11. ^ Handy, Bruce (June 2015), "The Daring Genesis of J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens", Vanity Fair, retrieved October 22, 2015 
  12. ^ Robot Chicken: Star Wars at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ "Star Wars: Lucas strikes back". BBC News. 14 July 1999. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  14. ^ Even Some At Lucasfilm Hated Jar Jar, IMDB Studio briefing, 1999-06-21, Retrieved on 2007-03-13.
  15. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (May 19, 1999), "Our Inner Child Meets Young Darth", The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition): A20 
  16. ^ Patricia J. Williams: "Racial Ventriloquism". The Nation. June 17, 1999. Archived from the original on September 20, 2006. Retrieved June 11, 2006. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Top 10 Racially Offensive Movie Characters". Retrieved 2005-10-09. 
  19. ^ Okwu, Michael (June 14, 1999). "Jar Jar jarring". CNN. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  20. ^ Okwu, Michael (June 24, 1999). "Jar Jar Binks: A Digital Star Is Born". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Lumpawarroo (October 30, 2015). "[Theory]". Reddit /r/StarWars. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  22. ^ "Top Scoring Links: All-Time". Reddit. November 16, 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "Darth Jar Jar". Reddit. November 11, 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  24. ^ Andrew P Street (November 6, 2015). "Is Jar Jar Binks the ultimate Star Wars bad guy? Yes, says the internet". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  25. ^ Alexandra Petri (November 4, 2015). "The biggest problem with the Jar Jar Theory". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  26. ^ Matt Hickey (October 31, 2015). "Fans Rocked By Star Wars Character Theory That Changes Everything They Know". Forbes. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  27. ^ Ross Douthat (November 9, 2015). "Darth Jar Jar and the Wisdom of Fans". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  28. ^ Robot Chicken on Adult Swim (January 10, 2012). "Palpatine's Last Moments". YouTube. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  29. ^ Ahmed Best (November 2, 2015). "Ahmed Best on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 

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