Friday, January 25, 2013

Why I want a book about Jar Jar Binks (!!!)

Meesa gonna be presidente!
I might be the only Star Wars fan to admit this, but I would absolutely love a book or short story about Jar Jar Binks.

No, this isn't a joke. April 1st isn't here... yet.

In the Prequel Trilogy, Jar Jar had potential to serve as a unique commentary on the absurdity of politics. In interviews, the actor who played Binks, Ahmed Best, has claimed that the character was supposed to show how he started as a naive politician and ultimately became a victim of the system.* Think Mr. Smith goes to Washington... and is successfully manipulated by Senator Paine.
Unfortunately, when The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, many critics panned both Jar Jar and galactic politics. At times the critics were unfair. After all, the Senate scene in TPM was supposed to be boring - it was necessary to show that democratic institutions were not functioning correctly in order to explain why Padmé resorts to insurgency. The banality . Nonetheless, I can understand why Lucas cut back on Jar Jar's characterization in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

However, some of the criticism about Jar Jar's character was spot on and hindered his characterization. In the dinner scene at Anakin's house, Anakin is telling Qui-Gon, Padmé, and Jar Jar about his life as a slave. This could have been a powerful scene in which Jar Jar, in many ways the ultimate libertarian, expresses his outrage over slavery. We could have seen a real character moment in which Jar Jar goes from "just" being comedic relief to developing an interest in politics (and it would explain his decision to become Senator Padmé's assistant in Attack of the Clones). However, in the movie Jar Jar's only response is to obnoxiously start grabbing food with his tongue. Sadly, a missed opportunity.

I think that with a solid plot a Star Wars political thriller could succeed. James Luceno struck the right balance between political intrigue and action in his recent Darth Plagueis novel. I doubt he'd be interested in writing a full novel-length book about Jar Jar, but maybe he could interweave some plot points with Senator Binks in his next novel or write a short story.

In terms of plot, I think it would be quite interesting to see how Jar Jar copes with his role in authorizing the Military Creation Act and the Clone Wars. Does he dedicate his subsequent political life to remedying his mistakes? Does Jar Jar gain friends or allies in the Senate? Or does he just give up? I've always imagined that Jar Jar might have ended up creating an Underground Railroad for escaped Jedi refugees. It seems like a quiet way he can atone for his mistakes while not straying too far from his character.

Maybe one day, if I have the time (if!), I could write a short story myself.

* Or not. According to the hilarious Robot Chicken skit about Palpatine's demise, Jar Jar is the master manipulator and hidden Sith Lord.

[Photo from I'd love to see something like it as the cover of a future Star Wars novel!]


  1. I completely agree. I too (literally) would like to see a book about Jar Jar Binks - or to write one.

    1. Things I would include:
      The only thing that makes Jar Jar a bit ... well... different... from the other characters is his clumsiness. No-one has ever wondered how that came about... (Also isn't difference one of the main 'themes' of Star Wars? I mean, take Yoda for example - Luke jugded him by his size - until the Grand Jedi Master showed his capabilities with the Force.)
      The moment when Jar Jar crashed Boss Nass' heyblibber (apperently by trying to avoid an explosion he'd caused the same day - Source Wikipedia. So basically he was trying to SAVE his Boss, but crashed. I can see this happening knowing Jar Jar, he is an anxious kind of Gungan - if something bad happens he panicks (take end of TPM when Jar Jar had the droid piece on his foot))
      There's this line in TPM that everyone hates so much, when Jar Jar says to Padme 'Yousa tink yousa people gonna die?" They HATED it because it made him seem insensitive (rubbing it in) or maybe stupid (of COURSE she's thinking that...) but I think it shows that Jar Jar, far from just going along with these Jedi people who turn up and rescue him from banishment, actually wants to help and perhaphs is consoling Padme. He then has this moment where he wonders why it is that the Naboo don't like the Gungans. This schism seems very interesting but is pushed aside in TPM (NOOOO!!!) (Also in the Clone Wars in episode with Jar Jar and Padme I thought I could see a friendship there. This could have been the beginning.)
      I would definately include the deleted scene in Revenge of the Sith:
      Ahmed Best has said “In Revenge of the Sith, there was a scene that was cut where I’m walking down a long pathway with Ian McDiarmid(Palpatine) before he is turned into the Emperor....And Palpatine kind of thanks Jar Jar for putting him in power.' This scene should have been in there- but if I wrote a book about Jar Jar this part would definately be in there. This may be why Jar Jar looks more dejected at Padme's funeral - and they do a close-up - not just because Padme was his friend but because he knew some of Palpatine's plan but couldn't stop it, which is ultimately how Palpy was able to corrupt Anakiin and make him kill Padme.
      Not to mention, in an Attack of the Clones script I read once, Jar Jar made a long speech than he does in the final cut, suggesting that he wants Palpatine to be in power not simply because of blind manipulation, but because he believes that Palpatine could make the situation better. Of course he is still naive, but he had more feeling behind his words which (may) make people feel more sorry for him as they wonder what he could have been if not manipulated.
      As a Gungan enthuasiast and one of 20,000 Jar Jar likers I wwould really want to write such a story - maybe on