Never one to shy from controversy, the franchise creator and director of four films in the series beamed in a video message the Star Wars Celebration fan event in Chicago.
It was shown as part of the panel sessions to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the first prequel movie, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which he said was one of his favourites in the franchise.
Jar Jar ‘is my favourite character’, he told fans in the message, adding that Ahmed Best, who played the role of the hapless Gungan warrior-turned-Galactic ambassador, ‘did a fantastic job’.
“It was very, very hard,” Lucas added.
Ahmed also appeared at the celebration, fans chanting ‘Ahmed! Ahmed!’ as he took to the stage with fellow Lucasfilm alumni Warwick Davis and Anthony Daniels, accompanied by thundering applause.
Read more: George Lucas consulted for Star Wars 9
“You guys are gonna make me tear up and I’m an unattractive crier,” he said.
AHMED ❤️ AHMED ❤️ AHMED ❤️ AHMED ❤️ pic.twitter.com/qRLl9RT25P
— Ash Crossan (@AshCrossan) April 15, 2019
Last year, he revealed that he had considered suicide in the aftermath of the movies, such was the criticism he received for his performance.
But he said that it was the birth of his son which pulled him from the edge.
I’m overwhelmed with the love and support I got at today’s @SW_Celebration #phantommenace panel. It was very difficult not break down in a puddle of gratitude tears. Thank you each and everyone. Your love is felt so greatly. #jarjarbinks #starwars #theprequels #muchlove
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) April 15, 2019
“20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life,” he wrote in a tweet, with the Hudson River in New York in the background.
“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.”
he was flooded with support at the time, from the likes of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, and even Frank Oz, the legendary actor and puppeteer behind Yoda.
Read more: Jar Jar’s sad fate revealed
“I just will never understand the harshness of people’s dislike of him. I do character work. He is a GREAT character!” Oz said.
This year’s Star Wars Celebration was dominated by the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Check it out below…