Force Material Episode XXXIX: The Tragedy of Jar Jar Binks
He's the most hated character in the Star Wars universe - and the backlash almost killed the actor who played him. This week, we revisit and reevaluate Jar Jar Binks.
Long before toxic fans turned their attention towards Rian Johnson and Kelly Marie Tran, actor Ahmed Best was fandom's whipping boy - but there's more to this talented performer than you know.
We begin this week's Jar Jar-centric episode by discussing Best's revelation that the backlash against Jar Jar Binks led him to consider suicide (00:05:29); our earliest memories of The Phantom Menace (00:07:00); and how the toxicity in today's fandom compares to the response to The Phantom Menace (00:11:58).
We break down the early designs for Jar Jar and the animal sidekick he almost had (00:18:21); the inspiration for his name (00:23:47); and Ahmed Best's career before he landed the role of Jar Jar Binks (00:25:52).
We discuss the high-profile competition Best had to beat to land the part (00:30:48), the critical response to Jar Jar (00:32:12), and the overexposure of the character (00:33:37).
We look at how Best has responded to claims that Jar Jar is a racist caricature (00:37:38); the fate of the character after The Phantom Menace (00:52:35); the insults hurled Jar Jar's way by Lucasfilm itself (00:57:52); and Ahmed Best's life after Jar Jar (01:05:43).
Finally, we consider Jar Jar Binks as an omen for our times (01:07:15); whether or not Jar Jar gets the respect he deserves as a motion capture pioneer (01:10:37); the role of humour in Star Wars (01:15:14); the ever-popular Darth Jar Jar theory (01:21:27); what we love about Jar Jar (01:24:40); what we want to see from Ahmed Best's one-man show (01:30:37); and whether or not Jar Jar Binks really ruined anybody's childhood (01:33:57).
Stay tuned for our SDCC recap episode dropping soon!
Force Material is a podcast exploring the secrets and source material of Star Wars with hosts Rohan Williams and Baz McAlister. Listen and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Stitcher, PlayerFM and Castro; stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and support the show by browsing our range of shirts, hoodies, kids apparel, mugs and more at TeePublic.