The Jinx of Binks -- Role and Function of Jar Jar

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Cryogenic, Nov 9, 2006.

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  1. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    After a brief tete-a-tete with DARTHCLANDESTINE in another thread, we have decided to have ourselves a thread dedicated to Jar Jar Binks, or more specifically, his role and function in the saga. Since Jar Jar appears primarily, or perhaps exclusively, in the prequel trilogy (he may or may not be present in the Naboo celebrations at the close of ROTJ), I've launched the thread in the "Prequel Trilogy" forum, but it may or may not be pertinent to move it to the "Saga" forum.


    WHAT I WANT THIS THREAD TO BE

    Although it's fair to say that Jar Jar has his share of detractors, including me, I do believe he is used in some intriguing ways. Some, many or all of them may have been intended by Lucas; some, many or all of them may not. What I am hoping is that the discussion can centre around his construction as a character and his significance in the narratives of TPM, AOTC, ROTS, and more broadly, in the saga as a whole, without the usual debate on his strengths and weaknesses as an aesthetic element within the films themselves. In simpler language, I am hoping for discussions of Jar Jar on a story level, not discussions of Jar Jar on a filmic level.


    ROLE(S) AND FUNCTION(S) OF JAR JAR

    I believe some of the following roles and functions can be ascribed to Jar Jar:

    1) Good-hearted fool. This is where I derived the thread title. Jar Jar Binks' primary function seems to be as a naive nomad with a heart of gold. Although somewhat prudish and cynical, such as his reaction to the idea of the Force guiding himself and his Jedi companions through Naboo's murky core, he seems to have a relatively unblemished, whimsical outlook on life, and holds none of the prejudices or distastes of the people who have banished him. Unfortunately, this also makes him ripe for manipulation, and in AOTC, we get the flipside of Jar Jar's naivete, when he becomes another of Palpatine's many pawns and helps grant him emergency powers on his rise to Emperor-hood. Virtue without intelligence can only get you so far and we need only look to Jar Jar for that.

    2) Conduit for the Living Force. I think Lucas positioned Jar Jar as a statement on the Jedi's arrogance and limitations of their politically-intensified approach to galactic issues and affairs. Neither Obi Wan nor Qui Gon are willing to give Jar Jar the time of day at first. It takes Jar Jar's revelation that there is an underwater city before Qui Gon's ears are pricked and he begins taking Jar Jar seriously. (Conversely, Obi Wan remains relatively cynical towards Jar Jar and his master's whims for almost the complete duration of the movie). Jar Jar is a lone wanderer before he accidentally meets Qui Gon. Or does he "accidentally" meet him? Remember what Qui Gon himself later says: "Us meeting was not a coincidence. Nothing happens by accident." Wouldn't Qui Gon agree that the Force placed Jar Jar in his path? And quite literally, too -- Qui Gon's first words to Jar Jar are to get out of the way! A strange and quirky relationship begins when Qui Gon saves this Gungan's life. And the galaxy will never be the same. Notice how Jar Jar lingers in Watto's shop after Qui Gon hastily exits? If the Force placed Jar Jar in Qui Gon's path, then the Force is trying to tell Qui Gon something, and it's using Jar Jar to do it. At this point, Qui Gon has resolved in his mind that neither Watto nor the little slaveboy are of any use, and he has promptly left, demanding Jar Jar follow with a very stern, "Jar Jar! We're leaving." Jar Jar cannot and does not argue, but true to his nature, falls over and wastes his time following, leading to a confused glance from side to side before departing the front of the shop. Could this be the Force subtly trying to call Qui Gon back to Anakin? A little later, Qui Gon, Padme, Artoo and Jar Jar are strolling the streets of Mos Espa, and Jar Jar audaciously helps himself to a piece of food, which attracts negative attention and... Anakin. A connection is finally made. Qui Gon begins to realise that the boy is perceptive, and
  2. DARTHCLANDESTINE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2005
    star 3
    Let the games begin! (Im coming to that after reading your post properly) Just wanted to be the first guy to join you.

    Later :)
  3. DARTHCLANDESTINE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2005
    star 3

    I think Lucas positioned Jar Jar as a statement on the Jedi's arrogance and limitations of their politically-intensified approach to galactic issues and affairs.

    Neither Obi Wan nor Qui Gon are willing to give Jar Jar the time of day at first. It takes Jar Jar's revelation that there is an underwater city before Qui Gon's ears are pricked and he begins taking Jar Jar seriously. (Conversely, Obi Wan remains relatively cynical towards Jar Jar and his master's whims for almost the complete duration of the movie). Jar Jar is a lone wanderer before he accidentally meets Qui Gon. Or does he "accidentally" meet him?


