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Ahmed Best On Jar Jar Binks Backlash: I Wasn’t Untouchable Like George Lucas

Best reflects on his role as Jar Jar Binks in the ‘Star Wars’ film’s 25th anniversary.

Jar Jar Binks was the first major character in a live-action movie to be created through motion-capture technology. Ahmed Best was also the first actor to take on such a role.

But this didn’t save the movie from backlash after its release in 1999. Best recently shared with People:

“Everybody came for me. I’m the first person to do this kind of work, but I was also the first Black person, Black man.”

The Backlash Almost Ended His Career

‘The Phantom Menace’ was the first ‘Star Wars’ film in 16 years and was Best’s breakthrough. Still, the negative feedback to the film caused the actor to step away from motion-capture roles in Hollywood for a period. He commented:

“And I was just like, ‘What is happening now?’ My career began and ended. I didn’t know what to do, and unfortunately there was really no one that could help me, because it was such a unique position; it had never happened before in history.”

Best Wasn’t ‘Untouchable’ Like George Lucas

Some critics tagged Jar Jar as a racial stereotype, and Ahmed Best became the target of ‘the first textbook case of cyber-bullying’ and even received death threats. The actor spoke of the online hate by noting that he wasn’t protected like the other cast and crew members:

“Especially with the internet component. Now there’s an entire field of psychology based on it. But at the time, what do I say to a psychologist? I just tried to do the best job that I could do. But George [Lucas] is untouchable and everybody was untouchable. Who wasn’t untouchable? Me. Everyone came at me.”

‘The Phantom Menace’ earned $1 billion worldwide despite the backlash. The film went back to theaters on May 13, 2024.

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