• Mattie Stu

Star Wars: Where Are They Now? – Ahmed Best

Before landing the role of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels, Ahmed Best contributed to the success of acid jazz group Jazzhole, co-writing and co-producing three albums for the band. In 1995 he joined the cast of the Obie Award winning Stomp, which helped him land the role of everyone’s favourite Gungan. Casting director Robin Gurland admired his flexible and athletic movements in the aforementioned production, and so cast Ahmed as Jar Jar Binks. Despite Best’s best efforts, excuse the horrible pun, fans quickly turned on his performance, and many to this day still claim Binks is the worst Star Wars character ever. Although Ahmed’s portrayal of Binks continued after the prequel trilogy, even making fun of the character in episodes of Robot Chicken, he has dipped his toes into many other acting waters. To this day, Best continues his love for both the silver and small screens…

Ahmed Best’s performance as Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace earned him two career damaging awards, both being for the Worst Supporting Actor. Although Best has managed to move on from the backlash he received, the actor described the negativity as “painful”. One of the reasons Ahmed took on the role was because it was a real challenge; a CGI character like Binks hadn’t been done before. He and George were so focused on the challenge and having fun that the criticism was a surprise, a surprise he took personally. Whilst Best realises that the target audience for Binks was children, and that they did like Jar Jar, he wouldn’t rush back to the silver screen for another portrayal as Binks:

"I think I've done my damage. I'm good with where I stand in the Star Wars universe."

“I think I did what I did, and I thought it was great… and now it’s time to move on.”

Although Best reprised his role as Binks in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and voiced the character in several Star Wars games, he has largely moved on from the galaxy far, far away. As of 2006, Ahmed has appeared in seven movies, five TV movies, and fifteen TV series, most notably appearing in Big Time Rush alongside fellow Star Wars alumni Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor and Daran Norris. He is currently working on various acting and musical projects, and is even developing a comedy with Seth MacFarlane titled ‘2 Black Dudes.’ Despite all of the criticism Best has had thrown his way, there’s no denying he’s a talented actor, not to mention a hilarious guy. Whether or not the public still sees the names “Ahmed Best” and “Jar Jar Binks” as interchangeable, the actor is more than ready to move on from his Star Wars days, and hopes to prove a lot of critics wrong…

So, what do you think about the story of Ahmed Best? And were you like the many who hated the Jar Jar Binks performance? Let me know in the comments below. Before I go, just a fun fact: Michael Jackson really wanted to play the clumsy Gungan. I personally can’t picture what that would have been like!

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