For the most part, Star Wars fans hate Jar Jar Binks. Ever since Ahmed Best’s accident-prone Gungan sprung onto the scene in maligned prequel The Phantom Menace viewers have raged over his irritating mannerisms, cutesy demeanor and lowbrow sense of humour, with the character eventually proving so unpopular that he was mostly written out of prequel sequels Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
However, some new details have emerged to make us all feel slightly guilty about our sustained Jar Jar hate, with new Star Wars tie-in novel Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End revealing exactly what happened to him following the film series – and it’s not pretty.
Apparently, following his last onscreen appearance in Revenge of the Sith Jar Jar was shunned and ostracised by his own people, with his role in expanding the war powers of Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmuid) correctly seen as paving the way for the Empire (see video below)
Presumably thrown out of politics (he was, slightly improbably, a senator last time we saw him) Jar Jar is now reduced to performing as a clown for children on his home planet, while adults continue to shun him.
Mashable the novel encounters Jar Jar in a short interlude on Naboo, when a refugee boy named Mapo finds him clowning around in a fountain twice a day to the delight of younger citizens.
"Meesa Jar Jar," the Gungan clown identifies himself, before attempting to cheer up the displaced Mapo by making faces and explaining his own estrangement from others.
"Jar Jar makin some uh-oh mistakens," he explains to the boy. "Desa hisen Naboo tink I help the uh-oh Empire." Jar Jar then stares poignantly into the middle distance, which is not a sentence I expected to be writing today.
Of course, this appearance is mostly a bit of a meta joke referencing the fan hate for Jar Jar, giving the character what many would see as his just desserts while also riffing on the real-life reactions to him (as with real Star Wars audiences, the children love him while adults hate and shun him).
His appearance is probably also a response to the recent resurgence of interest in Jar Jar, with various theories and fan-made trailers emerging over the last couple of years that imagine darker versions of the character for humourous effect.
But frankly, Jar Jar’s situation is a bit depressing, and might even make fans feel slightly bad for their gleeful hatred over the years. Weesa all make mistakes, after all, and it’s sort of sad to see a fundamentally good-natured character put through hell for doing what he incorrectly thought would help everyone.
(Unless of course, the “Jar Jar is a Sith Lord” theory is true, and this whole thing is just Darth Binks playing a very long game to cast the galaxy into darkness. Classic Dark Jar Jar move.)
Anyway, one way or another we at least know that he survived until after episode VI, so there’s a chance we could see Jar Jar again in other novels (or even onscreen) in happier times.
Ooh mooey mooey, Jar Jar – we can only hope things work out for you.
Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End will be released on Tuesday 21 st February