Jar Jar Binks is George Lucas' favorite Star Wars character. The director admitted this in a pre-taped message shown to fans at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago over the weekend. The final day of the event included a 20th anniversary panel dedicated to The Phantom Menace. Jar Jar Binks is infamous and known for being one of the most-hated characters in the long-running franchise, so Lucas' choice may baffle some hardcore Star Wars fans upon learning the news.
The prequels in general have proven to be very divisive over the years. With that being said, there are new Star Wars fans who grew up with them and those movies were their introduction into the franchise, so the prequels have been on the rise lately with younger audiences standing up for them. One of the biggest supporters is the man responsible for them, George Lucas. He had this to say in his pre-taped message for the Celebration audience.
"Thank you for coming to the Celebration. (The Phantom Menace) is one of my favorite movies and of course Jar Jar is my favorite character. Ahmed (Best), you did a fantastic job. It was very, very hard."
While the merits of The Phantom Menace can be argued, the defense of Jar Jar Binks usually falls on deaf ears. Ahmed Best is the actor who portrayed the character on the big screen and he has spent the last 20 years going through hell for taking on the role. Best even admits he was suicidal at one point because of the intense backlash. It affected his career and still does to this day, so it's nice that George Lucas gave him a shout out at this year's Star Wars Celebration.
Despite the instantaneous backlash against Jar Jar in The Phantom Menace, George Lucas decided to put him in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith too, doubling down on his love for the character. However, making and editing the first movie in the trilogy was not an easy thing for Lucas and crew to complete. In the rest of his message to fans at Star Wars Celebration, the director thanked those who helped him make the movie a reality. He explains.
"Also for John Knoll and all the guys at ILM, I made it impossible for them. We broke a lot of ground. We were using test equipment but it was the beginning of digital, even though we didn't get to shoot the whole thing digitally, we got to shoot part of it so it was really one of the first digital features and I'm very proud of that. The fans are always such a big part of these films and obviously those of you who are here are the fans of Episode 1 and I love each and every one of you."
It was recently revealed that J.J. Abrams reached out to George Lucas before he started writing The Rise of Skywalker, which will be the final movie in the Skywalker saga. It's unlikely Jar Jar Binks will return, but Lucas may have pushed for him and Emperor Palpatine to be included. In the end, Palpatine won and will be included in the movie later this year. BBC News was the first to report about George Lucas admitting his love for Jar Jar Binks.