Jar Jar Binks: a name sure to elicit an opinion from any Star Wars fan you talk to, though often unfavorable. The clumsy Gungan introduced in The Phantom Menace was bullied, cast out of his society, and though Qui-Gon Jinn gave him a chance, Jar Jar has been made fun of by other characters in the universe—and by fans—since 1999. If you’ve been wondering what happened to him in the years since we last saw him in Revenge of the Sith, a new Star Wars novel gives the answer: he became a clown. A literal clown.
As Mashable and Slashfilm point out, the final book in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig, Empire’s End, reveals Jar Jar’s fate. Set in the years after Return of the Jedi, the Aftermath trilogy has shown the state of the New Republic and the Empire in its main arc and in interludes that take place throughout the galaxy. One of the interludes in Empire’s End goes to Naboo.
On the streets of Naboo, a kid encounters a clown. That clown identifies himself as Jar Jar: “Meesa Jar Jar,” he tells an orphan. He talks about not being wanted either and references that “Jar Jar makin some uh-oh mistakens.”
That mistake? During the prequels, Jar Jar proposed the motion to grant Palpatine emergency powers so he could create an army to fight the Separatists. We all know how that turned out. A misstep? Absolutely. But Palpatine manipulated practically everyone, including Yoda. So I don’t blame Jar Jar for the decision he made: He was tricked like so many others. To see him in a state of regret decades later is sad and hurts my heart.
At the same time, he’s still doing what he can to bring joy to others. Maybe it’s just a way for him to eke out a meager living, but because it’s Jar Jar, I think there’s more to it. So, while his role has an element of being tragic, it’s kind of touching too. I want to give Jar Jar a hug more than ever.
And as Mashable points out, Jar Jar entertaining kids on Naboo could be interpreted as commentary on the nature of the character. A lot of children enjoyed the character in the prequels, after all. But for more on that, let’s let Jessica Chobot do the talking on today’s Nerdist News, shall we?
Do you think Empire’s End, on shelves on February 21, gives a satisfying end to the Gungan’s story? Share your opinion in the comments.