SCOTT’S SABER STRIKES:
How Jar Jar Binks & Ewoks Legitimately Fit Into Star Wars
As geeks, we are passionate about the things we love – especially movies & franchises. With that comes the ability to be fanatical about things we dislike, and we can get really creative in expressing the hate.
In the Star Wars fandom, very few things can get a geek riled up more than the words “Ewoks” or “Jar Jar Binks”. Sure enough, over the years I’ve seen the hatred for these two expressed in different ways, ranging from the Robot Chicken Star Wars special featuring Boba Fett mowing down Ewoks or a fan at a convention holding a serving platter with Jar Jar’s head on it.
Let me just say it’s all fair game. We all have things in the Star Wars universe we like more than others and, as fans, we don’t always have to like EVERYTHING. What I do have a problem with is the objections to the Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks backed with flawed rationale like:
- There’s no way little primitive bears could beat an Empire
- Jar Jar Binks doesn’t belong in Star Wars
Let’s take a closer look at these two points. To say these primitive little bears couldn’t take down an Empire is to also ignore storytelling and history. The underdog beating a powerful force or giant has been a common theme in storytelling for generations. Why? Because we love rooting for the underdog, especially when the “giant” is mean, tyrannical or evil.
Stories like those also inspire us to believe in ourselves and help us understand not to doubt ourselves against what might seem to be insurmountable odds.
Stories like Lord of the Rings (A little Hobbit saves the world against those evil forces?) and Odysseus vs. the Cyclops (little men vs. the giant, man-eating creature) or John Rambo taking on an entire army are prime examples.
Okay, the Rambo one perhaps isn’t the best example. However, it does lead me to my second point. How many times in history (even recent history) has a powerful military force gone into another country’s backyard and had a hell of a time winning the battles? In reality, the Afghans didn’t need Rambo. They defeated the Russians themselves with one of their most powerful weapons – the knowledge of their home terrain.
The Empire fell prey to that in Return of the Jedi. The Ewoks knew that forest forwards and backward. Plus, they knew how to create weapons out of stones, ropes, sticks, and trees to attack troops and destroy an AT-ST (something the Rebels had a terrible time attempting to do on Hoth).
I think the American Revolution is also a great example. In that case, the Americans were the Ewoks and the British were definitely considered to be an empire. We know how that turned out.
When it comes to Jar Jar Binks, I understand some of the complaints. He’s not always easy on the ears when he speaks and he’s sometimes overly slapstick. However, he still has a legitimate place in the Star Wars saga.
We all know that Star Wars is deeply rooted in myth. Jar Jar Binks mirrors mythology’s The Fool in The Phantom Menace, but he also is a key element within the themes of the film. We hear Obi-Wan talk about a symbiont circle in which a set of disastrous events would equally impact both the Gungans and the Naboo. If the two sides couldn’t put their differences aside for the greater good, their societies wouldn’t survive.
Even though Jar Jar is a clumsy, silly & sometimes irritating being that has been banished by his own people – he still has a purpose and his existence has meaning. In this case, he ends up being the catalyst that brings the Jedi, the Naboo, and the Gungans together in order to fight off the invasion of their homeworld.
Another common complaint I’m continuously stunned to hear is that the Ewoks and Jar Jar were made for kids. Well, even though I just explained how it goes way beyond that…there might be an element of truth to the claim.
To which I respond with – “And?”
As John Boyega recently said, “Get used to it.” In fact, you should already be used to it. When Episodes IV, V, and VI were produced, who were some their biggest fans? Kids (even before they created Ewoks). The prequels were meant to appeal to kids as well (and not just the kids-at-heart from the 1970’s and 80’s).
I find it ironic that Robot Chicken created a scene where Boba Fett killed a bunch of Ewoks because I think some fans hate them and Jar Jar for not being as cool or badass as the infamous bounty hunter. This leads me to my last point – it’s a big galaxy out there and not everyone is going to be a great warrior, a character in a cool costume, a stellar pilot or someone who strikes fear in others simply by walking into a room. There are going to be marksmen as well as people who can’t hit anything. There are going those who are agile and graceful with a sword, and troops who can’t enter a room without bumping their head on a blast door.
Most importantly, there are also those who will take you by surprise and make you think twice about judging them by their size. We’ve heard that before, right?
If you’re not a fan of Jar Jar Binks or the Ewoks, this isn’t necessarily meant to change your mind. You have the right to be a fan of whatever you want and you may have some very solid explanations for everything. I’m just reminding you that those characters have the right to be in the Star Wars Saga for some good reasons of their own.Powered by Sidelines