    Now where do I start? [face_thinking]

    Okay, let me begin by agreeing with you here (not exactly in chrono order I know). But there is a strength in story wise point of view. This accidental meeting is NOT a coincidence because the Jedi seem arrogant yet, once Qui Gon realizes the Jedi indeed need help, his thoughts go to what Jar Jar said about ?humble servants?. Qui Gon shows humbleness to get help from a lowly Gungan and that too using that ?law by the gods? ? a higher power if you will, to abet Jar Jar (no wonder its Qui Gon who is able come from the netherworld). So I would like to think that its the Jedi?s higher power that inspires this meeting in the first place.

    Unfortunately, this also makes him ripe for manipulation, and in AOTC, we get the flipside of Jar Jar's naivete, when he becomes another of Palpatine's many pawns and helps grant him emergency powers on his rise to Emperor-hood. Virtue without intelligence can only get you so far and we need only look to Jar Jar for that.

    I also believe that the Jedi are taken as fools by Palpatine throughout the PT. JJ and the Jedi are his fools. Not only the did Palp leave Jar Jar to step up and call the EP, the Jedi have and the Senate go along with it. Which reminds me of Obi Wan?s comment in ANH ?Who's the more foolish...the fool or the fool who follows him??

    Which brings me to a little of SW trivia. In GL's earlier drafts of THE STAR WARS. There was a guy called Bink Valour. Hmmm. Jar Jar addressing the Senate (in AOTC) and Chancellor Valourem leading the Senate in TPM.





  4. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    Please tell me you are NOT implying that Jar Jar was in league with Darth Sidious...

    Jar Jar's role aside, there is no way that dim-witted Gungan fool was anything more to Darth Sidious than a means to the end. So I guess that means I just chose option one: The good hearted fool.
  5. Jedi-Queen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2005
    star 4
    Agreed. I can't get past good hearted fool.
    Anything else seems too grandiose for Binx.

    Diplomat, he just made a suggestion, he didn't act as a liason b/w his people and Padme's.
    It was Padme on her knees begging for Binx's race to help her.
    Conduit, again he made a comment about his underwater city and the Jedi saw an opportunity.

    He comes across as a typical comic relief type character - he often says and does things
    that are of use or somewhat important, but he doesn't realize this b/c he's just too
    dimwitted. He's like the Forest Gump of SW! lol
  6. SEPARATESICKLEROOK2 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 2
    I think JJB's presence is all that is needed to show us that we judge books by covers and treat those we find less intelligent as dirt beneath our feet. Jar Jar was bumbling, and a simpleton, but he was key in avoiding a mass execution of Gungans and Naboo alike. He was simple, but utterly innocent. Based on this, he was a great asset to the Jedi, and to the overall story of TPM.
  7. Jedi-Queen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2005
    star 4
    dirt beneath our feet is too extreme.
    JJ is what he is, a bumbling fool who unknowingly aided the Jedi and others.
    Like I said, he reminds me of Gump who happens to unwittingly turn everything he
    touches into gold. He's a simpleton who happens to stumble across a good idea
    every now and then even if he doesn't recognize it himself.
    Would one acknowledge he has a good idea now and then, yeah.
    Would one consult him about something vital and seek is guidance, haha no.
  8. dvdcdr Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2006
    star 3
    Just a thought. Is it possible if Jar Jar would be better liked if he weren't computer animated? The combination of his personality and the way he looks feels cartoonish.

    I mean, if you look in the OT C-3P0 says and does some childish stuff. Such as when he is on the Tantiv IV and he just walks across without getting shot. This is similar to Jar Jar's luck in the battle on naboo in tpm. And what about Yoda? Imagine if the movies were released in order, and you saw the PT first. At the beginning of ESB, wouldn't you be sick to your stomach to see the great master yoda running around like an annoying little green pest?

    I'm not that crazy about jar jar either, but i do agree that he has some important role in the saga. All of that is overlooked, because some percieve him as a loony toons type character. Had he been a character in the OT, as a puppet or something, and at the time when everyone said "it's in star wars, so its good" i think he would have been better recieved.
  9. garethxxgod Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2006
    While I can understand atleast Jar Jar's role as being the light hearted comical aspect of Star Wars considering he was trying to fill a role that wouldn't be fully established (again anyways) until Episode II with 3P0 & R2-D2, it just seems that Jar Jar is in one scene too many like as if George was trying to force him down our throats.

