The Star Wars series is no stranger to discord (fans can’t even agree on the best movie, let alone the whole brouhaha over The Last Jedi), but there’s one universally regarded truth: Jar Jar Binks is the most hated character. Even the ever-patient Qui-Gon Jinn had trouble dealing with his antics. But there’s a difference between hating a fictional creation, and placing the blame with the actor who plays him/her. Ever since Rolling Stone dubbed Jar Jar a “superstar,” Ahmed Best, who portrayed the klutzy Gungan, has had a rough go of it.
“I had death threats through the internet,” he told Wired last year. “I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.” Things got so bad, in fact, that Best considered taking his life.
“20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today,” he recently tweeted (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace came out on May 19, 1999). “This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy [Best’s son] is my gift for survival.”
Jar Jar will never be anyone’s favorite Star Wars character (even if the Darth Jar Jar theory makes him sound pretty cool), but the loathing for him has cooled off over the years. “As a person who bashed Jar Jar left and right, its time I said I’m so sorry for contributing to that backlash,” one of Best’s Twitter followers replied, while another added, “We take this fan stuff waaaaaaaaay too seriously at times, and it affects/hurts human beings that are just doing their jobs.”
Besides, it’s not Best’s fault you hate Jar Jar. Blame science.