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How the Actor Behind Jar Jar Binks Takes Pride in His ‘Star Wars’ Role

How the Actor Behind Jar Jar Binks Takes Pride in His ‘Star Wars’ Role

Ahmed Best, the actor who played the widely criticized character Jar Jar Binks in “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” has come to embrace his unique role in the iconic saga. 

Despite facing severe backlash when the film first released, Best now proudly reflects on his contributions to the “Star Wars” universe.

Let’s learn more about his interesting story.

How Ahmed Best Faces Intense Backlash After Taking the Jar Jar Binks Role

In the late 1990s, Best was chosen to portray Jar Jar Binks, the first character in a major film created using motion capture technology. 

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This groundbreaking technique involved recording Best’s movements to bring the bipedal, amphibian-like character to life. 

Although Jar Jar’s character was intended to be humorous and child-friendly, it quickly became the target of widespread criticism, with some viewers considering it a racial stereotype.

The backlash was so intense that it took a heavy toll on Best’s mental health. 

He recalls feeling hopeless and even considering suicide. 

“It was the first time in my life where I couldn’t see the future. I didn’t see any hope. Here I was at 26 years old, living my dream, and my dream was over.”

However, he received support from co-star Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi’s actor), who encouraged him to focus on the character’s intentions rather than the negative reactions.

Why Ahmed Best Pioneers CGI Character Technology in Film

Despite the initial criticism, Best’s portrayal of Jar Jar Binks paved the way for future CGI characters in film, being the first main CGI character ever created

His work was essential in developing the motion capture technology that later brought to life characters like Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” and the Na’vi in “Avatar.” 

Best’s innovative performance was a significant milestone in cinematic history.

Over the years, Best has continued to be involved with the “Star Wars” franchise. 

He voiced Jar Jar in various animated series and video games, showing his enduring connection to the character.

More recently, he appeared as the warrior teacher Kelleran Beq in the children’s show “Jedi Temple Challenge” and made a cameo in “The Mandalorian.”

Kelleran Beq Saves Grogu from Order 66 [4K HDR] - The Mandalorian

Ahmed Best Embraces Jar Jar’s Positive Impact

Today, Best takes immense pride in the positive impact his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks has had on a new generation of “Star Wars” fans. 

Younger viewers, as well as people who feel misunderstood or marginalized, often identify with Jar Jar’s pure heart and playful nature. 

This connection is especially strong among individuals with disabilities, who see in Jar Jar a character that, despite being different and sometimes ridiculed, remains kind and resilient.

Best has observed that Jar Jar Binks resonates deeply with those who have faced similar challenges in their own lives. 

This sense of identification and sympathy has given Jar Jar a lasting, positive legacy within the “Star Wars” community. 

What once was a source of intense criticism has transformed into a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance.

Embracing this newfound appreciation, Best participates in fan conventions and events, where he meets fans who share their personal stories about how Jar Jar has inspired them. 

He takes pride in knowing that his character has brought joy and comfort to many, validating his performance and contribution to the franchise.

Ahmed Best’s journey with Jar Jar Binks highlights how perceptions can change over time and how an actor’s dedication can influence the future of film technology and character portrayal. 

To learn more about Ahmed Best’s reflections and experiences, you can read the full NYTimes article here.

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