When you think of Jar Jar Binks, you wouldn’t think badass. Or bombad for that matter. And usually when he does do something heroic, like taking out AAT’s or Battle Droids, it’s due to his clumsiness.
Now Jar Jar’s has had bad rap since appearing in Episode I: The Phantom Menace back in 1999. Created to be the comic relief of the film, some fans and critics reacted, harshly. It’s fine not to like a Character from a film, heck I’m not a fan of Jar Jar Binks, but Star Wars is primarily for kids. The Character was created for that audience. And there are plenty of Characters like this in other films like Wreck-Gar (Transformers: The Movie), Scappy Doo (Scooby Doo), Sheriff Pepper (Live And Let Die & The Man With The Golden Gun), Donkey (Shrek 1 to 4) and even C-3PO from the Original Trilogy. Sometimes they can be good, sometimes they can by bad.
Whatever your opinion is though, it does not give you the right to harass and bully the actor portraying that Character. It’s a god damn film, Ahmed Best who portrayed Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars Prequels had to deal with bullying and harassment from fans (well there not “fans” are they, they’re just shitty human beings overreacting and enraging over a film) and insiders alike that lead to a suicidal moment. Since posting about his experience, it is great to say that Best has been met an outpour of support from fans.
Now in the story of the Prequels Jar Jar is more or less directly responsible for basically laying the groundwork for the Galactic Empire by calling a vote to grant emergency powers to Chancellor Palpatine in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Three years later at the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine has the Jedi nearly wiped out through Order 66 and has turned a democracy into a dictatorship, appointing himself as Emperor of a new Galactic Empire in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Years later in the Star Wars: Aftermath novels set after the Battle of Endor and the Empeor’s death, we catch up with Jar Jar who is now reduced to a clown living off the streets of Theed. With Binks revealing that he was now an outcast as many Gungans and Naboo believed he had helped the Empire.
So it’s refreshing to see Jar Jar being given some justice in the latest issue of Star Wars: Age of Republic in one of the three stories entitled “501st Plus One, written by Marc Guggenheim, featuring art from Caspar Wijngaard and Cris Peter.
At first, the story it paints is a pretty dire scenario during a battle between the Republic’s Clone forces and the Droid Armies of Separatists on the planet Mimban. When the Jedi General attached to protect the Senator Binks, Laan Tik, is killed in action, Captain Rex makes the tough decision to pull his men back and retreat. But not before Jar Jar can mourn the death of his Jedi Protector.
To help buy Jar Jar and his other men some time Rex stays behind to give them time to escape, knowing that he’ll die doing so. Striking it out on his own and attacking the Separatist shield to distract the hordes of Battle Droids, it looks all but hopeless for the Clone Captain when he becomes surrounded.
But before the Droids can open fire a familiar bright blue blade emerges from the darkness, hacking away at the droids that surrounded him. His savoir, Jar Jar Binks, armed with the weapon of a Jedi Knight.
It’s nice to see Jar Jar treated like a heroic figure instead of just a bumbling comic relief Character, showing bravery, care and respect. Taking Laan Tik’s lightsaber and wanting to return it to the Jedi Order out of respect.
After complimenting the Gungan’s bravery, Rex acknowledges that running off to his aid with the possibility of getting himself killed is not exactly a smart thing to do, but Jar Jar spurs Rex to remember some advice from Skywalker, “that good leaders lead from the front“, something that he’d cast aside in a moment of self-sacrifice for Rex.
It is kinda amusing after so many years of hearing the “Darth Jar Jar” theory and the “rumour” that was the original plan for Jar Jar, that we now have something near(ish) to that. He’s not a Sith or a Force User, but it’s Binks with a Lightsaber. And it was done in a bombad way.
This special of Star Wars: Age of Republic really gave Jar Jar a moment to shine. Good on you Marc Guggenheim, Caspar Wijngaard and Cris Peter for giving Jar Jar his bombad moment.
Written by: Connor Heggie