    I don't mean this of the entire film of course, up until their arrival back on Naboo, Jar Jar is actually used sparingly when he is not needed to help tell the story. Where I think he was over-used was the Gungan's battle with the Droid Army. Why? Sure we get a few shots of an actual battle, however most of the screen time is taken and given to Jar Jar to be the bumbling buffoon. We get it, he's clumsy, but why make this the focus of a battle? Granted I'm not saying that Jar Jar didn't have a right to have some time spent on him during the battle but it seems that George really wanted to drive home the point that Jar Jar doesn't belong in battle. It almost makes you want George to cut quickly to another part of the battle because it's just so embarrassing.
  10. Jedi-Queen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2005
    star 4
    I think someone hit the nail on the head when they said it would not seem so bad
    if JJ wasn't so cartoon-like. It makes him seem silly-stupid instead of
    just a well meaning simpleton.
  11. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    I actually agree with dvdcdr entirely, but that's not why I created this thread. Please re-read the first two paragraphs.
  12. Veloz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2004
    star 6
    In retrospect, to me Jar Jar served a very important role in the SW saga: he's the one that motioned emergency powers to Palpatine, and started down Palps path of great political power, that culminated in the creation of the Empire in ROTS.

    IMO there's no way in heck Padme would have done what Jar Jar did, had she not had to go into hiding because of the assasination attempts on her life... she left in her place the very person who was naive enough to embrace Palpatine's suggestions... i mean Bail was there and he didnt ask for the emergency powers... only Jar Jar fell for that one, and even though the Senate embraced it, no one else but him proposed it[face_thinking]

    I'll have to return to this later, cause i have to go [face_laugh]

    [face_peace]
  13. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    I think Jar Jar?s role as friend and companion is made especially important when related to Anakin?s development throughout the PT. In The Phantom Menace, both Jar Jar and Anakin join up with the Jedi as clear outsiders thrust into the midst of an unfamiliar, chaotic world. Especially with the party?s initial arrival on Coruscant, the friendship between Anakin and Jar Jar is solidified in that each share the common bond of being complete newcomers to the galaxy?s capital. For Padme and the Jedi, Coruscant is little more than a physical site of routine and normalcy. For Jar Jar and Anakin the planet is a sight, as in a fantastic glimpse of a city so grand that logic says it must indicate the Republic as a whole to exist as a truly magnificent, enduring institution.

    In Attack of the Clones, both characters are now assimilated into life on Coruscant, Anakin as Jedi and Jar Jar as a senator. Still, in their brief meeting after ten long years, the markers of that initial friendship are still evident. Jar Jar offers an extremely enthusiastic greeting, while Anakin doesn?t hesitate a second to fall back on Jar Jar for comfort after observing Padme?s apparent indifference. Here I always take note of the line, ?She barely noticed me, Jar Jar.? It almost sounds ridiculous to even hear Jar Jar?s name in relation to anything serious after all the slapstick the character bumbled his way through in TPM, but it?s a significant point that Anakin is so quick to voice his emotional concern to the Gungan. Of course, from here on out the two characters have no opportunity to pick up that friendship. It?s too late for that, because Coruscant and the world around each of them is no longer an adventure, but rather a ritual they?re both ingrained into and being reshaped by. Jar Jar?s off being manipulated into bringing about the Empire, while Anakin?s back to his normal life where true friends are practically non-existent.

    One wonders what Jar Jar might have offered Anakin in regards to the Jedi?s pain of losing his mother and fear of losing Padme. The Gungan was no genius, but it?s a safe bet that, as a friend, he might have been able to offer Anakin support that didn?t wholly amount to ?forget about it.?
  14. DARTHCLANDESTINE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2005
    star 3
    [face_laugh]

    No. Just putting a cross why there IS a character called Binks (GL just added an s) where the flanneled one decided to use that similar name to be part of the PT. As usual he takes some of his old workings, and incorporated same just to show he didn't take thing out of the blue when he decided on doing the PT.


    Yes. In AOTC naturally. But in TPM Jar Jar's presence shows the Jedi's view of other entities -brainless, pathetic lifeforms etc. Qui Gon is one shows some heart. While for Obi Wan its a waste of time "Master, we're short on time".

    To make it short, good hearted fools are atleast good hearted. In the end good over evil. Sidious couldn't top that when it really mattered.


