Before there was “The Last Jedi’s” Rose Tico, there was “The Phantom Menace’s” Jar Jar Binks. Fans claimed the CGI bipedal alien rabbit ruined the franchise long before Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie was hounded off Instagram, and what should have been a dream come true for Jar Jar actor Ahmed Best quickly devolved into a nightmare.
On July 3, Best tweeted a picture of himself holding his son as the two overlook a harbor on a cloudy day. In the tweet, he revealed it was the spot where he once contemplated committing suicide to avoid the backlash Jar Jar and “The Phantom Menace” were enduring.
20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival. Would this be a good story for my solo show? Lemme know. pic.twitter.com/NvVnImoJ7N
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 3, 2018
In Best’s time, Jar Jar was universally disliked and, in some cases, despised. The film’s comic relief character was the butt of every joke and bitter internet forum post during the internet’s adolescence. Leading up to the tweet, Best had previously posted about himself putting on a special 20-year anniversary one-man show for “The Phantom Menace.”
Following the tweet, Best received a wave of support from fans and Star Wars alumni alike. Former Yoda puppeteer and current voice actor Frank Oz tweeted that he always loved the Jar Jar Binks character and never understood the degree to how much people hated him.
Best expressed gratitude for the well wishing and words of support from Twitter, tweeting that it was “overwhelming.” He concluded the tweet by saying he would begin working on the solo show.
Thank you all for your love and kindness. Its been overwhelming. I’m gonna start writing this show. Gonna need help cause I’ve never done this before. I will be trying stuff out and posting it here. Let folks know. Thanks for all your support. It means so very much to me.
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 4, 2018