‘Star Wars’ Behind-the-Scenes Photo Has Fans Begging for an Ahmed Best Return – But Maybe Not as Jar Jar Binks
If you mention Jar Jar Binks to any Star Wars fan, the likely result is confusion over the franchise’s most infamous character. In 1998, Ahmed Best was a young unknown actor looking forward to his shot at the new Star Wars trilogy. Unfortunately for him, he got more than he bargained for. Fans hated Binks and took it out on Best. Now, they want to give the actor another chance.
‘Star Wars’: Ahmed Best’s bumpy ride
The prequel trilogy was the first time that fans got big-screen content in nearly two decades. George Lucas teased the series for years, and as the original only got bigger, so did the buzz around it. The Phantom Menace coincided with the early days of internet fanaticism, and as a result, the expectations were through the roof.
Unfortunately, IndieWire notes how many swaths of fans didn’t just dislike it. They hated it. While fans can say a lot about the dated special effects and the dramatic shift in tone from the originals, some of the outrage bled into the worst parts of fandom. Best, along with child actor Jake Lloyd, got the brunt of the abuse, as fans disliked their takes on Jar Jar and Anakin, respectfully.
Jar Jar Binks was supposed to be a new comedic foil in the galaxy far away. In the behind-the-scenes footage on the future home releases, fans can watch as Lucas glowingly waxes poetic about his latest creation. Jar Jar was a classic dumb character who always hurt when trying to help and always helped when he was making mistakes.
Fans hated it. Some went as far as to compare Binks to the classic racist caricatures of the early twentieth century. This took a toll on Best, a Black man, and haunted him for years after. Now, fans want to give him his due.
‘Star Wars’ Fans want another chance
Even-keeled fans will note that Best has always said he didn’t see the racist caricature at the time and played the role as it was written. Others, however, failed to separate the actor who was putting in his work from the character they hate with such vociferous fury. A recent picture of Best posed alongside John Boyega sparked a conversation about the verbal abuse that many Black actors received from the Reddit fan community.
“I’m not saying I want, like, a full-on epic return of Jar Jar, but I’d love to see Ahmed Best make his way back into Star Wars in a significant way,” wrote u/sector11374265.
However, while many fans agreed with the sentiment, others wanted to see Best shine under a character who does not have much preconceived hatred. However, as u/Maelis notes in their comment, perhaps Best would be better served to get a brand-new character that lets him shine on camera.
“They could definitely have him play an entirely different character if they really wanted to. It might be cool to actually have his face on the screen instead of hidden behind a CG character,” they wrote.
In some ways, Best has gotten his wish. He recently returned to the Star Wars franchise in a different capacity. While doing so, he opened up about the abuse he’s received since Episode 1.
Ahmed Best speaks out
Best spoke with Wired in 2017 about the lasting impact of his first stint on him. According to Best, it once got so bad that he contemplated suicide. After all, other actors grew from Episode I on, while fans always blamed him for Jar Jar’s failures.
“There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of pain, there was a lot of shit I had to deal with,” Best told Wired. “Everybody else went on. Everybody else worked. Everybody else was accepted by the zeitgeist.”
Now, Best is ready to make his next big move, but he also doesn’t want to be defined by Star Wars. Still, if Disney ever wanted to do right by Best away from his new game show, a return in a role that let him show off his acting and martial arts skills could be the perfect way to do so. Until then, hopefully, the fans can learn from past mistakes and remember the humanity behind these movies.
Jedi Temple Challenge can be seen on Disney Plus, while Best continues working in various podcasts, films, and public speaking engagements as he tries to put the ugly past behind him. Hopefully, he gets the chance to shine on his own.