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Why Does Everyone Hate Jar Jar Binks? | Screen Rant

The Star Wars universe has introduced a number of characters in its movies, TV shows, books, and more, from humans to aliens and more, but there’s one who has earned the spot of most hated character: Jar Jar Binks, and here’s how that happened. The Star Wars universe began in 1977 with the movie now known as Star Wars: A New Hope, which introduced viewers to a galaxy far, far away and the heroes and villains that would lead this one-of-a-kind universe. This movie, along with the sequels Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, form what’s now collectively known as the original trilogy, but this universe didn’t stop there.

In the late 1990s/early 2000s, the Star Wars universe expanded with a prequel trilogy that explored the backstory of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, and following the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, a sequel trilogy was released, bringing the Skywalker saga to an end. However, these new trilogies didn’t have the impact the studio was expecting, and they drew a lot of criticism for different reasons, and the prequels are responsible for introducing one of the most hated and controversial characters in Star Wars history: Jar Jar Binks, who made his debut in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Related: Star Wars: What Happened To Jar Jar Binks After The Prequel Movies

Jar Jar Binks is a bumbling, clumsy Gungan from Naboo who came across Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and that was enough to have him present in the rest of the prequels, though his appearance in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was reduced due to how badly the character was received by the audience. For a character who only appeared in two Star Wars movies (as he just briefly appeared in Revenge of the Sith and had no dialogue), Jar Jar Binks received a lot of hate, but why does everyone – even non-Star Wars fans – hate Jar Jar Binks?

As mentioned above, Jar Jar Binks first appeared in The Phantom Menace, where he was banished by his tribe as punishment for his extreme clumsiness. During a mission to negotiate with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were attacked and so escaped to Naboo, where Jar Jar was almost killed by a Trade Federation transport. Qui-Gon saved him, so Jar Jar led them to his underwater city, and that was the beginning of his travels with the Jedi. Although in the story Jar Jar Binks was a minor character, he featured prominently throughout The Phantom Menace, all due to some behind-the-scenes decisions.

Jar Jar Binks was brought into the Star Wars universe to serve as comic relief and to draw the attention of a younger audience, in an effort to give them a character they could connect with. George Lucas was inspired by Goofy and the comedic style of Buster Keaton when building the character, but Jar Jar Binks lacked the charm and humor that made those characters and actors so successful. Jar Jar Binks failed to connect with kids and the Star Wars audience in general, and many critics and viewers found him to be a racist caricature, pointing out similarities between his look and accent and the style and dialects spoken in the West Indies. Others felt he was reminiscent of the archetypes in blackface minstrel, these due to his exaggerated manners and clownish behavior. Needless to say, Jar Jar Binks wasn’t what Lucas wanted him to be in the Star Wars universe.

As a result, Jar Jar Binks became one of the most hated Star Wars characters, but the perception of fans changed in 2015 when a theory emerged on the internet, and it had Jar Jar Binks at the front and center. Posted on Reddit, the author of the theory explained in detail how Jar Jar Binks was actually “a highly skilled force user in terms of martial ability and mind control”, and instead of being manipulated by Palpatine, he was working with him from the beginning. The author points out different moments in the prequels where Jar Jar showed unusual physical coordination and moves that resemble those of a martial art called Zui Quan or Drunken Fist wushu. Jar Jar also gestures with his hands when he’s trying to persuade others, and this can be seen when he’s promoted to Bombad General and later Senator, hinting at the character being a Force user. Jar Jar, then, could have been collaborating with Palpatine and helping him achieve his plans of domination and control, encouraging young Anakin to question the Jedi methods and even helping Palpatine acquire emergency powers.

Related: The Clone Wars Fixes Jar Jar Binks' Star Wars Prequel Portrayal

The theory went viral, and the character even got the nickname “Darth Jar Jar”, with many fans backing up the theory. The theory became even more popular when Ahmed Best, the actor behind Jar Jar Binks, confirmed on Twitter that many aspects of it are true, and Jar Jar could have evolved into an antagonist, but all the backlash it got put an end to that potential. The ”Darth Jar Jar” theory helped change the opinion of many Star Wars fans, who thought this idea gave an actual purpose to an otherwise annoying character and became more tolerant towards the infamous Gungan.

The Star Wars fandom has been criticized for years and labeled as toxic, elitist, and even “mob-like”. Star Wars fans decided they hate Jar Jar Binks mostly because they weren’t the target audience of the character (though it also has to be said that the character had many, many flaws that blocked him from connecting with children) and because his presence messed with the tone of the movies. However, many people jumped on the “I hate Jar Jar Binks” bandwagon simply because Star Wars fans decided they hate him, so the fandom heavily influenced the opinion of outsiders. While it’s understandable that many people don’t like Jar Jar Binks, it can’t be denied that there was also peer pressure to hate the character, which, sadly, added to the “toxic” aspect of the Star Wars fandom.

What many people forgot during the peak of the Jar Jar Binks hate was that there was a real person behind the character, and all that hate had a heavy impact on Best’s professional and personal life. Best is not the first and only actor to have received a lot of hate for his performance in a Star Wars movie, as Hayden Christensen also went through that, yet fans have now reached a point in which they have forgiven Christensen and are now excited to see him back in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series. With that in mind, it’s time to reconsider Best and Jar Jar Binks, though the former has already achieved fans’ forgiveness and is now a fan favorite. For the character of Jar Jar Binks, it might take a bit longer but it’s not impossible for fans to leave their hate aside at some point. Jar Jar Binks is a failed attempt at a comic relief character aimed at children and should be taken as an example to avoid the mistakes made through him, and Jar Jar's time in the prequels was so brief, fans shouldn’t spend more time hating on him – and, of course, there’s the “Darth Jar Jar theory”, which fans can keep in mind when revisiting the prequels.

With time, Jar Jar Binks will overcome all that hate from the Star Wars fandom, and while he won’t be a fan-favorite character, fans will at least be able to enjoy the prequels without spending time and energy hating on the clumsy Gungan. The Jar Jar Binks hate is understandable to an extent, but it doesn’t justify the damage done to Ahmed Best – luckily, fans are now a lot more understanding with him and support him in his career, while Jar Jar Binks has been left aside and far away from other Star Wars projects.

Next: Why Star Wars Fans Have Forgiven Hayden Christensen

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