Jar Jar Binks is an important part of the Star Wars franchise. While the Gungan is not, perhaps, roundly beloved by the fanbase, he is important nonetheless. He was also an ally to the Jedi the Republic. And, unwittingly, the one who allowed Palpatine to assume control of the galaxy. In an alternate universe, Jar Jar might have been downright evil. Now, we know what that might have looked like, thanks to creature designer Kevin Cassidy, Senior Character Artist at Roundhouse Studios.
Taking to Instagram, Kevin Cassidy recently revealed some art he cooked up that completely reimagines Jar Jar Binks as a Sith Lord. It is, in a word, shocking. The basic shape of Jar Jar is still there. The shape of the body. The big ears. But this version of the character is undeniably menacing, with a rough, weathered look and a stone face that could not be mistaken as friendly. Cassidy didn't say much in his caption. Rather, he let the images do the talking.
"'The Phantom Menace' My fan art re-design for Jar Jar Binks."
Though not confirmed in the caption, it does appear these striking images may have taken some inspiration from a fan theory that gained some steam in recent years. Based on several bits of footage from the Star Wars prequel trilogy that have been re-examined by certain fans, there is a theory that suggests Jar Jar Binks knew what he was doing. He was Force sensitive and possibly collaborating with Palpatine behind the scenes the whole time. It, more or less, suggests that Jar Jar was a Sith collaborator. Not the bumbling alien who meant well that we came to know on the surface.
Regardless of where the inspiration came from, it's a compelling reimagining of a complicated figure from the franchise. Actor Ahmed Best brought Jar Jar Binks to life in The Phantom Menace. He was one of the early motion-capture, fully CGI creations in cinema and certainly represents a landmark moment in that respect. However, the characterization and dialogue cooked up by George Lucas led to a tidal wave of harsh criticism from fans. As a result, Jar Jar's role in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith was greatly reduced. Meanwhile, Best was left to suffer the wrath of toxic fandom.
Ahmed Best later admitted that he, at one point, contemplated suicide. It got that bad. In recent years, Best has been embraced by certain sections of the fandom, receiving a warm welcome at Star Wars Celebration in 2019. He also was brought back into the Star Wars fold to host Jedi Temple Challenge, a competition show for kids. Best, as host, played the part of Jedi Master Kelleran Beq. As for whether or not we'll see Jar Jar again, Best has said he would be open to returning, under the right circumstances. And with the Obi-Wan Kenobi show finally happening, who knows? Be sure to check out the art for yourself from Kevin Cassidy's Instagram.