Jar Jar Less Conspicuous in “Clones”

Poor Jar Jar Binks.

The CGI character from 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace can’t seem to get a break. Since his inception in George Lucas‘ sci-fi saga, he’s had nothing but grief: His character won a Razzie Award two years ago for worst supporting actor and spawned dozens of anti-Jar Jar Web sites.

In The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar–a floppy-eared member of the Gungan species–was widely criticized for his Caribbean accent and bulgy eyes, which seemed to embody every imaginable Jamaican stereotype.

Did Lucas take all the hoopla about the computerized creature into consideration when making Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones? According to The Associated Press, Jar Jar has a lot less screen time in Clones. Lucas, however, denies pandering to critics.

“People have the tendency to think that you just place characters in for the fun of it,” he told the AP from his Skywalker Ranch. “Ultimately, their personalities have to revolve around the plot.”

In Clones, Jar Jar’s clumsy character becomes a pawn of evil galactic forces, and fans seem to be enjoying the character’s newly added edge.

Lucas explained that Jar Jar was designed to appeal to children. “Whenever you have a character that is more oriented toward the under-12 set, you get the hardcore we-want-to-see-a-tough-movie…kind of people getting very upset about it.”

Lucas also noted that fans have criticized Star Wars characters before, including C-3PO and the Ewok creatures from 1983’s Return of the Jedi.