Everyone seems to hate Jar Jar Binks. So why did George Lucas create him? The story of Binks and his people doesn't really contribute anything to the story, and I find that the parts involving Binks and his people are annoying or boring, adding unnecessary length to The Phantom Menace (which is boring enough with all that trade federation stuff and the endless pod racing).

So why exactly did he do it? What necessary element did Lucas feel that Binks was contributing that Star Wars would have lacked otherwise?

Has he ever said anything directly about Binks?

  • 14
    Same reason as the Ewoks...
    – DavidS
    Sep 11, 2015 at 8:27
  • 13
    Never understood the hate against Jar Jar. I believe he was a funny sidekick. And yes, he did contribute to the story.
    – F.P
    Sep 11, 2015 at 8:45
  • 9
    I've always seen the whole Gungan story as a tool to show what kind of ruler Padmé is. I think it does a pretty good job at that.
    – Kevin
    Sep 11, 2015 at 10:36
  • 8
    The Ewoks may be cutesy and annoying, but they contribute to the plot, by showing the heroes the back way to the Imperial bunker and then killing a whole lot of stormtroopers. Shameless self-promotion: I've argued Padme's alliance with the Gungans is a strong point in Ep1, but Jar Jar himself is almost completely superfluous. Sep 11, 2015 at 10:55
  • 5
    @Holger: C-3PO doesn't do much on his own, but functions as a sidekick/translator for R2-D2, who certainly does contribute. And when C-3PO isn't doing anything interesting, the script is ruthless in getting him out of the way: He is dismembered on Bespin, and literally turned off in Kenobi's house and when the Millennium Falcon hides on the asteroid. (If only Jar-Jar had an off switch, or at least a mute button...) As for Chewbacca, he arguably saves the entire Rebellion when he captures the Imperial AT-AT on Endor, and that's just for starters. Sep 11, 2015 at 15:40

4 Answers 4


For the laughs...

The Wikipedia page on Jar Jar explains (emphasis mine)

Star Wars creator George Lucas stated that he feels there is a section of the fanbase who get upset with aspects of Star Wars because "[t]he movies are for children but they don't want to admit that... There is a small group of fans that do not like comic sidekicks. They want the films to be tough like The Terminator, and they get very upset and opinionated about anything that has anything to do with being childlike."

The above quote is sourced from this interview. This makes it pretty clear that Lucas had intended Jar Jar, at least partially to be comic relief. This seems to have failed for most of the audience.

... and for the kids

So one aspect was definitely as comic relief. But the other aspect, as Wiki explains, is:

Rob Coleman, who was the lead on the Industrial Light & Magic animation team, warned Lucas that the team thought Jar Jar's character came across poorly. Lucas told him that he specifically put Jar Jar in the film to appeal to small children twelve or under

  • 1
    Your second link doesn't go to an interview or have that quote anywhere on the page.
    – phantom42
    Sep 11, 2015 at 13:57
  • 8
    "Lucas told him that he specifically put Jar Jar in the film to appeal to small children twelve or under" - and it works. My 6 year old has seen a few of the Star Wars movies, and says Episode 1 is her favorite, specifically because of Jar Jar. Sep 11, 2015 at 16:23
  • 1
    Kids love politics. That's what I' always sa- wait. THIS MAKES NO SENSE!! A MOVIE ABOUT TRADE AGREEMENTS IS FOR LITTLE KIDS?! (Looks at ceiling like an Episode IV Vader:) NO!!!!! Sep 11, 2015 at 19:20
  • 3
    My 6-year-old also loves Jar Jar, but she doesn't go to conventions or post on Internet forums. I think the assumption that he misses for "most of the audience" could be a false impression.
    – brian_o
    Sep 11, 2015 at 20:20
  • 1
    @Meat The movies are also for children. Must any movie that deals with politics automatically eschew all comedy and lightheartedness and only target politically minded adults? Of course not. Politics and war are the two overarching themes in the Star Wars movies, but they’re perfectly watchable by children all the same because they’re specifically geared towards both adults and children. Jar Jar is just one of the elements geared towards children. Sep 11, 2015 at 23:21

Lucas believes that all characters exist in the stories to move the plot, Jar Jar included.

