Jar Jar Binks actor: Gollum, Thanos, more don’t exist without meesa

Ahmed Best, the man behind Jar Jar Binks, says there wouldn’t be a Gollum, Thanos or Avatar’s Na’vi without that character.

Last Updated on May 20, 2024

Jar Jar

As The Phantom Menace marks 25 years since its release, we’re given the chance to reevaluate it. Is it as bad as it seemed back in 1999 or was there just too much anticipation that it couldn’t have possibly lived up to our fantasies? More importantly, what do we make of Jar Jar Binks a quarter-century on? A character mocked and loathed by the bulk of the fanbase for being terribly obnoxious and perhaps racist, Jar Jar Binks became a cultural phenomenon for all the wrong reasons. But he may have had a greater impact than we think…at least according to his portrayer.

Ahmed Best, the guy behind Jar Jar Binks, took a lot of flak for the character, saying the constant criticism “took almost a mortal toll on me. It was too much. It was the first time in my life where I couldn’t see the future. I didn’t see any hope. Here I was at 26 years old, living my dream, and my dream was over.” But today, he thinks that Jar Jar Binks was a groundbreaking character in the world of digital technology. “I’m in there. You can’t have Gollum without Jar Jar. You can’t have the Na’vi in ‘Avatar’ without Jar Jar. You can’t have Thanos or the Hulk without Jar Jar. I was the signal for the rest of this art form, and I’m proud of Jar Jar for that, and I’m proud to be a part of that. I’m in there!”

That’s an interesting point. While Jar Jar Binks was far from being the first fully computer-generated character – that’s believed to be the stained glass knight in 1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes – his more prominent presence showed just what CG could do. But maybe just for laughs we can get a Jar Jar / Thanos showdown? 

Jar Jar Binks has a bit of a cult following now, showing time might just have been all that lanky Gungan needed. There has been massive support in later years for The Phantom Menace star Jake Lloyd as well, who it was revealed suffered serious mental health problems due to the severe attacks in the press and from Star Wars fans he received at the time. That said, none of our modern perspectives can change the fact that The Phantom Menace as a whole has very few strong qualities…

What do you make of Ahmed Best’s thoughts on Jar Jar Binks’s significance? Does he have a good point or is he giving him too much credit?

Source: The New York Times

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.