The prequel trilogy of Star Wars films were some of the most anticipated events in fandom in the late '90s, given how passionate fans of the original trilogy had become over the years. With the tone of those films leaning more towards younger audiences than some viewers were expecting, there was a backlash against the film from some of those fans. The clearest representation of the film's more whimsical tone was Jar Jar Binks, who was brought to life by Ahmed Best's motion capture performance, with the Gungan serving as the series' punching bag for years. The backlash against the character was so strong that Best was apprehensive about attending this past April's Star Wars Celebration, thinking that the negative reaction would be felt at the convention.
"To be very honest, I was very afraid to go to Celebration," Best recently confessed to StarWars.com. "Every time I’m in a Star Wars setting, I spend most of my time defending our work and defending Jar Jar. And I just don’t want to do that anymore. So I was very reluctant to come to Celebration because of that, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the case at all. I just felt nothing but love and respect and admiration for the work we did. I couldn’t have been more proud and I couldn’t have been happier. I wish George [Lucas] was there because I think we’re at a time right now where we have to stand in that work. We have to say, 'We did it,' and step into that in a very proud way, because it stands the test of time."
Recent years have seen Best open up about the emotional impact his Star Wars experience has had on him, with the actor sharing a photo last year in which he noted that he had previously considered taking his life after suffering from the torment of endless ridicule. Luckily, the actor has since spoken quite candidly about how he overcame that darkness and persevered, despite the difficulties he faced.
Regardless of whether or not you liked Jar Jar Binks, he was a fully realized CGI creation, the likes of which had never been seen in a film on that scale. Best noted that he still admires what he accomplished with George Lucas and that ultimately the love for the prequel films outweighs the hate.
"George Lucas is a futurist," the actor expressed. "That guy can see 20, 30, 50 years into the future. As an artist and as a creator and as an innovator, he’s done things that no one else has done, no one else has even thought of. I know the fan backlash of 20 years ago was loud, but that’s really all it was. It was just loud. And now we have to be louder in our pride for this thing, because we have an army behind us of people who love those movies."
What do you think about Best's remarks? Let us know in the comments below!