Few things are stranger than coming back from a long holiday weekend only to find one of the most divisive Star Wars characters ever created trending on Twitter. And yet, here we are.
Earlier this morning, Jar Jar Binks was inexplicably one of the trending topics on Twitter. No one seemed to understand why, although there have been some theories. The Tampa Bay Times looked into the matter, which traced it back to a meme that predicts your Star Wars fate. While the image had been making the rounds online, it was shared by Mark Hamill earlier this morning, giving it some serious traction.
As the image indicates, if your name begins with the letter 'J,' your fate is dealt out by none other than the Gungan outcast-turned-senator, which is where the Tampa Bay Times' theory comes into play. According to the Social Security Administration, 'J' names dominated the U.S. from 1925 all the way up to 2000, and since then have only been second to 'A' names.
As wild as that seems, it's definitely the most probable theory we've got. Granted, there may never be definitive proof of this minor internet phenomenon. Which, incidentally, brought out all sorts of opinions on the once-reviled character.
First, there was the unabashed pro-Jar Jar crowd, which speculated he was trending simply because of his unappreciated greatness.
Despite the outpouring of support, there was (surprise) a very anti-Jar Jar faction as well, many of whom hovered close to the long-running theory that he was a covert Sith Lord bending the Galactic Republic to Palpatine's will.
Of course, it could just be one of those fluke scenarios where once someone starts talking about Jar Jar Binks the whole thing builds on itself like a kind of digital snowball. It became such a thing that the official Star Wars Twitter account actually weighed in.
The character was first introduced in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace back in 1999. He was portrayed and voiced by actor Ahmed Best, and was one of the first fully CG characters to appear on screen. When the first prequel didn't quite live up to fan expectations, Jar Jar became the lightning rod for all negative criticism, which had a tremendous impact on Best's well-being.
Following the backlash, his role was greatly reduced in 2002's Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and only appeared briefly in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Jar Jar's fate was revealed in the 2017 Chuck Wendig novel Star Wars: Aftermath - Empire's End, when he'd been reduced to a clownish street performer whose appeal was limited to kids. Art imitates life.
Do you have a theory about why Jar Jar is trending? Let us know in the comments.