At this point, it is almost becoming needless to pile onto the hate parade that has been marching in the direction of the Star Wars prequels for more than a decade now. Disney is once again making quality Star Wars movies and hopefully, we can all move on from the prequel trilogy. Still, one of the worst elements of the prequels, Jar Jar Binks, is a thorn in the side of the epic saga that many fans can’t quite shake. It turns out that actor Brian Blessed, who played Gungan leader Boss Nass in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, tried to warn George Lucas about Jar Jar during production.
YouTuber Jamie Stangroom has been tracking down some of the lesser known actors from the Star Wars universe across various movies, interviewing them on his YouTube channel. He recently had Brian Blessed on and the subject of Jar Jar Binks came up. In the video, when asked if he “hated” Binks, the actor was quick to say that wasn’t the case, but it wasn’t all that simple. Here is what he had to say about it.
“No, no, no, no. I did advise at times. I didn’t interrupt people’s’ interpretations because the interpretations were terrific, he’s fine. But if you’re playing a character like that or you’re playing Boss Nass, I always made sure that my noises didn’t interfere with dialogue, because I had a lot of plot. I made it [the line of dialogue] clear, then I made noises. But I didn’t make noises on the line, and I think Jar Jar Binks makes noises on the line, and he has a lot of plot, so the audience will go: ‘what did he say?!’ I said, you lose a bit of plot, you have to be careful. Cause it involved me a bit and George said ‘I’ll watch it Brian, I’ll watch it.'”
Ahmed Best definitely did what Brian Blessed describes in that he made a lot of noises intercut with his dialogue, which was just one of the many issues fans have with the character of Jar Jar Binks. There is no doubt that it was most noticeable in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Due to the strong reaction against the character, his role was reduced in both Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Still, it was Jar Jar Binks who gave Chancellor Palpatine his powers in the Senate, which ultimately allowed for him to become the Emperor as we know him, which is a big deal in the Star Wars universe. So like it or not, Jar Jar Binks is not only part of the canon, but he is an integral character. There is even a theory that he is a member of the Sith sent to pretend to be a buffoon.
Brian Blessed is, himself, maybe not one of the most beloved figures from the Star Wars universe. Anything related to the Gungans, like Boss Nass, is probably something fans of a galaxy far, far away would be totally fine to just have wiped from the pages of history. Interestingly enough, George Lucas actually had something else in mind for him, though. As Brian Blessed tells it, he was almost a Jedi.
“[George Lucas] said ‘I thought of you as one of the Jedi, but you’re much too powerful for the part, and I need your energy in the film.'”
The idea of having a Jedi with that build and the potential energy Brian Blessed could have brought to it would have been interesting for sure. But instead, George Lucas made him a Gungan. There was still one more pretty interesting bit revealed in the video. Sir Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope and as a Force Ghost in both Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, famously didn’t seem to like Star Wars. He seemed to hate it. But it Brian Blessed says, that isn’t the case.
“No, he loved it. It’s not true. Alec was madly in love with the whole thing.”
In his book A Positively Final Appearance, Sir Alec Guinness painted a different picture of his relationship to Star Wars, but it seems like maybe it was more about the fandom surrounding it. Based on what Brian Blessed has to say, it seems like he was actually fond of the movies. In any case, this is pretty interesting insight for any fan of the Star Wars universe. You can check out the full video interview with Brian Blessed for yourself below.