INTERVIEWS

The Phantom Menace: Ahmed Best, Jar Jar Binks actor, reveals to have considered suicide following criticism

He had even received death threats after the film was released.

Update November 2, 2020: TMC begins a Star Wars cycle, to the rhythm of a film every Monday, with the broadcast, tonight at 9.15 p.m., of Episode I of the saga, The Phantom Menace . The opportunity to return to the confession of Ahmed Best, the actor who hides behind Jar Jar Binks, who had revealed two years ago to have thought of suicide because of the truckload of critics which had accompanied the release of the film, and particularly aimed at this character so much maligned by early fans.

Article of July 4, 2018: Actor Ahmed Best posted on July 3 on his Twitter account a nice photo of his son and him, looking towards the horizon, accompanied by a moving text: “Next year, it will be 20 years that I had to do with a real media storm that still affects my career today. This is where I almost ended my life. It’s still difficult to talk about. J survived and now this little guy is the gift of survival. Do you think that would make a good story for my solo show? Tell me. “

So Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prelogy, nearly killed himself after The Phantom Menace was released . Too much criticism of his character, too much pressure. For Ahmed, it was his first major role: but hidden by his digital costume and by his role of sidekick buffoon with ridiculous phrasing (George Lucas was even accused of racism for these dialogues), Ahmed crystallized the hatred carried by some ” fans “of Star Wars towards The Phantom Menace – accused of being too childish – and, more generally, towards the prelogy of George Lucas.

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“I was threatened with death on the Internet,” Ahmed told Wired magazine last year . “People came to me to tell me that I had destroyed their childhood. It’s hard to hear when you’re 25 …” The sad story of Ahmed Best reminds us of the often excessive reactions to the Star Wars Disney’s “numbered”, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi , accused in particular by some of “violating their childhood” , of “feminizing Star Wars”and not to respect their vision of the saga. Love for a fiction certainly does not deserve death threats to anyone. Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi , also tweeted his support for Ahmed: “Full of love for you Ahmed, many of us would like to hear your story” .

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And Jar Jar, what happened to him? The character – still voiced by Best – appeared in the Clone Wars animated series between 2008 and 2014, but his true fate is revealed in early 2017 in the official Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s Endby novel by Chuck Wendig, third and final volume of the trilogy. Star Wars Aftermath that transitions between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The Gungan makes an appearance as a street clown on the planet Naboo, who entertains little children by making faces and which adults are careful to avoid. Rejected by all, Jar Jar is haunted by the memory of helping the Empire conquer the Galaxy when he was Senator of the Republic. Remember also that JJ Abrams wanted to kill Jar Jar in The Force Awakens , conceived among other things as a way to reassure the fanbase of the first trilogy. For example by offering them Jar Jar as a sacrifice. Ahmed’s thoughts of suicide make this idea a lot less funny.

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