‘Star Wars’: Jar Jar Binks Actor Ahmed Best Believes Disney Era ‘Isn’t Very Much for the Kids’; Is He Right?
Star Wars fans are a fickle bunch. For as much as they purport to love the saga, there seems to be just as much hate out there. Most recently, the sequel trilogy — and the Disney-owned run in general — has divided the fan base in dramatic ways. But before that, the prequels incurred fans’ wrath just as viciously.
George Lucas himself wrote and directed the Star Wars prequels. Yet, fans still spread such vitriol over two key characters. Both Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen were incessantly mocked for their work as Anakin. The former particularly was traumatized by the response. But Ahmed Best — who played Jar Jar Binks in the films — may have faced the worst of it.
Ahmed Best has a contentious relationship with ‘Star Wars’
Jar Jar literally bumps into the main story of Star Wars in The Phantom Menace. And while younger fans consider him a highlight, older ones who grew up with the original trilogy derided his appearance as too childish for Star Wars. Plus, there’s also the continuing criticism that Jar Jar comes off as a racist stereotype, an allegation that weighed heavily on Best.
The actor even contemplated suicide at one point. Moreover, he has vehemently rejected the notion he would return to the Star Wars saga in the future. Yet, now he’s poised to do just that but not as Jar Jar Binks. Rather, Best will host a game show set in the movie universe. Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge debuts on Disney+ in late 2020.
But as far as Best knows, he won’t be returning as Jar Jar anytime soon.
“I just don’t know,” Best said in an interview with YouTuber Jamie Stangroom. “To be completely honest, I think Jar Jar is something Lucasfilm are trying to move away from. I’m not going to hold my breath for a Jar Jar cameo in Obi-Wan but, you know, who knows?”
Jar Jar could conceivably pop up on the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series. Yet, as Best said, it doesn’t seem likely. In fact, he believes the Disney era of Star Wars has deviated significantly from what Lucas originally intended.
The actor thinks Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ has forgotten the saga’s roots
Ironically, most fans who took issue with Jar Jar’s bumbling antics did so because they believed he made Star Wars skew too much towards children. Yet, according to Best, that’s exactly how Lucas approached the saga.
“George was always about the kids, and he used to say that if you get the kids, you have fans for the next 20 years,” Best told Stangroom. “He was very much about kids. This idea that the movies are for adults is a very new thing, to be honest.”
Nowadays especially, fans seem to get up in arms whenever the Star Wars saga appeals blatantly to children. In fact, the more serious tone of the sequel trilogy and other Disney-era releases like Rogue One feel incongruous to Best.
“There isn’t very much for the kids anymore in Star Wars,” he said. “It’s very much for the millennials and gen-Xers like myself. So kids are kind of left out of these, and the kids have to go to the animated series in order to get their dose of Star Wars.”
Is Ahmed Best right about Disney’s handling of George Lucas’ legacy?
In many respects, Best has an excellent point. The Disney Star Wars films are much more focused on pleasing die-hard fans who revere the original trilogy. The Force Awakens especially is so concerned with honoring Lucas’ work that it is, in some ways, a remake of A New Hope.
Likewise, the bits of fan-service director J.J. Abrams stuffs into The Rise of Skywalker are all intended to kowtow to moviegoers in their 30s and 40s. With the exception of BB-8, the main focus in the recent films isn’t concerned with providing entertainment specifically for children.
Then again, a Star Wars film doesn’t need slapstick and potty humor to appeal to children. Jar Jar arguably leans too much in the other direction. But Best is right about the fact that Lucasfilm should take a larger view of the Star Wars fan base and consider all ages more thoroughly. Perhaps with the Skywalker saga over, the series can adjust its approach going forward.