Remember, there were many people who hated Jar-Jar Binks before the film had even come out. Sure, he sounded great in concept, but then the photos started leaking out on the Internet. "How did Lucas get from Chewbacca to Jar-Jar?!" - - surely it was wondered by quite a few fans. If he didn't work, the film would suffer greatly.
There was no way we were going to like this gu y.
Then came the 12:01 showing of TPM on the 19th. And many people loved him! Not just some, but most everyone in the theater thought that Jar-Jar was one of the best spots of the movie. Many thought he added the "whimsy" that is the hallmark of the SW movies. As unrealistic as the character is, he makes the movies more "realistic", if they can be that in the least.
But there's still a lot of people out there who despise Jar-Jar Binks, for one reason or another. A lot of fans are wondering why Lucas put this Gungan degenerate in the movie in the first place. But they're forgetting that Jar-Jar is a character who appeals to children, and the child in all of us... and one way or another, we're going to come to like this guy! We have to...that's all part of the plan. He's meant to be adored, and not like Ewoks - we're supposed to have a real attachment to Jar-Jar Binks.
Which leads to this possible theory. There's a definite reason why Jar-Jar Binks is in the prequels. It has everything to do with Anakin's conversion to the Dark Side. And Anton Chekov.
Chekov, who we remember as the great Russian playwright, had one great rule of drama. It went something like this: "If a gun is to be fired in Act 3, it must be shown on the wall in Act 1. If a gun is shown mounted on the wall in Act 1, it must be fired by Act 3." This is a great way to express the concept of dramatic setup.
We all know Anakin and Jar-Jar have begun a friendship. No doubt that in the years following TPM, that friendship will grow tremendously. And in the years to come, both Anakin and Jar-Jar will change: they will grow up, they will mature. They will also find themselves being pulled from one extreme to another. In their own ways, both Anakin and Jar-Jar are the embodiment of childlike innocence: Anakin is ever hopeful, Jar-Jar is ever persistent. They both have no lack of enthusiasm. They have found the same circle of loving friends. They are the absolute last people in the SW movies we are going to come to expect to betray one to another.
Which is why Jar-Jar is needed right now. In TPM, Lucas mounted a lot of guns on the wall... just waiting for the right time to pull all the triggers. Jar-Jar Binks is one such trigger.
The rest of course, is speculation, but hear it out. You see, when Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, he is going to proceed to wipe out most of the Jedi. He will probably kill a lot of other people in the process. These will be but statistics. They will not be the reason why we are going to be booing his appearance in Episode 4. No, if we are going to absolutely, utterly hate Vader, we're going to need a darn good reason to do so. There has to be one, and ONLY one, outright irredeemable act that Anakin/Vader will commit, that will set every heart against him forever. That reason is Jar-Jar Binks.
Sometime in Episode 3, amidst all the betrayals that will be taking place in the collapsing galaxy, this will be the one that will send little children crying into their mothers' bosoms. Anakin Skywalker, now turned to the Dark Side, betrays his old friend Jar-Jar Binks and murders him in the most cold-blooded, most heinous way that Lucas' compunctions and ILM-effects can get away with on the big screen.
Lucas said back in '94 that the big theme we would see in the prequels would be that of betrayal. That we wouldn't know who was the good guys and who was the bad guys sometimes. That friendships would be destroyed. The Anakin/Jar-Jar relationship will become the worst of these dramatic betrayals.
Next time you see Jar-Jar Binks, laugh at him. Come to love him. Then weep for him. For all his innocence, he may have the most terrible fate of all when this part of the story is complete.
by Chris Knight and Joshua Griffin
June 18th, 1999
04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial
09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions
12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"
12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - TheForce.net Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace
12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1
11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference
12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars