What started with good intentions truly did result in a tragic end. And no, we’re not talking about Obi-Wan Kenobi training young Anakin Skywalker. The Star Wars tragedy we reference now is that of Jar Jar Binks. More specifically, it’s the plight of the actor portraying the bumbling Gungan, Ahmed Best. Backlash to the character nearly drove the actor to suicide. That’s why it came as such a shock when he recently told fans he’d consider reprising the role.
Fans already know that Ahmed Best has already made a return to Star Wars. He’ll be hosting the Star Wars game show, Jedi Temple Challenge, for Disney+. In it he portrays Jedi Kelleran Beq (see photo above). With the current racial turmoil in the country, however, Best has been speaking out on Twitter about his experiences as a black man in Hollywood. When discussing a sci-fi series Best pitched (which studios summarily rejected), a fan asked Best if he’d ever return as Jar Jar Binks. His answer surprised most.
Ahmed Best would return as Jar Jar Binks.
Best answered positively, indicating he would return as Jar Jar under the right circumstances:
Despite the backlash he faced, Ahmed Best nevertheless rose above it. As with any wound though, it took time to heal from playing Jar Jar Binks the first time. If I had to guess, I’d say Best’s statement that he’d return for the right story is his subtle way of letting fans know that he’s put the past behind him. Jar Jar likely won’t return to Star Wars, I think we all know that. But for Best to leave the door open speaks volumes about his growth, healing, and strength of personal character.
But if it were to occur, what would Jar Jar’s story be? And would it be compelling enough to lure Ahmed Best back to Naboo? Don’t forget: the last time we see Jar Jar Binks in canon (chronologically, at least), he’d been reduced to a sad, street-performing clown. That occurs in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series. The Gungan exile turned Galactic Representative also had his own subplots throughout several seasons of The Clone Wars. What more of his story is there to tell?
Whatever happens, it’s safe to say that Ahmed Best deserves nothing less than our respect.