Liam Neeson Expresses Personal Discomfort Over Jar Jar Binks Backlash Following ‘The Phantom Menace’

“Myself and Ewan were personally hurt and offended”

Jar Jar Binks in 'The Phantom Menace'Jar Jar Binks in ‘The Phantom Menace’. CREDIT: Disney/Lucasfilm

Liam Neeson has revealed that he and Ewan McGregor were “personally hurt and offended” by the backlash to Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks.

The character (played by Ahmed Best) received a hugely negative reception after making his debut in 1999 prequel The Phantom Menace.

Speaking to Empire about working with McGregor and Best, Neeson looked back fondly, recalling: “Ahmed was so funny and inventive. Myself and Ewan were personally hurt and offended by the critical reaction to the character.”

Last year, Best opened up about the backlash to his character, revealing that he was afraid to leave his apartment after receiving death threats when his phone number was leaked online.

Speaking back in 2018, Best revealed that he contemplated taking his own life in a post on Twitter, where he shared a picture of himself with his son.

“20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today,” he wrote. “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.”

He later explained to The Guardian: “[I thought] I’ll show all of you. I’ll show you what you’re doing to me. And when I’m gone, then you’ll feel exactly what I went through.”

Best also spoke about his recent appearances in the franchise, including as character Kelleran Beq in TV series The Mandalorian.
Ahmed BestActor Ahmed Best attends the premiere of Disney’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on December 16, 2019 in Hollywood, California. CREDIT: Getty/Ethan Miller/FilmMagic
“It really felt good. As an artist, I lost my confidence for so many years, but The Mandalorian gave me that affirmation of ‘You were always doing the right thing … It wasn’t you,’” he said.

In other Star Wars news, actress Daisy Ridley has teased the plot for her upcoming Rey film, saying it is “cool as shit”.

Speaking about working with director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on the film, which will mark the first Star Wars feature helmed by a woman, she told Variety: “I’m excited to do the job, but not because Sharmeen is a woman.

“Her documentaries are amazing. Her idea for the story is cool as shit. No spoilers, but she gave me a rundown of the entire story. If it weren’t amazing, I would have been like, ‘OK, call me in five years.’ But it’s worthwhile.”

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