Hey, you like Star Wars, right? You probably do, as you are reading this shitty Star Wars essay also are more than likely a human. But as much as you love Star Wars, there are probably some things about it that you don’t like. For many people, they don’t like the prequel trilogy, in particular Episode I, in even more particular Jar Jar Binks. Jar Jar was a bumbling buffoon, arguably a racist caricature, and created for the sole purpose of appealing to young children. But, like it or not, Jar Jar Binks is the most important character in the entirety of the Star Wars canon.
No. Jar Jar is just the guy who talks funny and accidentally hurts himself for the amusement of 5 year olds. He is an extraterrestrial clown. Clown or no, there is nothing from the half hour mark of Phantom Menace to the last second of Return of the Jedi that could’ve happened without Jar Jar. Take the main storyline of the Phantom Menace; Obi Wan and Qui Gon are sent to strike a deal with the Trade Federation to end the Nabooian blockade. They try, and fail, to negotiate a deal and flee to the surface of Naboo where they meet Jar Jar Binks. What happens after they meet Jar Jar? He takes them to the Gungan capital, they travel to Theed to meet Queen Amidala, and end up on Tatooine. This is where Obi Wan and Anakin meet, putting into motion Anakin’s rise to a proud Jedi knight, fall to the dark side, and ultimate redemption over the course of the next 5 films. This is also where Anakin and Padme meet which, over the course of several years and likely a textbook case of Stockholm syndrome, eventually leads to the two falling in love and siring two children. No Jar Jar? No Luke, Leia, or Darth Vader. Obi Wan and Qui-Gon would’ve wandered around on Naboo until someone came to save them and then they would’ve gone back to Coruscant. Anakin would’ve forever lived and died a slave on Tatooine. Padme would’ve… uh… done Queen shit and wore silly clothes.
Even then, let’s assume that the Force would’ve eventually brought, Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan together, that their meeting was destined no matter if a swamp alien with a speech impediment brought them together. Fair enough, we can chalk Jar Jar’s involvement there to “unfathomable cosmic power destined those things to happen.” How can there possibly be anything else of important that Jar Jar caused? He was barely in the other two prequels, he couldn’t have accomplished too much. Well, creating the Republic’s clone army, for one. While standing in for Padme in the Galactic Senate in the weeks before the start of the Clone Wars, Jar Jar urged his dellow felagates to give Chancellor Palpatine full power to muster an army in order to deal with the Separatists’ mounting droid armies. While he may not have made these decisions on his own accord, as his gullible nature made him very easily manipulated by other politicians, there would otherwise not have been a strong voice to push the senate toward organizing their army and going to war with the CIS. Without the Republic army there would be no Clone War, without the Clone War there would be no Jedi Purge, without the Jedi Purge there would be no Galactic Empire, and without a Galactic Empire there would be no original trilogy.
The most common suggestion to improve The Phantom Menace seems to be to remove Jar Jar entirely. Nearly every fan edit of the prequel trilogy removes every non-plot crucial scene involving Jar Jar to make the film more palatable for the average viewer. But you know what I think? I think Jar Jar needs his time in the spotlight. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have those other great stories that we love and cherish so deeply as a vital cornerstone of our cultural canon also Attack of the Clones. Jar Jar is the backbone, the very foundation on which the Star Wars series is built. This is why I propose, instead of a Jar Jar-less edit, that we watch a Jar Jar filled edit. Mr. Binks is clearly the most influential and interesting character in the Star Wars saga, but I hate that I have to slog through 9 and a half hours with no Jar Jar every time I watch the series. We all know that GL has the Jar Jar edit hidden away somewhere in the vast network of underground caverns that compose his secret lair, it is only a matter of time before he releases it.