Jar Jar Binks is one of the most polarizing characters in Star Wars, but an episode of The Clone Wars made him and the Gungans secretly tragic.
Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans are often down to a shot, but an episode of Star Wars, Clone Wars added a layer of sadness to the character. Jar Jar Binks debuted in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and was created with the intention of adding a comic touch to the film. However, this failed horribly. Jar Jar’s variety of antics and bodily function-based humor were among the most criticized elements of The Phantom Menace upon launch. The reaction was so intense that Jar Jar’s role was reduced in subsequent installments of the prequel saga, and he only had an unspoken role in Revenge of the Sith. However, the damage was done; Jar Jar Binks would continually be cited as one of the main reasons why the prequels as a whole did not please reviewers.
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When Star Wars, Clone Wars Released in 2008, it was tasked with telling a pleasant story set between two of the prequels. The characters and settings he would use already had negative connotations for much of Star Wars‘established fan base, and remedying these associations would not be easy. It was an unusual choice, then, for The Clone Wars not to follow Revenge of the Sithstrategy when it came to your most polarizing player possible. Surprisingly, it gave Jar Jar Binks a semi-recurring role and even made him a central player in some stories.
One of those Gungan-centric arcs spanned episodes 2 and 3 of The Clone Wars season 4, “Gungan Attack” and “Prisoners”. It featured some of Jar Jar’s most heroic moments, as he led the Gungan charge toward an all-out war between aquatic species. At the same time, however, he offered an unfortunate reason for his erratic behavior. As an amphibious creature on land, Jar Jar was literally a fish out of water, a fact for which he received little empathy.
“Gungan Attack” and “Prisoners” tell the story of an attempted Separatist attack against the Mon Calamari system and the efforts of the Jedi to stop it. The Karkarodon Riff Tamson sparked a civil war between the Quarren and the Mon Calamari. The Mon Calamari were overwhelmed by Quarren forces, but the Republic was unable to deploy its own clone troopers to the planet in time. Obi-Wan Kenobi suggested calling in the Gungans, who lived in watery areas on the terrestrial planet of Naboo despite their amphibious nature. Jar Jar Binks urged the Gungan High Council to dispatch their troops and followed the Gungan Grand Army to Mon Cala. There, the Gungans fought valiantly on the underwater planet.
During the battle, the Gungans, and Jar Jar in particular, moved with almost unusual agility that showed how well adapted they were to the water. After being kicked out of Otoh Gunga, Jar Jar was known for his clumsiness on land, suggesting that his species was simply not destined to spend that long there. Jar Jar’s exile from his underwater home world may have affected his coordination and cognition, leading to the strange personality that caused so many blank eyes. Jar Jar Binks’ awkward demeanor may not have been inherent to the character, it was the best he could do at the time, and he might have been capable of more if he had the chance. In retrospect, this made his banishment and the other characters’ annoyance with him somewhat tragic. However, redeeming the Gungans represents only one of the Star Wars, Clone Wars‘Lots of strides toward repairing the legacy of the prequels through their strong writing and developed characters.
Next: What Happened To Jar Jar Binks After The Prequels?
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