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Jar Jar Binks’ fate ruins the last good thing about the Gungan: the fun of hating him

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Oh, goddamnit

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace promotional still (Lucasfilm/Fox)

Jar Jar Binks never had a chance. After his debut in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, critics scorched him in reviews and fans turned him into a punchline. Even The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams joked about hiding his bones in the desert of Jakku. Everyone in the room had a good laugh.

Disliking Jar Jar is an easy cause to rally around, like the inverse of the internet’s love for bacon or cute animal videos. But Chuck Wendig’s new Star Wars novel, Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End, marks the end of that era. The book will be released next Tuesday, but Mashable has shared snippets from the novel in advance. The story fills in some of the chronological gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

According to Mashable, a child refugee has a run-in with Jar Jar, who now spends his time street performing for children while adults ignore his existence. Here’s Mashable directly:

"Jar Jar makin some uh-oh mistakens," the Gungan says, explaining why he isn't wanted anywhere either. "Desa hisen Naboo tink I help the uh-oh Empire." He stares into the distance, suggesting he knows more than he's saying.

Well, damnit.

The best thing about Jar Jar was that he was so irredeemably stupid. He wrecked every scene he was in simply by speaking. Every move he made was puerile, a clownish collection of gestures that undermined both the plot and the series it served.

But now Jar Jar has pathos. He’s a literal sad clown, ignored by every adult around him like a Star Wars version of the Black Mirror Christmas special. Kids will talk to him because they don’t know any better; presumably, they too will learn to hate him like they’ll learn to hate a great many things. It’s a far more bleak ending than if, say, Jar Jar had met the ridiculous fate of being jettisoned into one of Naboo’s suns.

Wendig has given Jar Jar a fate worse than death, effectively snuffing out the joy of Jar Jar bashing. Is it finally time to launch the Jar Jar fan club?


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