Name: Jar Jar Binks
Played by: Ahmed Best
Species: Gungan
Status: One of the "good guys", Gungan outcast
Age: Unknown
Height: Unknown
Sex: Male (?)
Homeworld: Naboo
Political Affiliation: Gungan
Weapon of Choice: Gungan Battle Staff
Vehicle of Choice: Bongo Sub
Quotes: "Mesa called Ja Ja Binks. Mesa yous humbule servaunt."
"Well, youssa Jedi not so special as yousa cracked to be."
"Gungans no liken outsiders."
"Woah, yousa guys bombad!"
"Wesa dyin' here!"
"When is yousa tinkin' wesa in trouble?!?!"

©1997 LucasFilm Ltd.

The Facts

Where did the name Jar Jar come from? In the Star Wars Insider #41, Rick McCallum says, "I know that [the name] Jar Jar came from his [Lucas's] son Jett. I don't know if Katie helped in the naming of the other characters, but definitely Jar Jar came from Jett."

Lucasfilm has registered the domain names and and it links back to the official site. The name "Jar Jar Binks" is also registered with the US trademark Database. Jar Jar can also be seen in the trailer extensively.

The following come from the Jar Jar Binks action figure (courtesy of Sir Steve's):

A creature from the underwater depths of the planet Naboo, Jar Jar Binks must convince his fellow Gungans to take up arms against the greedy Trade Federation in battle to preserve their planet. Jar Jar Binks comes equipped with a Gungan Battle Staff.

In an interview with U. Magazine Ewan McGregor said that Ahmed Best was playing a character called "Jo-Jo" and that character was one of the leads. George Lucas told the Star Wars Insider (#35) that Ahmed Best's character would have a speaking pattern 10 times more complicated than Yoda's. Samuel L. Jackson was on TV and mentioned a tentacled alien he saw on the set which sounds very much like a Gungan, perhaps Jar-Jar:

01/96/98 -- "Last evening Samuel dropped in on Late Night with David Letterman where he discussed two pretty interesting characters that were on set with him at Leavesden. He made reference to the two actors in costume, by calling one Calamari, because he had tentacles and spots like a squid, and another that had to put his hair up in rollers while eating, to keep the hair on his face back."

Thanks to Qel-Droma for bringing this to our attention.

In issue #13 of the Star Wars galaxy magazine, Rick McCallum explains a little about his favorite character in Episode I:

"[My favorite character in Episode I is] an amazing new character, portrayed by Ahmed Best, which will eventually require computer animation and post-production work. Ahmed's one of those guys who seizes a character and embodies it. He's given the character an attitude. What happens is that Ahmed comes in, and we rehearse the scene with him. We'll do it four or five takes until the actors feel incredibly comfortable. Then, once we have that take, we will shoot a blank plate without him there. After we have done six, seven, takes all together with the rehearsals and everything else, the actors are pretty comfortable because Ahmed gives so much to that. He's off camera, so he's giving the lines. They know where they're supposed to be looking; they know know they're interacting with him. Then we use that as the plate that we'll then animate."

"He's a wonderful sidekick. He's discovered by Liam Neeson's character, and he becomes a part of the Jedi entourage. There is a whole movement of him throughout the course of the film that is very interesting."

"[He plays] a seriously major role [in the story]. He'll be in the film for an hour."

From Vanity Fair, Feb. 1999

Spy Reports

11/2/98 - Some info on Jar Jar from an informant:

He's finished in almost all shots and looks really cool. I was afraid he'll be too cute, but he's OK. Your sketch looks really like him, except that your sketch looks like he has hair. In fact, he has two enormous flat ears (or even wings???) that cover his head and hang over his back like come sort of cape. They come almost exactly to his waist, but remember that his waist is much higher than normal human waist (see Barbie). I also saw some other Gungans that had completely different ears... Wait! It just occured to me! Jar Jar is probably supposed to be "wild" (he says he was banished from the city), whereas the others are "domesticated"! Their ears are cut at shoulder length and they even have some sort of decorative edge on them - so they really look like a hood.

