Jar Jar Binks Actor Reflects on His Suicide Attempt from Fan Abuse

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Jar Jar Binks, Ahmed Best

Following his epic return to Star Wars, Jar Jar Binks star Ahmed Best looked back to his darker days with the franchise, touching on his suicide attempt after abuse from fans.

Best is most well-known for playing the oft-maligned Gungan hero Jar Jar Binks in Episode I: The Phantom Menace and throughout the Prequel Trilogy, where he received a great deal of verbal abuse and chiding from fans over his performance.

Although he admitted in 2020 that he would play the role again with the right story, he couldn't avoid incredibly harsh criticism as many fans didn't enjoy the way Jar Jar was used for comedic relief more than anything else.

Jar Jar Binks Star Reflects on Suicide Attempt

Jar Jar Binks
Star Wars

Speaking on the Ted-produced podcast The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks, via The Guardian, Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best shared new insight into his suicide attempt following his performance in Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

The actor recalled clinging to the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City one night at 3:00 a.m., hanging above a nearly 40-meter drop as he mentioned one thought going through his head while thinking about fan abuse that he'd endured:

"I’ll show all of you. I’ll show you what you’re doing to me. And when I’m gone, then you’ll feel exactly what I went through"

The podcast would tell the story of how Best was supposed to play one of Star Wars' most exciting new heroes only to be one of the first actors to truly deal with online fan abuse that leaked into press coverage as well.

The worst part of the abuse was the accusation of racism in his portrayal when taking into account his pride in his African heritage and his advocacy for Black rights. It was suggested that he'd allowed himself to be exploited in that role, leading him to his suicide attempt, which was stopped by a gust of wind that almost knocked him over before he ran home.

He would then move to Los Angeles to film Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, both of which minimized his role and left him disappointed after his extensive part in Episode I:

"Here I am, a significant character who changed movies, and then I’m a footnote – I barely appear."

Following those movies, he diverted his passion to martial arts and film school before having a child, even revisiting the spot of his attempted suicide with his son. There, he took a picture on his phone and tweeted about his past, calling his son his "gift for survival" in his post.

This led to a huge influx of love from Prequel Trilogy fans along with a number of apologies, including one from Mission: Impossible star Simon Pegg, who felt intense shame in those events leading to somebody being victimized so badly:

"I feel so ashamed of the fact that there was actually a human victim in that."

In 2023, Best made a moving return to the Star Wars universe by playing human Jedi Master Kelleran Beq during a flashback sequence from Chapter 20 of The Mandalorian.

Best shared his hope that fans recognize his contributions to "the history of cinema," especially as a Black man. He made a point that "no other Black man has ever played a main CGI character" since 1997, for which he made a plea to see a change in the near future:

"I want folks who listen to recognize what I contributed to the history of cinema. Culturally, Black invention has been repeatedly erased from history and that is an injustice. Since 1997, no other Black man has ever played a main CGI character and that’s a travesty. That has to change and I hope that is recognized."

Will Jar Jar Binks Star Return to Star Wars?

Seeing Ahmed Best get another chance to shine in the Star Wars universe nearly 18 years after his last credit as Jar Jar Binks became an emotional moment for fans, and even for Best himself, as he found a sense of closure in the franchise.

But even with that meaningful appearance in Season 3 of The Mandalorian, he has hopes for more adventures in the series, noting that he doesn't "want this to be the end of the story" for Kelleran Beq in this saga.

Considering how tragic his story was for such a long time, having to experience abuse from fans that went far beyond the "toxic" label, many would likely be thrilled to see him continue his redemption tour on Disney+.

Simply put, it's almost a miracle to see that Best thrived so much in this new Star Wars role, particularly when remembering that he was nearly driven to suicide simply over the fact that fans so passionately disliked his original character.

And with Star Wars already doing a fantastic job of expanding its legacy with other fan-favorite heroes from across the galaxy far, far away, seeing Best again would only add to his legendary status as part of the Lucasfilm family.

All of Ahmed Best's appearances as Jar Jar Binks in the Prequel Trilogy, along with his chapter of The Mandalorian, are all available to stream on Disney+

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.