Its not Jar-Jar’s fault.

There are many things that get blamed on Jar-Jar Binks. The dislike of the prequels from fans that saw all of them 4 or more times in the theater. The formation of Empire because of his call for emergency powers. If not that, then the entire saga as he is the true Dark lord of the Sith behind it all… None of it his fault.

Let’s look at the first statement: Did Jar-Jar ruin the prequels or at least represent the reasons people claim the prequels were bad? To the first I would say no, he was there for comic relief for children and guess what, kids loved him. Does he represent why the prequels are bad? I would also say no to this. First, this assumes they are bad–a point I disagree with for most part. They are not great, but “bad”? No, they are ambitious and sometimes fail while trying, but they are good movies. The fact is most fans loved the prequels when they were released, it was only 3 or 4 years after Revenge of the Sith that the prequels began to be bashed by “fans” of Star Wars. The great echo chamber that is the internet forums/boards is part of the reason, for some reason it became “cool” to hate the prequels and Jar-Jar was the main punching bag, although a young Jake Lloyd and the Anakin character in general were also blamed. Even if you don’t like the prequels a supporting character isn’t the real reason you don’t like them.

Let me also add that in a way, Jar-Jar was supposed to be annoying. He was banished from his home city because he was clumsy and made a mess of things. Obi Wan stated when he heard that Qui-gon was bringing Anakin that:

Why do I have the feeling we are picking up another pathetic life form

This quote indicates how Obi Wan felt about Jar-Jar. There are other cases where at times Qui-gon also had similar feelings, but the moral to the story is, Qui-gon saw the value in Jar-Jar, and brought him along. The point of all of this is, Jar-Jar was annoying to the other characters in the film, and Qui-gon showed strength and open-mindedness by seeing the inherent value in Jar-Jar. This value ended up paying off and lead to the Naboo and the Gungans cooperating against the Trade Federation.

Now the next one is both an in universe problem and a fandom problem: Blaming Jar-Jar for the Empire. My problem with this “in universe” stems from the final Aftermath book. There is a chapter where Jar-Jar has been ostracized by the people of Naboo and the Gungans of Naboo. He is left to be a clown for refugees. This is completely stupid–no one in universe in any TV show or movie ever acted as though Jar-Jar was the real reason Palpatine was in power. In fact he was still part of the Senate delegation from Naboo in Revenge of the Sith and throughout the Clone Wars. While Jar-Jar was naive and was manipulated into calling for the vote for emergency powers he was just ONE person. The rest of the Senate still voted for the powers and we have no indication that Padme wouldn’t have called for the same vote.  And who was he calling to have these powers? Oh that’s right the FORMER Senator from Naboo.  At Padme’s funeral Jar-Jar is leading the Gungans as they walk in the funeral procession. Jar-Jar considered Padme his friend (and I believe in TCW as well) and him willing to step into Padme’s role in AotC, putting the target that was once on her back squarely on his, show he would have been honoring her work not ostracized as a clown. In a deleted scene we know he was there with Padme to confront the Chancellor, he would have been part of the rebellion. This to me is the biggest problem with the final Aftermath book. The same reasons it doesn’t work in universe is the same reason it doesn’t work for fandom. It doesn’t make sense.

Image by Fuzzywhiterabbit

What about him being a Dark of the Sith? Well no that was only a joke, I mean you didn’t really think he was Darth Jar-Jar did you?

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