Jar Jar Binks

Template:SW Character

Jar Jar Binks (born c. 50 BBY) is a fictional character in the Star Wars movies The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. His primary role was to be comic relief - based on his gangly way of walking and his unique speech accent. Jar Jar's voice was portrayed by Ahmed Best. He is almost completely computer-generated. Although he was played on set by a costumed Best, Best was usually edited out and replaced by the animated character, except in some close-up shots where his face is not visible.

This was the first time that such a highly detailed photo-realistic CGI character had interacted with live actors in a motion picture. Director George Lucas and his effects team were quick to hail this as a major technical breakthrough, but the controversy surrounding the character has completely overshadowed his importance to the development of movie special effects.

Jar Jar Binks is a six-foot-five-inch (1.96-metre) tall Gungan, with long ears and eyes mounted on stalks, and overall looks something vaguely like an anthropomorphized platypus crossed with an amphibian or perhaps a hadrosaurus.

Character story

Banished from his childhood home, Jar Jar lives in the swamps of Naboo. In the events of The Phantom Menace, Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrive on Naboo, ending up in the swamps rather than the capital as intended. Qui-gon inadvertently saves Jar Jar's life, so in a Gungan Life-Debt, Jar Jar feels obligated to stay by Qui-Gon's side until he dies. Throughout the mid-part of the movie, Jar Jar spends his time behaving in the manner of slapstick comedy. He took part in the climactic battle at the end of the movie, and also played a key role in it after becoming General. Because of his clumsiness, Jar Jar sends a cascading wave of Energy Balls into a group of robot soldiers which, luckily, decreases the Federation army's numbers drastically.

In Attack of the Clones, Jar Jar (who has much less screen time) becomes a politician who deputizes for Padmé Amidala in the Galactic Senate. He is influenced to propose a bill giving Supreme Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers to raise a clone army, presumably beginning the slide towards dictatorship and the replacement of the Galactic Republic with the Galactic Empire.


After the Phantom Menace was released, the character was widely ridiculed and disliked, especially by hardcore fans of the series. It is commonly speculated by detractors that Jar Jar represents a cynical turn in George Lucas' epic, pandering to the commercial incentive by the inclusion of what amounts to little more than a highly marketable gimmick. The appearance of Jar Jar, before, during, and after the release of the film, on a rash of merchandise products, and ubiquitous marketing tie-ins and cross promotions did little to allay the fear that Lucas had "sold out." (Similar charges were levelled at the appearance of the teddy-bear like Ewoks in 1983's Return of the Jedi.)

Some of the more serious charges against the character of Jar Jar (and consequently against Lucas, his creator) suggest that Jar Jar is a modern incarnation of racist stereotypes used as comic relief in many motion pictures of the first half of the 20th century. His dialect is widely thought to sound stereotypically Jamaican, while his bodily expressions and tendency to get into trouble remind many of Stepin Fetchit and other similar (black) characters. It is likely, however, that Lucas had in mind a different racial stereotype. The character Gunga Din, in the 1939 movie of the same name, was an Indian "water boy" for the British army who comically tried to imitate the British soldiers but in the end saved the day by blowing a horn to summon assistance in the middle of an attack. The fact that Jar Jar is called a Gungan, and that he blows a horn to start a battle where his people help save the day, both suggest that he is intended as an homage to Gunga Din.

Jar Jar is not the only character in The Phantom Menace whose accent has drawn controversy. Notably, detractors claim, the greedy Trade Federation spoke with Asian accents, and Watto (who lives in a desert climate) spoke with a Middle Eastern accent. These allegations are controversial and not universally agreed upon. George Lucas in particular denies such allegations.

Jar Jar is given a significantly more utilitarian role in Attack of the Clones. Having acquired some esteem from those around him, he is suddenly cast into a pivotal role by filling in for Padmé Amidala on the senate and moving an army into action, which then sets up the entire plot for the Clone Wars. We see, in this action, Jar Jar's innocence betrays him as he inadvertently causes the undoing of the Galactic Republic. In this light, the character takes on new significance. Many believe that George Lucas may have written this shift in character importance in response to the criticism he received originally.

In Revenge of the Sith, Jar Jar is only seen three times and has no speaking parts in all but one scene (at the beginning of the film, after Anakin and Obi-Wan land with the Palpatine, and as the senators file behind him, Jar Jar gets in the way of Senator Orn Free Taa and says a brief "Excuse me").

In the special Edition DVD of Return of the Jedi, in an added scene at the end of the movie showing a celebration on Naboo, one can clearly hear Jar Jar's voice shouting "WEESA FREEEEEEE!!!". George Lucas' purpose for doing this is currently unknown, as it adds nothing to the story other than the sound of Jar Jar's voice (though some speculate that it was done just to irk Jar Jar haters).

The character was inspired by Lucas' youngest daughter.

External links


fr:Jar Jar Binks


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