June 15, 2024

Michael Jackson Wanted to Play Jar Jar Binks

In an interview with Vice, actor Ahmed Best, who infamously played Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, confirmed that  Michael Jackson originally wanted to play the role:

“That’s what George told me. Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids—we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as “Jar Jar” and I was like, That’s kind of weird. Michael was like, “Oh. OK.” I thought, What is going on? After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I’m having a drink with George and I said, “Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?” He said, “Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like ‘Thriller.'” George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”

Look, Jar Jar was a terrible character. We can all agree on that. He was clearly created to appeal to the kids, and counter balance the lame plot about trade embargoes. Best’s portrayal of him was in no doubt completely out of his hands (that would have been the Over Lord Lucas’s doing), but it’s definitely feasible that the character would have come off a bit better had Jackson played him. You know damn well MJ wouldn’t have been doing much character voices, so Jar Jar’s dialogue may have been considerably less annoying. We can also all agree that a prosthetic character would have been a thousand times better than a CGI character, regardless of who played him.  Jackson was no stranger to prosthetics, or science fiction, for that matter. In addition to the extensive prosthetic work he did for Thriller, Disney’s Francis Ford Coppola directed  film Captain EO was very Star Wars influenced, which makes sense, as it was produced by Lucas.

Best went on to talk about the Jar Jar backlash:

“To be 100 percent honest, none us, as we were shooting this, had any idea that anything like this was going to happen. At the end of the day, it is the movie business, and if the character doesn’t work for the people who watch the movie then the character doesn’t work. I can’t take that personally.”

Well how could you take it personally? If George Lucas tells you to play a role like a mentally handicapped Rastafarian with ADD, you do it, and don’t question it. You did your job. Let George take the heat.





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