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To this day, one screaming source of contention which still envelops the Star Wars prequel trilogy — aside from the
opinion fact that the three films simply aren't very good and are a far (far!) cry from the undeniable classic status of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi — is the grueling presence of one Jar Jar Binks. In fact, Binks regularly ranks as one of the most reviled characters in all of film history.
Though the computer generated punching bag was ultimately voiced by Ahmed Best, the world was much closer than you might think to a very different version of the bumbling Gungan. In a recent interview with VICE, Best describes a fascinating meeting with the late Michael Jackson at Wembley arena — revealing that Jackson campaigned quite hard for the role. After being taken backstage alongside George Lucas and Natalie Portman, Best was introduced as Jar Jar — which prompted an interesting response from the King of Pop:
"George introduced me as Jar Jar and I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird.’ Michael was like, ‘Oh. OK.’ I thought, ‘What's going on?’ After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big after party. I’m having a drink with George and I said, ‘Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?' He said, ‘Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like Thriller.’ George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”
Though dedicated detractors might assert that Binks would have been even worse as a prosthetics-laden Thriller transplant, those people are quite simply wrong. Michael Jackson was our only hope at saving The Phantom Menace (et al), a hope sadly dashed by multiple disturbances in the Force.
Rest in peace, MJ.