Jar Jar Binks

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Jar Jar Binks
Star Wars character
Jjportrait.jpg
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)
Information
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. Upon the movie's release, he was met with an overwhelmingly negative reception from both critics and audiences.[2][3]

Conception[edit]

George Lucas was inspired to develop Jar Jar based on the Disney character of Goofy.[4] Singer Michael Jackson was originally considered for the role, but he wanted to portray the character using prosthetics while Lucas wanted him to be all CGI.[5] Ahmed Best, who would end up playing the character, would later hypothesize that Lucas might have felt uncomfortable with the thought of the singer's casting overshadowing the actual movie;[5] Best was chosen based on his work in the production of Stomp as Lucas wanted someone athletic for the role.[6] During his auditions he performed several Martial Arts moves and flips, which was a contrast to how Lucas pictured the character, which according to Best was more in line with comedic silent actors such as Buster Keaton.[6] Best would later remark that after Lucas walked out of the audition he felt he had failed it.[6]

In October 2015, a Reddit poster named "Lumpawaroo" put forth a theory suggesting that Jar Jar was a Sith Lord, and provided pieces of evidence that suggested the character to be using the Force; such as using Jedi mind tricks to accomplish his goals and performing feats of athleticism normally only seen by Force-users in the Star Wars universe.[7]

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

In an interview, director J.J. Abrams suggested that Jar Jar's death may be referenced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens,[9] but this did not happen.[10]

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 two-part episode "The Disappeared" in which they had to search for missing elders and rescue a princess, who was Jar Jar's past love interest.

Video games[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.[citation needed]

Jar Jar can also be found in the game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed frozen in carbonite on the wall in the Sith's lair.

Star Wars Detours[edit]

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

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. Binks became symbolic of what many reviewers such as Brent Staples (The New York Times),[11] David Edelstein (Slate),[12] and Eric Harrison (Los Angeles Times)[13] considered to be creative flaws of the film. The character was widely rejected and often ridiculed[14] 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."[15] 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.[16]

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).[14] 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."[17] 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.[18][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."[19] Patricia J. Williams suggested that many aspects of Jar Jar's character are highly reminiscent of the archetypes portrayed in blackface minstrelsy,[20] while others have suggested the character is a "laid-back clown character" representing a black Caribbean stereotype.[21][22] George Lucas has denied any racist implications.[23] Ahmed Best also rejected the allegations, saying that "Jar Jar has nothing to do with the Caribbean".[24]

Speculations of antagonism[edit]

In late October 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.[25] 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.[7][26][27][28] Ahmed Best, who portrayed Jar Jar Binks in motion capture, tweeted his thoughts on how it "feels good" when the truth comes out shortly after the theory gained widespread popularity.[29] Leading up to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December 2015, numerous sources have denied elements of the theory. Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm explicitly stated that Jar Jar Binks would not appear in the upcoming film.[30] Furthermore, Andy Serkis dispelled rumours that his character Snoke is an alias of Jar Jar, regarding the Snoke villain as "very much a newly-introduced character".[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to Jar Jar's profile, he will appear in The Clone Wars.
  2. ^ MARIKAR, SHEILA; HERON, LIZ. "The Top 10 Worst TV and Film Characters". ABC News. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ Kim, Wook. "10 Things We (Still) Kinda Hate About The Phantom Menace". Time. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Jar-Jar-Binks-Was-Inspired-By-Classic-Disney-Character-77507.html
  5. ^ a b Britton, Luke Morgan. "Michael Jackson wanted to play Jar Jar Binks in 'Star Wars'". NME. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Godfrey, Gavin. "The Actor Who Played Jar Jar Binks Is Not Sorry". Vice. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Matt Hickey (October 31, 2015). "Fans Rocked By Star Wars Character Theory That Changes Everything They Know". Forbes. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ Lucas, George. "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Script". IMSDb. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ Hooton, Christopher. "Jar Jar Binks is going to be killed off unceremoniously in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.". The Independent. Retrieved May 23, 2015. 
  10. ^ http://moviepilot.com/posts/3695001
  11. ^ Staples, Brent (June 20, 1999), "Shuffling Through Star Wars", The New York Times, pp. WK4 
  12. ^ Edelstein, David (May 19, 1999), "Dark Side Lite", Slate, archived from the original on March 6, 2000 
  13. ^ Harrison, Eric (June 21, 1999), "Even an Insider Found Jar Jar, Well, Jarring", Los Angeles Times, pp. F6 
  14. ^ a b O'Ehley, James, Jar Jar Binks Must Die!, retrieved August 9, 2008 
  15. ^ Handy, Bruce (June 2015), "The Daring Genesis of J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens", Vanity Fair, retrieved October 22, 2015 
  16. ^ Robot Chicken: Star Wars at the Internet Movie Database
  17. ^ "Star Wars: Lucas strikes back". BBC News. July 14, 1999. Retrieved February 7, 2007. 
  18. ^ Even Some At Lucasfilm Hated Jar Jar, IMDB Studio briefing, 1999-06-21, Retrieved on March 13, 2007.
  19. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (May 19, 1999), "Our Inner Child Meets Young Darth", The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition), pp. A20 
  20. ^ Patricia J. Williams: "Racial Ventriloquism". The Nation. June 17, 1999. Archived from the original on September 20, 2006. Retrieved June 11, 2006. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "Top 10 Racially Offensive Movie Characters". Retrieved October 9, 2005. 
  23. ^ Okwu, Michael (June 14, 1999). "Jar Jar jarring". CNN. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  24. ^ Okwu, Michael (June 24, 1999). "Jar Jar Binks: A Digital Star Is Born". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  25. ^ Lumpawarroo (October 30, 2015). "[Theory]". Reddit /r/StarWars. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  26. ^ Andrew P Street (November 6, 2015). "Is Jar Jar Binks the ultimate Star Wars bad guy? Yes, says the internet". The Guardian. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  27. ^ Alexandra Petri (November 4, 2015). "The biggest problem with the Jar Jar Theory". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  28. ^ Ross Douthat (November 9, 2015). "Darth Jar Jar and the Wisdom of Fans". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  29. ^ Ahmed Best (November 2, 2015). title=I will say this, it feels really good when the hidden meaning behind the work is seen. No matter how long it takes. #TPM https://twitter.com/ahmedbest/status/661221044712148993/ title=I will say this, it feels really good when the hidden meaning behind the work is seen. No matter how long it takes. #TPM Check |url= value (help). Retrieved December 26, 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ Michael Idato (December 7, 2015). "Star Wars The Force Awakens: Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks cut from new film". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 
  31. ^ Annie Leibowitz (November 12, 2015). "Supreme Leader Snoke: Andy Serkis on the 'damaged' villain of Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 

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