  15. mandragora Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4
    I'm glad you started this thread, Cryogenic - I've thought about something like that for a while but somehow didn't make it :). I think your first two points - the good-hearted fool and the conduit of the living force - can actually be linked together. To me he has traits of the archetype of the "wise fool", even though without being conscious about the wisdom part.

    There are at least two bits of dialogue on Jar-Jar's part that I think can be interpreted as having prophetic implications with respect to the fate of the Jedi Order.

    The first one is from one of his encounters with Obi-Wan:
    Obi-Wan: "Why were you banished, Jar-Jar?"
    Jar-Jar: "It's a longo tale-o, but small part of it is - mesa clumsy!"
    Obi-Wan: "You were banished because you are clumsy?!"
    Jar-Jar: "You might be saying that."

    By the end of the Prequels, Obi-Wan, along with Yoda, was the one who was banished. Why he was banished, is also a long tale - but a small part of it is that the Jedi, and Obi-Wan and Yoda in particular, proved to be, well -"clumsy" perhaps isn't quite the right term, but not up to dealing with Anakin's emotional problems and and not on a par with Palpatine. They were banished for being clumsy, you might be saying that.

    The other one occurs during the underwater journey on Naboo.
    Jar-Jar: "Monsters out there, leaking in here, all sinking and no power? When are yousa thinking wesa in trouble?"
    This description bears a striking resemblence to the situation of the Jedi Order especially later on in the prequels: Monsters (the Sith) out there, leaking inside (the leave of Count Dooku and the failure of Anakin becoming the Jedi he should be), "all sinking and no power" ("I think it's time to inform the Senate that our ability to use the force has diminshed") - and still for a long time, they acted as if they "were not in trouble yet".

    I haven't done a thorough examination whether other bits of Jar-Jar dialogue contain prophetic implications. In a certain sense, this part of his role in the Saga resembles the commentator role of Palpatine we've been discussing on the Saga board (the fact that many of Palpatine's lines include hidden references to how situations fit in the the larger plot and how things will evolve in the future of the Saga) - only that Palpatine is perfectly aware what he's talking about whereas Jar-Jar does these comments subconsciously. He could very well be acting as a channel for the living force and thus as a source of important information, if only one would listen to him.



  16. Boba16 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2006
    star 2
    Putting aside the annoyances of Jar Jar, I think this whole topic of what his role is, is nullified by Lucas having him as a major character in TPM, then a minor character in AOTC, to literally one scene in ROTS, and that has never happened to a character in the SW universe unless they died.

  17. arthurclavin2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2003
    star 4
  18. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Mandragora!

    Mesa bustin with happiness to be seein' you, again! [face_dancing]

    I'm glad you re-posted your thoughts on the symbolism within the "planet core" sequence. I was just thinking about this after I made my thread, but couldn't remember where it was.

    Two scenes in ROTS + deleted footage (some which made it to the DVD, some which didn't)

    I think that Lucas was always planning to scale Jar Jar down. It's possible he exaggerated that scaling down after the uproar over Jar Jar in TPM, but then it's equally possible he didn't. I can't read the mind of another. I can only go on what's in the saga. Jar Jar *is* a SW character. He's there. He interacts with other characters. He does things in the narrative. He has a presence and an impact. He can be analysed.
  19. TrueJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2000
    star 5
    I'm going with Good hearted fool. He's one of the few that survive the PT and go back to Naboo.

    As for Qui-Gon, the first few lines in TPM give away his flaws and why the Jedi were going to fail. This is an old argument but a critical one. His "lack of vision" to see the "big picture" led him like a rat through a maze, paying attention only to the "Living Force", which exists in the here and now. Palpy used this perspective to cripple and destroy the Jedi Order. It was only Yoda who could see the danger on a broad scale and tried to caution the Council from the dangerous route they were taking.
  20. Jedsithor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2005
    star 4
    If you look at the saga from 1-6, then Jar Jar is the reason it exists as it is. He's the catalyst (sp?)

    Forget about him giving Palpatine emegency powers in AOTC, his importance stretches back to the beginning of Episode 1:

    If Jar Jar hadn't grabbed on to Qui-Gon, the Jedi would have never:

    -Gone to see Boss Nass and gotten a transport to get to Theed
    -Rescued the queen
    -Gone to Tatooine
    -found the Chosen One
    -found out that the Sith still exist
    -Gone to Coruscant

    and because they never got to Coruscant:

    -Amidala couldn't call for a vote of no confidence in Valorum
    -Palpatine would have never become Chancellor...

    No Palpatine as Chancellor, the chosen One back on Tatooine...no saga.

