Rachel Hetzel | Designer
Jar-Jar Binks is one of the most hated characters of not only the Star Wars franchise, but of the movie industry in general. It’s understandable; he’s a failed attempt at a comic relief character — clueless, cowardly, idiotic and impossibly lucky. Or is he? Because, as Obi Wan Kenobi taught us in “A New Hope”, “In my experience, there is no thing as luck.” So perhaps it’s not luck. If not, the only logical explanation is that Jar-Jar is a member of the Sith.
There are many theories surrounding the enigma that is Jar-Jar Binks. The most agreed upon theory, started by Reddit user Lumparoo in 2016, is that Jar-Jar is a powerful Force-user conspiring with Darth Sidious. In addition to this, some believe he either trained, or was supposed to become Supreme Leader Snoke, or that he is a reincarnation of Darth Plagueis.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when discussing this theory. One of the main problems concerns the Rule of Two — there can only be two Sith at a time, a Master and an Apprentice. The Rule of Two was put in place by Darth Bane, and it ensures that only the strongest Sith survive. The apprentice will eventually attempt to kill the master, and then train their own apprentice.
According to this rule, if Jar-Jar was a Sith along with Sidious, then Darth Maul, Darth Tyrannus and Darth Vader should have never existed. Sith, of course, operate on lies and deceit, and this rule has been broken before… so it’s possible Jar-Jar could be a “secret” Sith.
Darth Plagueis was devoted to discovering the power to cheat death and create life — he also wanted to put an end to the Rule of Two. Sidious, however, killed him in his sleep before he could discover this secret… or did he? Darth Plagueis could have been successful, and learned how to harness the power of the midichlorians to manipulate life, and somehow attached his life-force to the weak minded, easily corruptible, Jar-Jar Binks. Sith expect their apprentices to kill them, so by not revealing his success, Plagueis could have resurrected himself after Sidious’s inevitable betrayal.
Many fans were expecting “The Force Awakens” to reveal Jar-Jar as Supreme Leader Snoke. Obviously, that was not the case. Jar-Jar could have trained him, though. The book trilogy “Aftermath” goes over events that took place between “The Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens”. In these books, Jar-Jar meets a “disfigured orphan” whose “scar tissue runs up from his jaw, over the hole that used to be his ear, and to the scalp.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
So, let’s get into the most agreed upon part of the theory: Jar-Jar and Sidious were conspiring together. For a bumbling fool, Jar-Jar had way too many major plot influences. He is the reason Senator Palpatine rose to power in the senate, and later gained the emergency powers that allowed him to destroy democracy and bring the Galactic Empire to life. The two are practically inseparable throughout the prequels — Jar-Jar is constantly at his side, convincing others to give him more power.
It’s also important to note how Jar-Jar uses hand movements and can be seen mouthing words during key conversations with characters, much like Jedi do when using their mind tricks. Now, why else would Sidious keep such an embarrassment around? I mean, come on — they’re even from the same planet, Naboo, and considering the size of the Star Wars universe, that can’t be a coincidence. Perhaps Jar-Jar was the Phantom Menace the whole time?
Jar-Jar can also frequently be seen using the Force during combat. Reddit user Lumpawarroo has done some thorough analysis of Jar-Jar’s fighting style. It’s very similar to Zui Quan, a style used by Shaolin Monks — which is what Jedi are based on. Throughout the prequels, Jar-Jar performs several Force jumps, including a perfect 20-foot twisting somersault — a type of stunt only Force-users are ever seen doing. He takes down a battle droid tank by himself, and multiple droids with a blaster tangled around his ankle.
If that’s not enough evidence for you, George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars franchise, and several actors have pretty much confirmed that there is more to Jar-Jar than what was revealed. Lucas wanted the prequels to mirror themes of the trilogy.
In the documentary “The People vs. George Lucas”, Lucas explains his inspiration for Yoda, saying, “Yoda really comes from a tradition in mythological storytelling — fairy tales — of the hero finding a little creature on the side of the road who seems very insignificant … but who turns out to be the master.”
I, along with many others, believe that Jar-Jar was supposed to be Yoda’s equal opposite, and that Yoda was supposed to fight Jar-Jar in “Attack of the Clones” instead of Count Dooku. Count Dooku was a hastily-written, last-minute character thrown into the plot to replace Jar-Jar.It’s widely believed that Lucas worried that revealing Jar-Jar as the main villain was too risky, because of the backlash and hate from fans. Lucas was even quoted saying “Jar-Jar is the key to all of this.”
Ahmed Best, the actor who portrayed Jar-Jar, confirmed the theory on Twitter and during an interview. Addressing the Darth Jar-Jar theory, Best tweeted “I will say this, it feels really good when the hidden meaning behind work is seen.”
During an interview with Jamie Stangroom, Best said “…there’s a lot about it that’s true … Because of the backlash, and rightfully so, Lucasfilm backed off from Jar-Jar a lot.”
Best also confirmed the existence of a deleted scene where Palpatine confides in Jar-Jar his plans to “wreak havoc,” saying that it “would really give great credibility to the Darth Jar-Jar theory.”
In 2017 The Star Wars Show live streamed a Star Wars celebration, during which Liam Neeson, who played Qui-Gon Jinn, also confirmed the Darth Jar-Jar theory, saying “(Jar-Jar) did go to the Dark Side.”
As Yoda once said, “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”. Suffer no longer, don’t let your hate of Jar-Jar cloud your judgement. Use your feelings, and accept the truth of Darth Jar-Jar.
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Illustrations by Rachel Hetzel