Padme in 'Bombad Jedi'

‘Bombad Jedi’: Working Against Stereotype

I am currently on a rewatch of the 200The Clone Wars series and realized that S1E08, ‘Bombad Jedi’ is an absolutely fascinating episode! Not only funny, it gives room to some major development for two of Star Wars‘ most interesting characters: Padmé Amidala and Jar Jar Binks. ‘Bombad Jedi’ works on a lot of different levels, reintroducing the political element of the Clone Wars and showing how war leads to suffering and betrayal. The episode, directed by Jesse Yeh, starts with the fortune cookie-esque ‘Heroes are made by the times‘, but rather than focus on our accepted heroes, Anakin Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi, the episode goes out of its way to show that heroism exists on different levels and can be found in everyone.

From the very start of the episode it is clear that Padmé is in control of this mission. Her unwavering loyalty to her friends has brought her into dangerous territory and yet she goes there believing in the strength of diplomacy and peace, in itself the start of a very heroic quest. In choosing Jar Jar as her companion, she also reveals her recognition of similar principles in Jar Jar. Chancellor Palpatine functions as a good point of contrast to her behaviour when he mocks Jar Jar’s “qualifications”. He not only disregards JarJar but also looks at him with contempt, unable to see the potential Jar Jar holds. Palpatine respects martial strength and Jar Jar’s own brand of strength is not something he recognizes, initially. In some ways this is similar to how he considered Padmé naive in The Phantom Menace only to have to admit by the end of the film that she is a lot stronger than he thought.

Continue reading “‘Bombad Jedi’: Working Against Stereotype”

Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd

Parallel Lives: Jar Jar and Anakin

When George Lucas made the choice to start the Prequel Trilogy with Anakin Skywalker as a kid and to include Jar Jar Binks as a character he must have had an inkling of what was coming. But he must have made this choice deliberately because of its story-telling value. In this post I want to have a look at how intimately the stories of these two great characters are entangled and how they mirror each other. Unwittingly, in their joint rejection of these two, the prequel-bashing community not only misses out on a vital element of the story Lucas tried to convey. But above all they confirm the message that is in Jar Jar and Anakin’s story for those who did make the effort to recognize it.

Continue reading “Parallel Lives: Jar Jar and Anakin”

J.J. on Jar Jar: Why?

The brilliant Vanity Fair article this week has given us a lot of scoops. Not only do we have names for two more characters, we also got some great interviews and behind-the-scenes photos. VF also sat down with J.J. Abrams, director of upcoming The Force Awakens, for an interview and unfortunately he once again catered to the so-called ‘prequel haters’ by discussing Jar Jar Binks. Talking to VF editor Bruce Handy, Abrams said:

“I have a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks’s bones in the desert [of Jakku]. I’m serious! Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it.”

Now, I’m all for jokes. I love jokes. However, Jar Jar Binks is a very controversial figure within the Star Wars-fandom. Many fans of the Original Trilogy use him as their favourite stick to bash the Prequel Trilogy with, arguing he is a ridiculous figure, disgraceful and not worthy of being in a Star Wars-film. It has come to the point where saying that you like Jar Jar, like I do, means you have to face a barrage of disagreement, if not abuse. The fact that the same things were originally held against the Ewoks in the OT is conveniently forgotten. Everyone is allowed their own opinion and you don’t have to like everything about Star Wars. Whether you like both the OT and PT or just one of them, you have a right to liking or disliking things. However, as I have previously argued, the disproportionate hate against the PT has led to many of its good points and layers of depth to go completely unnoticed. There is more to the figure of Jar Jar than most people acknowledge and I will be going into it below.

Continue reading “J.J. on Jar Jar: Why?”