I’m Lynn. When I saw Obi-Wan crying out to Anakin, saying “You were the chosen one!” I finally fell in love with Star Wars, and I am an Anomaly.
I’m warning you now. This post will probably make some of you hate me. It will definitely create a disturbance in the Anomaly Force, but that’s ok. I can handle it. I would like to talk to you today about a topic of much controversy. I would like to talk to you in defense of Jar Jar Binks.
Before you click away in disgust, bear with me. I’m going somewhere here.
Now, I know that Jar Jar is a key factor in people’s extreme disappointment in The Phantom Menace. And I can understand why. He’s pretty annoying. He’s quite stupid. And those ears are just ridiculous! But observed over a long period of time and with the benefit of retrospect, one can find that Jar Jar is a necessary character and plays a key role in the entire mythos.
We find Jar Jar as a dim-witted inhabitant of a key planet in the Star Wars story. It’s through knowing him that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and able to convince the Gungans to help their overworld counterparts to fight, and subsequently defeat, the Trade Federation. It’s through Jar Jar that Padme and Anakin share laughs and get to know one another.
And there must have been something about him for the Gungans to forgive his extreme klutziness and allow him to serve in the Galactic Senate, for if he had not done so, he would not be the one to nominate Palpatine as the new Chancellor, setting into motion events that would lead to the formation of the Empire.
Of course, this all depends on accepting that all of these actions had to play out in a predestined manner, but that’s a philosophy debate for another time.
And again, Jar Jar grows up even more in Episode III when he leads Padme’s funeral. I am quite sure there were more suitable candidates, Obi-Wan for one, who should have been chosen for such an honor, but it was Jar Jar, the class clown.
Of course, we all know the story. We’ve seen those movies and rolled our eyes when Jar Jar does something stupid, but Jar Jar proves that even the most annoying or insignificant among us can play a crucial role in a movie and in life. Consider also Frodo. He was pretty lazy by waiting for 17 years to finally make the trip to destroy the One Ring. Seventeen years! He’d rather have stayed home smoking, eating, gardening, and enjoying life as an insignificant side note, but he finally got off his minor character couch and became a force for change. Jar Jar does the same. The only difference is that we hoped he’d stay on that comfy sofa of forgotten characters.
These small characters play no small parts in their worlds, and they show us that we may not wield lightsabers, swords with names, or have prophetic dreams, but we can all make a difference in the world.
That’s really what science fiction teaches us anyway.
Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all.