What’s it like to play one of the most hated characters of all time? Just ask Ahmed Best, who played Gungan Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels. Envisioned as kind of a prequel Chewbacca, everyone working on Phantom Menace thought Jar Jar was going to be a huge hit! Flash forward to the actual premiere for Phantom Menace, where he was panned for literally everything about the role, from his speech, to actions, to that tongue. It’s safe to say that no one has fond memories of Jar Jar.
Now, in a new interview for Jamie Stangroom’s “These Are The Actors You’re Looking For,” Best opens up about the Jar Jar legacy, and how we’re never going to see him in another Star Wars movie ever again.
Jar Jar was his “most hated” role
Best, who was in Stomp before being cast in Star Wars, describes the movie as his “first most hated title in anything.” Not many actors can say they have a “most hated” part.
The inspiration for the Jar Jar voice came from his young cousins
He explains that he would read lots of story books, and would do different voices for the characters. Jar Jar was born out of that, and director George Lucas loved it. Jar Jar was his generic “little kid” voice.
Jar Jar was for the children
Best believes that the adult audiences turned away from Jar Jar because the audience saw him as a “condescending” character, even though Best saw him as the comic relief.
The backlash was “painful”
For a while, Best was totally turned off of Star Wars, understandably.
He took the role because it was something that had never been done before
Back in 1999, motion captured characters weren’t a thing like they are today — this was even pre-Gollum Lord of the Rings. Best took the role of Jar Jar because it seemed like a good “challenge.” He was really excited to be one of the first motion-capture characters, and everyone was so involved in that development, no one stopped to think, “What happens if no one likes Jar Jar?”
The merchandise was cool, though
Jar Jar is never, ever coming back
The Star Wars chapter is over and closed for Jar Jar. Even Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams agrees, and wanted to include a Jar Jar skeleton in the sands of Jakku.
You can check out the full interview here.
(Image via Lucasfilm)