Michael Jackson Wanted to Play Jar Jar Binks

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Liam Neeson and Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace.

Jar Jar Binks will go down as one of the worst and most hated characters from the Star Wars universe, but it could have all been so different, and a whole lot stranger, if Michael Jackson had got the role he coveted.

In an interview with Vice, Ahmed Best, the man who voiced Jar Jar in Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, revealed that George Lucas had told him Jackson was keen on the part and wanted to do it in prosthetics and make up.

“That’s what George told me,” he said. “Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids – we were at Wembley Arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as ‘Jar Jar’ and I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird.’ Michael was like, ‘Oh. OK.’ I thought, ‘What is going on?’ After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I’m having a drink with George and I said, ‘Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?”’He said, ‘Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like Thriller.’ George wanted to do it in CGI.”

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Jackson, who never got a chance to make a Gungan din.

Best added: “My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”

Almost universally hated by fans and critics alike, Jar Jar didn’t prove to be the boon to Best’s career that one would ordinarily assume from appearing in the biggest film in the world at the time. But Best didn’t take the abuse personally. "To be 100 percent honest, none us, as we were shooting this, had any idea that anything like this was going to happen,” he says of the reaction.

He added: “At the end of the day, it is the movie business, and if the character doesn’t work for the people who watch the movie then the character doesn’t work. I can’t take that personally.”

Watch our tribute to Jar Jar Binks below