Jar Jar Binks is arguably the most hated character in the Star Wars saga. Keep in mind, he beats Anakin Skywalker, who murdered children, and Watto, an actual slave owner. But over the years, we’ve all collectively agreed on the character’s bogus existence and moved past it. Calling out the doofus these days is on par with taking up the shoooocking opinion that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the worst Indiana Jones.
By now, Jar Jar Binks just feels like some super awful kid we went to junior high with. We forget about him, for the most part, but then he comes up in conversation and we have to talk about all the weird crap he pulled and quote him repeatedly in always-terrible, always-insulting impressions.
But as Ahmed Best, who actually played the obnoxious gungan, recently explained to Vice, it could’ve been a whole lot weirder—though maybe kind of better, just for the sake of jam-packed oddball.
Michael Jackson wanted to play Jar Jar Binks.
I mean, “The King of Pop” really wanted to play him.
That’s what George told me. Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids—we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as “Jar Jar” and I was like, That’s kind of weird. Michael was like, “Oh. OK.” I thought, What is going on? After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I’m having a drink with George and I said, “Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?” He said, “Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like ‘Thriller.’” George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.
Imagining Michael Jackson as Jar Jar Binks feels like working out a word problem about “a train leaving Cleveland at 70 MPH” while trying to solve long division. It’s just too much for my brain, as if movies are borderline quantum physics now. But, really, how crazy would that have been?