Star Wars: Ahmed Best Reacts to Jar Jar Binks’ Canon Ending Amid Darth Jar Jar Return

Actor Ahmed Best wants a better canon ending for The Phantom Menace's Jar Jar Binks. For now, there's Darth Jar Jar in the next LEGO Star Wars animated special.

Darth Jar Jar in LEGO Star Wars
Photo: Lucasfilm

“Bring the clown. We want to see the clown. We like it how he juggles glombo shells, or spits fish up in the air and catches them, or how he dances around and falls on his butt.” So demand the orphan children on the planet Naboo, according to an interlude in the post-Return of the Jedi novel Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig.

And the clown acquiesces, happy to find any form of acceptance. “The adults, though,” continues the narrator, “they don’t say much about him. Or to him. And no other Gungans come to see him, either. Nobody even says his name.”

The name, if you haven’t guessed, is Jar Jar Binks. For some Star Wars fans, Empire End presents a fitting end for Jar Jar. After all, he was once one of the most hated characters in pop culture history. But there’s one person who still sticks up for Jar Jar, despite all of the suffering the character has caused for him.

“I would love just for there to be some really good closure, just to know what happened to Jar Jar. And then I don’t think it needs to be tragic” Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best told People, expressing that he’d love to see a more positive end for his original Star Wars character. In fact, Best refers to Jar Jar’s condition in Aftermath: Empire’s End, saying, “I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s Jar Jar’s fate.” Instead, Best insists that Jar Jar “was spectacularly clumsy and failed upwards. He just was just wonderful character that always found a way to succeed.”

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For now, while it won’t be the canon ending for the character, Best is returning to Jar Jar in the upcoming LEGO Star Wars: Rebuild the Galaxy animated special (Sept. 13), specifically the “Darth Jar Jar” version of the Gungan inspired by a popular fan theory about his involvement in the Sith plot against the Jedi. Check out Lego Darth Jar Jar in the trailer below:

As Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace celebrates its 25th anniversary, many involved in the production have paused to take stock of the movie’s unlikely history. After the unprecedented excitement that greeted The Phantom Menace in 1999, the first new Star Wars movie in 16 years, the movie opened to angry rejection from critics and older fans, only to be reclaimed today by the film’s intended audience, the children of the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Best describes that period during the pre-release excitement as being in a bubble, which popped almost immediately. “So when you come out of that bubble, you’re like, ‘Oh man, everybody’s going to enjoy what we just did, because if you feel the way we felt while we were creating, it’s going to be amazing.'”

Of course, nothing could live up to the level of expectation that had accrued during the production of The Phantom Menace. “But there were already kind of preconceived ideas about it, and there is already bubbling under, this online hatred. It was already being talked about even before the movie dropped.”

However, Best also acknowledges a certain amount of risk involved with his take on the Gungan. He shared with People the trepidation he felt before debuting the character’s voice during a table read. “I was just like, ‘Everybody sounds so good. Am I going to do this voice or not?’ And then I see the character name coming up and I was like, ‘F— it.’ And I just do it,” he explained. “And everybody in the room goes crazy for it. So I was like, ‘OK, all right. I got that one out. I’m supposed to be here now.'”

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Despite the positive reaction in the room, critics and audiences zeroed in on Jar Jar as the worst part of a disappointing movie. As a result, Best became a target for hate online, something that took a toll on his mental health. Both his career and his spirits suffered because of the fallout, something that took years to overcome.

But like Hayden Christensen and the prequel trilogy in general, Best has been welcomed back by Star Wars fans in recent years. In addition to reprising his role as Jar Jar for various products, Best has also appeared in live-action as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, first in the game show Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge and later in an episode of The Mandalorian.

Best still has high hopes for his most famous character, but even if it never goes that way for Jar Jar, at least Best found a way to succeed in the end.