Ahmed Best, the motion-capture pioneer who played Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, says that the sequel trilogy flies in the face of something that George Lucas used to say when he was working on the prequels. Best isn't criticizing the content or quality of the films, though, so much as a broader shift in philosophy that seems to treat Star Wars like a nostalgic franchise rather than a series designed to appeal to children. Kids, he said, were always top of mind for Lucas, and seeing the later movies step away from that is a little frustrating to Best.
The actor, who has been candid about his own experiences with fans and struggles with mental health over the years, is returning to the franchise for Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, a game show streaming on Disney+. The series is an obstacle course competition for kids in the vein of something like Legends of the Hidden Temple.
"One of the reasons I said yes to this show was that kids have always lifted me up," Best told interviewer Jamie Stangroom. "They've always given me the feedback and the positivity that I always looked for. When I was Jar Jar, I would always get great responses from kids and I really wanted to, not just continue that, but give back to the kids. I wanted to give them something else, because Star Wars has since skewed older and there isn't very much for the kids anymore in Star Wars. It's very much for the millennials and gen-Xers like myself...so kids are kind of left out of these, and the kids have to go to the animated series in order to get their dose of Star Wars, or they do like Phantom Menace. Phantom Menace is very much a kids movie. The new iterations of Star Wars are not really skewed towards kids, which is not something that George ever really wanted to do. George was always about the kids, and he used to say that if you get the kids, you have fans for the next 20 years; he was very much about kids. This idea that the movies are for adults is a very new thing, to be honest."
For now, Star Wars is taking a break along with the rest of Hollywood. When the novel coronavirus pandemic has passed, a new season of The Mandalorian is coming, as well as a TV series based on Obi-Wan Kenobi, which has been rumored to feature Jar Jar. Best has denied the claims. Keep your eyes on ComicBook.com and we will update you when there's news to be had.