Star Wars Celebration concluded on Monday with a 20th anniversary panel for Episode I: The Phantom Menace. While it was nice to recognize the anniversary, The Phantom Menace remains to this day mired in criticism. Chief among those criticisms was the inclusion of what some perceived to be a racially-stereotyped, comic relief character. Twenty years later, George Lucas doubled down on his decision to include Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace.
While George Lucas did not appear at Celebration himself, the program did feature a pre-recorded message from the Star Wars creator. In the IndieWire video, Lucas confirmed his choice for his favorite Star Wars character:
Thank you for coming to Celebration. [The Phantom Menace] is one of my favorite movies and of course Jar Jar is my favorite character.”
George Lucas Declares Jar Jar his Favorite Character
Jar Jar Binks is without question one of the most controversial characters in the entire franchise. (Although, The Last Jedi detractors have elevated the character of Rose Tico to nearly equal Jar Jar on that list.) George Lucas based Jar Jar on Disney’s Goofy. However, the CGI character never connected with, and instead irritated, fans of the original Star Wars trilogy. The cartoonish buffoon resulted in some of the fiercest backlash the franchise had ever seen… to that point. (Again, when it comes to Star Wars controversy, it’s as if, after looking at The Phantom Menace, The Last Jedi said “hold my beer.”)
As much as some may not like Jar Jar Binks, George Lucas has never backed down from his support of the character. The director’s stubbornness is well known. Despite the advice of those around him, Lucas would often make questionable decisions with the prequel trilogy of films. Jar Jar was definitely one of them. You can see the divisiveness Lucas created on The Phantom Menace set in a behind-the-scenes documentary.
It’s not surprising that George Lucas continues to support Jar Jar Binks. I suppose it isn’t easy to admit you made a huge mistake with one of the most beloved film franchises in history.