It's also worth noting that Boss Nass and other underwater city officials look completely different. Not only much fatter, but totally different, although they have some vague fish characteristics like Jar Jar. They also have completely different speaking patterns from Jar Jar. It seems very unlikely that they belong to the same race. Also, in one scene, Jar Jar refers to "Da Bosses". The following is example of what Jar Jar speaks like. In writing it looks like this: "Mesa cause-ed mabee one or duey lettal bitty ax-adentes... yud-say boom da gasser, un crash Der Bosses heyblibber... den banished." Do YOU understand that??? I have some difficulties.

Hmmmm....we're not so sure about them being different species, but we do know that there seem to be variations on the Gungans. Keep watching for more details!

Harry Knowle's Spy -

"Everybody seems pretty concerned about the character of Jar Jar Binks, pronounced Ja Ja Binksss. The toy of him we've seen on the net looks kinda lame, but as you can see from the Doug Chiang sketch, he's a bit better looking with a cool skin texture and everything. This is a nude pic of him though, he does wear clothes as do every Gungan in the film. (I'll send a pic next time.)

We meet Jar Jar in the swamps of Naboo. Qui-Gon runs into him and saves his life. Next thing Qui-Gon knows he's stuck with this creature because of the life debt Jar Jar owes him. Obi Wan doesn't care too much for the character because he's a bit of a nuisance, but Qui-Gon keeps around because he believes Jar Jar has a purpose to serve.

Jar Jar is very much the Chewbacca with dialogue of the film. And Jar Jar's dialogue is written quite strangely in a funny accent. His tongue can shoot out and grab stuff, and I'd go so far as to say he's a bit like C3PO too. He's always negative about the current situation. I'm sure Ben Burtt will be adding sound effects and doing quite a mixing job with his voice.

Jar Jar pilots a submarine through the core of the planet, and is seemingly clumsy, but his clumsiness always saves the characters. Imagine Jerry Lewis with the force. Well that's enough this time out Harry. Next time I'll fill you in with more. I have easy access to a computer now, so I can send you more and more reports. I hope you and the fans like.

Many of you have noticed the strange resemblance between Jar Jar and Muppets Tonight character Clifford. Well in an odd feat, one fan took a pic of Clifford and slightly modified, thus making a fan rendition of Jar Jar. Bizarre, yet true. :) View it here. As stated by many people, Yoda was a strange Muppet with a voice like Grover, so another Star Wars character looking like a Muppet ain't all bad.

Unnamed Source: 7/7/98 --Our source from the previous report has continued to check in. They were able to give us the following description of Jar Jar:

"How can I describe Jar Jar? He's a Gungan, a race of aliens that lives in an underwater city on Naboo. He's red with a big long nose, huge feet and hands, tall, lanky and stupid, very lizard like. He bumbles around, always making mistakes which in the end turn out to save the day. He's also the thing that's going to make this film more like Jedi than Empire (more kids film than adult)."

Anonymous Source - 7/9/98 - A lot of people are expressing concern that Jar Jar may be too "cute" and comical. But believe us, what you've heard so far is only the tip of the iceberg on him. Never fear, though Jar Jar IS going to be very funny, all word we hear is that he is very cool looking. In fact, though he does bumble around and screws up, he does have at least one very dramatic scene that has an big impact on Anakin and your perceptions of events in the original trilogy. Jar Jar's comedy will make the scene hit home a lot more when you see it.

Harry Knowles' Imperial Droid: Jar Jar is allegedly a central character who looks like a lizard. He's quite funky, and befriends OB1 in a swamp on another planet under circumstances still unknown. This swamp sequence was filmed [in late August] at Whippendell Woods near Leavesden. There was, however, no swamp in the woods. The "Imperial Droid" believes it will be put in later! Shock!! During this swamp sequence, OB1 discovers a submerged temple which looks like an Indian woman's face. I.e. the temple is shaped like a person. He then escapes with the others from something that I honestly don't know the circumstances of.