Jar Jar Binks is already one of the most divisive characters in Star Wars lore, but it turns out things could’ve been a whole lot weirder.
In a new interview with Vice, Ahmed Best opened up about what it was like to play Jar Jar — and dropped a fascinating “what if” in the process. While recounting a time when he was attending a Michael Jackson concert at Wembley Arena, Best said George Lucas introduced him to Jackson as “Jar Jar,” and sensed there was an inside joke afoot. So Best asked Lucas what was up with the strange intro.
Turns out the King of Pop was originally lobbying for the role, but he and Lucas had a few disagreements on exactly how it should be performed. Check out the choice excerpt from Best’s interview below:
“[Lucas] 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."
If that doesn’t make your head explode Scanners-style, we don’t know what will. It’s obviously strange to imagine Jackson as Jar Jar, but looking back at the era it makes a weird kind of sense. Michael Jackson was a cultural force when The Phantom Menace opened in 1999, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility to imagine him as a part of the franchise’s revamp.
Which, heck — it’s hard to imagine Jackson’s live-action Jar Jar being much worse than what actually made it to the screen.
What do you think? Could this Thriller-esque Jar Jar have actually worked?