If you were worried about the Star Wars prequels’ most hated character returning for the new movies, then set your fears to rest – because Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best says he’s done with the sci-fi franchise.
“I think I’ve done my damage,” Best said in an interview for webseries These Are The Actors You’re Looking For (below). “I’m good with where I stand in the Star Wars universe.
“I don’t need to go back. If asked I’d say no.”
Best provided the voice and physical basis for the accident-prone CGI alien in Star Wars’ first prequel the Phantom Menace and its subsequent sequels (as well as spin-off media in the years since), but says the Star Wars crew were totally unprepared for the backlash that would greet the character’s debut in 1998.
“Star Wars was my first ‘most hated’ title in anything really,” he told webseries host Jamie Stangroom.
“It was painful. One of the biggest reasons I took it was because of the challenge of it – there was no Andy Serkis and Gollum, Navi from Avatar, Martians, John Carter.
“I was to be the template for this, so I was kinda working with George to pioneer this new character form of acting and storytelling. On set we were all just so focused on the challenge of it and having so much fun that the post-Star Wars stuff was a surprise.
“Even though you play characters, you put a lot of your own personality into it, you get emotionally and personally invested in the work that you do, it’s your work and you take pride in it. So when your work is criticised negatively, you feel a hit.”
And apparently all the outlandish merchandise based on the character didn’t help…
“The worst one was a lollipop dispenser, that was ridiculous,” Best recalled (see above). “I saw that thing and ran. That was bad, the head of marketing actually called me to apologise for that one.”
Still, when it comes down to it Best says he can see why fans didn’t take to the character – and there’s no hard feelings.
“I can totally understand why, because when [fans] saw a character that’s purely comical and purely for the children, they probably felt condescended to,” Best said.
Best bringing Jar Jar to life on set
“I can understand that they wanted a more serious story, but by the same token the children really like it. And George’s idea was to make a film that lasted for 30 years, not one, so the children who saw Phantom Menace are now adults and they’re kind of wondering why everyone had a problem with Jar Jar.”
In other words the future may vindicate himsa yet. Okeydey?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in cinemas now