Lucas was quoted as saying

"The characters are only there to make the story move forward . . . their personalities revolve around the plot," the soft-spoken mogul explained. "In 'Episode I,' Jar Jar uses his ties to the Jedi to bring together two disparate societies, the Gungans and Naboo. Therefore, he served the plot."

This continues in Episode 2 as Jar Jar inadvertently helps set Palpatine up for his rise to power by moving that the senate grant Palpatine emergency powers.

In an earlier interview, Lucas admitted that Jar Jar also serves as intentional comic relief.

Lucas doesn't care too terribly much that some folks have a problem with Jar Jar. "I think the comic-relief character is an important dramatic device," he says. "Some of the fans that want The Phantom Menace to be The Terminator don't like the idea that there are comic characters in it. I certainly am not going to make a grim bloodfest out of Star Wars."

  • 12
    – Jakob
    Sep 11, 2015 at 6:46
  • 6
    The trouble is, Jar-Jar does not in fact establish any ties between the Naboo and Gungans. Padme does that herself, by going into the swamp and talking to the Gungan chief in person. Okay, Jar-Jar tells her how to get there, but the same thing could have been accomplished by an inanimate object like a map. His screen time is vastly disproportionate to his actual effect on the story. Sep 11, 2015 at 11:00
  • 15
    You'll note that I never said any of this was objectively correct. I specifically prefaced this answer with the words "Lucas believes".
    – phantom42
    Sep 11, 2015 at 11:03
  • 3
    @phantom42: Yes, I appreciate that. My above comment was a criticism of Lucas, not you. :-) Sep 11, 2015 at 11:07
  • 12
    Wait, Jar Jar was supposed to be comic relief? Guess they should have made him funny, then. Sep 11, 2015 at 12:19

So why exactly did he do it?

Out of canon answer

From a plot perspective, something has to drive Anakin to the dark side. Why use character development when you can have no character development and stupid characters Jar Jar?

Having a Jar Jar like influence around someone's youth traumatized Anakin. Jar Jar was around for a large amount of his formative years and a constant irritant. He worked closely with Anakin and Palpatine during his youth and childhood while Palpatine gained influence with Amidala. This influence eventually is enough that when the moment was right, Jar Jar could suggest the following plot device:

It's a clear desa Separatists made a pact witha desa Federation du Trade. Senators! Dellow felegates! In response to this direct threat to the Republic, mesa propose that the Senate give immediately emergency powers to the Supreme Chancellor!

From a plot perspective, a character such as Jar Jar was needed - no one would believe anyone else could suggest such things. A stupid, easily manipulated senator was required. This is why Palpatine had been building a relationship to manipulate him and ultimately control him. The secondary purpose is that by keeping Jar Jar around Anakin for his childhood, he is wearing Anakin down, making him more vulnerable to the eventual turn to the dark side. Being forced to be around Jar Jar makes Anakin angry and during his Jedi training, burying these feelings results in a deep well of anger Palpatine is filling for years.

Anakin is forced to turn to Amidala in light of the trauma he is forced to go through during his childhood due to Jar Jar. This is necessary in order to make Anakin's terrible relational dialog make any sense at all only slightly less bad. These repressed memories drive him seek relational comfort and consolation from Amidala, because she too has experienced the horrible effect of Jar Jar. The absolutely awful dialog conversations they have are a result of his repressed childhood memories, her interactions with Jar Jar, and his attempts to cope with these memories.

This repression is ultimately fulfilled when Vader allows Tarkin to blow up an entire planet just to get rid of Jar Jar.

  • 2
    – Pixelomo
    Sep 11, 2015 at 16:28
  • 6
    No, this is definitely canon. Sep 11, 2015 at 16:53
  • :D <tears>
    – user23715
    Sep 11, 2015 at 17:47
  • 8
    This isn't really a place for joke answers, but damn my eyes. I upvoted against all reason. I hates me some Jar Jar. Sep 11, 2015 at 19:17
  • 3
    I joined just so I could upvote.
    – Brandon
    Sep 11, 2015 at 22:54

Compare Jar Jar Binks to C-3PO.

Both characters are extremely similar to each other conceptually and play a similar role in their respective story.

Both are mostly useless in general, but are situationally useful enough to take along. (C-3PO can talk to anything and Jar Jar can guild the Jedi to the Gungan people.)

Both are rather "goofy", but C-3PO is a gold-plated droid (cool!), and Jar Jar is a floppy eared something or other (eh).

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