The last three editorials that I have worked on have been relatively lighthearted, with topics including American gun violence, the Paris tragedy and pretentious academic writing. This week, I need to talk to you about something serious.
We all have cursory knowledge of Darth Vader and The Emperor, but with Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to become the most commercially successful film of all time, I think it is appropriate to clue the public in on the rich history of the series’ notorious villains. Who are the Sith? Where do they come from? Is Jar Jar Binks a Sith Lord? With these questions in mind, I charge ahead, traversing the vast terrain that is the Star Wars extended universe in hopes of unlocking the secrets of the dark side.
Before they were lightsaber wielding villains, the Sith were a race of humanoids from a planet outside the known galaxy known as Moraband. While they were aggressive and warlike, it was not until the race was forcefully interbred with Dark Jedi – Jedis who were exiled by Jedi order – that they began to resemble what we see in the movies. The Sith civilization grew in isolation of the Republic for thousands of years, with the two only knowing of each other through faint whispers, legends and bedtime stories.
This all changed when a series of wars – including the Hyperspace War – pitted the two against each other. At the culmination of the Hyperspace War, the Republic not only decimated the Sith army, but waged total war against its civilians and homeworld. It is thought that this massacre suffered at the hands of the Republic sealed the life-long hatred between the two groups.
Fast forward to the present, in anticipation of The Force Awakens, one brave Reddit user by the name of Lumpawarroo took to the web to present a brilliant theory that posits Jar Jar Binks as the greatest Sith Lord in history. Binks, who is perhaps the most critically and publically lamented movie character of all time, is commonly believed to have been put in the films by George Lucas with the sole purpose of marketing to children. His clumsy, stupid and racist portrayal of a frog-like sidekick was meant to bring “comic” relief to the already overly-juvenile prequel series; however, this theory attempts to flip the conventional understanding of Binks on its head.
Lumpawarroo cites a myriad of evidence in support of the claim. For example, despite leaving a hopelessly clumsy first impression, Binks’ fighting style is undeniably effective; many have drawn parallels between it and an ancient style of fighting used by Shaolin Monks. This, combined with his ability to perfectly execute 20 foot summersault maneuvers and his apparent use of mind control to influence critical moments, makes a strong case for Jar Jar being force sensitive. More importantly, Binks and Emperor Palpatine were remarkably close, with Binks eventually reigning in the end of democracy by granting emergency powers to the then Chancellor Palpatine. Of course, we are led to believe that he does so unknowingly, but a more exciting interpretation reveals Binks to be the puppeteer Darth Darth Binks, the true phantom menace.
If true, this theory would immediately grant legitimacy to the prequels, transforming them from a poorly disguised attempt at making money into the darkest, more diabolical series of all time. The twist would be so enormous and surreal that it would feel like a page taken straight out of David Lynch’s playbook; who, interestingly, was asked by George Lucas to direct the original Star Wars series (Coincidence? I think not). Not only would the trust of millions of children be betrayed in one swift swipe, but seeing this clown turn into the most feared villain of all time would shake the very foundations upon which we have constructed our understanding of reality.
Unfortunately, The Force Awakens provided no definitive answer as to the truth of this theory. With that being said, I think there is something we can say with certainty: if not a Sith Lord, Jar Jar Binks is a meta-Sith Lord. I know what you’re thinking – that’s the smartest thing I have ever heard. But please, let me elaborate.
What I mean by this is that, if Binks is not a Sith Lord, then he is the worst character of all time. Indeed, he personifies all the reasons why everyone despised the prequels so goddamn much: he is annoying, offensive and boring. However, my claim is something more; for not only does the character prey on the susceptibility of children for money, but he uses the power inherent in the Star Wars legacy to do so. Thus, the character of Jar Jar Binks – or should I say Darth Darth Binks – embodies the evil teachings of the Sith in a way that transcends the series itself.
Image: Cliff Nielsen