How Star Wars Fixed a Hated Prequels Character Many Fans Called a ‘Mistake’

A lot of people have gone back to watch the Star Wars prequels to look at them with fresh eyes after 20 years. Some of those watching again have noted how prescient they were to our current political situation. However, some still carp over whether the prequels were really necessary, to begin with, including some of the characters.

Of course, Jar Jar Binks nearly ruined the prequels from the start. This criticism went on for years until Lucasfilm managed to salvage the character through one of their animated shows.

How this happened is worth looking back on as fans note the 20th anniversary of the prequels over the next few years. Also worth looking at is an evolution occurring in real life: The career of Jar Jar’s voice: Ahmed Best.

Some thought George Lucas made Jar Jar Binks annoying for a reason

Jar Jar Binks
Is Jar Jar Binks the least liked character in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise? | StarWars.com

Nobody can say George Lucas is a perfect writer, even though he created the greatest sci-fi movie franchise ever made. It’s the details that matter, though, and his decision to include Jar Jar Binks for comedic relief in The Phantom Menace and the ensuing prequels is still considered a head-scratcher.

In hindsight, some thought Lucas made Jar Jar an annoying, comedic character to provide levity from the bigger story. There were even rumors for a while Jar Jar was secretly evil and would turn up in The Rise of Skywalker as a villain.

Such a thing didn’t happen, which was probably a relief to some. From the beginning, Jar Jar really belonged in animated form since he was literally a cartoon character. Having him in the prequels was almost like having a classic Looney Tunes character bouncing around in a Star Wars movie for no rhyme or reason.

Let’s also not forget Jar Jar’s Caribbean-like accent that more than a few cited as a racist blind spot. At least the voice of Jar Jar managed to almost have the same trajectory as the character he played.

Redeeming Jar Jar in more than one way

When the animated series The Clone Wars began in 2008 on The Cartoon Network, it was a few years removed from the cinematic prequels. Nevertheless, it became an immediate hit.

As Screen Rant notes, Jar Jar turned up there as an animated character where he finally found a proper home. His use in the show turned the character around as a more respectable and entertaining part of Star Wars canon.

Now the argument was Jar Jar just didn’t belong in the prequels because the story was too serious to have such a rambunctious character during critical scenes. There is a good argument there, even if it gives the notion George Lucas didn’t mind putting some comedy in the Star Wars story.

After all, the dialogue between Luke, Leia, and Han is still very funny to listen to in the original trilogy. For whatever reason, there seems to be a notion Star Wars can’t be funny, something Lucas probably didn’t want to stick by.

The career trajectory of Ahmed Best was also redeemed

No doubt many have read the story of Best and how the criticism of Jar Jar Binks in the prequels almost led him to suicide. It’s an example of Star Wars fans arguably taking things too seriously, all the way to ruining careers in the process if they don’t like something.

Thankfully, the talented Best managed to reclaim his career, including voicing Jar Jar in The Clone Wars for seven episodes. Having him go back to the role almost derailing his career is true redemption, including for Jar Jar himself. There may even be more Jar Jar to come in the future Disney+ Obi-Wan series.

At least the character can stand alone as himself rather than being outed as a baddie. Not that such a scenario wouldn’t have been bad, if maybe wrestled around in the creative dreams of George Lucas.