    Jar Jar in TPM is essentially the guide for the audience, like C-3p0 and R2-D2 were in ANH. He brings us through the movie.
  21. DarkLordoftheSith14 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2004
    star 1
    I had never thought of that line of dialogue that way. I wonder how many of Jar Jar's other pieces of dialogue may have thsese same kinds of prophetic implications.[face_thinking]
  22. DARTHCLANDESTINE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2005
    star 3
    I had never thought of that line of dialogue that way. I wonder how many of Jar Jar's other pieces of dialogue may have thsese same kinds of prophetic implications

    I pointed out Jar Jar's "demanded by the God's it is". This is where Qui Gon used it to get his way with Boss Nass. The normal Jedi would have disregarded it (like he did so till Jar Jar mentioned about Oto Gunga). When Anakin is discovered, and Qui Gon tries to convince the Council they brush it off as well. So the "higher powers" are telling the Jedi to take Anakin. Unfortunately, they should have gotten him earlier but the Jedi are too arrogant to realize things till later.

  23. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    I just want to plug something else into this discussion:

    Qui Gon actually tries to tame and civilise Jar Jar in TPM. Watch the dinner scene. He reprimands Jar Jar for showing bad manners. Of course, the scene has a comedic function, and it also underscores Qui Gon's Jedi reflexes. It seems to function on this third level, too.
  24. RamRed Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 4
    I think that you're right. When you consider the extreme hatred that Jar-Jar's character has been viewed, I also believe that with his character, Lucas exposed the intolerance of many people and their inner fear that Jar-Jar's flaws might be a reflection of their own flaws. Humanity has never been that good at viewing its own flaws with an honest eye. Or tolerating them, for that matter. This is why I feel that characters like Yoda and Obi-Wan are put on a pedestal by fans who tend to turn a blind eye to their flaws. I suspect that the intolerance and hatred toward Jar-Jar's character is also a result of this.


    IMO there's no way in heck Padme would have done what Jar Jar did, had she not had to go into hiding because of the assasination attempts on her life...

    Padme had more or less did the same as Jar-Jar, when she had proposed a vote of "no confidence" against Valorum in TPM.

    But people tend to forget that Jar-Jar and Padme's propositions were not alone responsible for Palpatine's rise to power. It took the Senate's vote to really give him that power. And it took both the Jedi and the citizens' blindness for him to get away with it.


    As for Qui-Gon, the first few lines in TPM give away his flaws and why the Jedi were going to fail. This is an old argument but a critical one. His "lack of vision" to see the "big picture" led him like a rat through a maze, paying attention only to the "Living Force", which exists in the here and now. Palpy used this perspective to cripple and destroy the Jedi Order. It was only Yoda who could see the danger on a broad scale and tried to caution the Council from the dangerous route they were taking.


    Qui-Gon did believe in seeing the big picture . . . but not at the expense of the Living Force. Yoda had failed to appreciate this until his years in exile on Dagobah. He was more or less preaching the same thing to Luke in TESB. Yoda could see the danger on a broad scale, yet he failed to sense that his own padawan would one day become a Sith Lord. He had allowed his fear of Anakin as a representative of the "unknown" to damage the latter's training within the Jedi Order. It was Qui-Gon who had sensed something more sinister behind the Trade Federation's invasion. And it was Qui-Gon who had identified Darth Maul as a Sith - something which Mace, Ki-Adi-Mundi and Yoda had rejected.
  25. voodoopuuduu Classic Trilogy Trivia Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2004
    star 5
    There are at least two bits of dialogue on Jar-Jar's part that I think can be interpreted as having prophetic implications with respect to the fate of the Jedi Order.

    The first one is from one of his encounters with Obi-Wan:
    Obi-Wan: "Why were you banished, Jar-Jar?"
    Jar-Jar: "It's a longo tale-o, but small part of it is - mesa clumsy!"
    Obi-Wan: "You were banished because you are clumsy?!"
    Jar-Jar: "You might be saying that."
    By the end of the Prequels, Obi-Wan, along with Yoda, was the one who was banished. Why he was banished, is also a long tale - but a small part of it is that the Jedi, and Obi-Wan and Yoda in particular, proved to be, well -"clumsy" perhaps isn't quite the right term, but not up to dealing with Anakin's emotional problems and and not on a par with Palpatine. They were banished for being clumsy, you might be saying that.


    True, at the end of the Yoda/Sidious fight, Yoda gave up and went into exile because he made an uncharacteristic clumsly move and fell.
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