Star Wars Insider #199 landed today and StarWars.com zooms in on my interview with the man behind both Jar Jar Binks and Jedi Master Kelleran Beq of Jedi Temple Challenge, the one and only Ahmed Best.
Star Wars Insider: When Jar Jar Binks was first introduced in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999), he was a character that entertained the younger members of the audience. More than 20 years later in Jedi Temple Challenge, are you pleased to be doing that again for another generation?
Ahmed Best: That’s one of the reasons why I said yes to doing the show. Kids always gave me the positivity I looked for when I was playing Jar Jar. I always got great responses from children, so I wanted to give something back to them. Live-action Star Wars is very much for the millennials and the Gen X-ers like myself, and the younger kids go to the animated series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014, 2020) and Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018) to get their dose of Star Wars, or they watch The Phantom Menace. George Lucas was really about the kids and making sure they were fans of the movies. He would say that if you get the kids, then you have fans for the next 20 years.
Star Wars Insider: How did you assimilate the more technical aspects of becoming Jar Jar — wearing full motion-capture gear and projecting an eye line for the other actors that was a foot above your head?
Ahmed Best: For me, it wasn’t that difficult — but for everybody else it was probably a lot harder! They had to constantly focus on Jar Jar’s eyes and not mine.
What I really loved was going over to Industrial Light & Magic after principal photography was completed, where it was just me, George Lucas, Rob Coleman, and John Knoll. That was when we really figured out the whole motion-capture process, which is still how things are done to this day. Solving those problems and collaborating in that way was the most exciting part to me.