Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar Binks in George Lucas’s Star Wars prequel trilogy, has said that he contemplated suicide after the abuse he received for the role.
The 44-year-old actor posted a view from Brooklyn Bridge in New York with his son on Instagram and Twitter feeds, adding that that it was where he almost ‘ended my life’.
“I’ve been thinking of doing a twenty year #ThePhantomMenace solo show next year,” he wrote.
“I don’t talk a lot about my experience as #jarjarbinks because a lot of it is very painful. 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. I’m ready to tell this story but I’m curious to know if a show like this is something people want to see. Lemme know. #depressionisreal #survivor #soninmyeyes #fathersonvacay.”
The role of the hapless Gungan, which ran through all three prequel movies but was most notable in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, was intended as comic relief, but its childish nature became a focus of ire for many fans.
In an interview with Wired last year, Best revealed that he received ‘death threats’.
“I had death threats through the internet,” he said. “I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.
“There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of pain, there was a lot of s**t I had to deal with.
“Everybody else went on. Everybody else worked. Everybody else was accepted by the zeitgeist.”
Though the character was featured in sequels Attack of the Clones in 2002 and Revenge of the Sith in 2005, the role diminished, despite the status of the character being elevated to General of the Gungan Army by the final film.
But an indicator of how little was eventually thought of Jar Jar was seen in the 2015 Star Wars canon novel Star Wars: Aftermath, in which he was reduced to an elderly street entertainer performing for children on his home planet of Naboo.
The militant end of Star Wars fandom has – rightly – come in for some fierce criticism in recent months, particularly in the case of Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran, who was trolled off social media after months of sexist and racist abuse.
The likes of Daisy Ridley and prequel stars Hayden Christensen and Jake Lloyd have also suffered at the hands of those displeased with how the franchise has developed since the first three iconic movies.
Pleasingly, however, Twitter has taken up Best’s remarks and offered support, notably from Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.
Lots of love to you Ahmed. I think there are many of us who’d get quite alot from hearing your story.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 3, 2018
I’m impossibly glad you’re still here.
— Bryan Young (@swankmotron) July 3, 2018
Like so many other Star Wars fans, I can’t express how grateful I am to have you as part of our community
— Star Wars Explained (@StarWarsExplain) July 3, 2018