Still wondering whose strikingly grey temples best suit Mister Fantastic’s stretchy blue spandex? Ahmed Best, the man behind bumbling Star Wars Gungan Jar Jar Binks, just tossed his proverbial Senate hat into the ring in a tweet to film critic Zaki Hasan. The San Francisco Chronicle writer suspects Reed Richards will be African-American in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given how his direct descendant is Nathaniel Richards, better known by his villainous moniker Kang the Conqueror — and Nate is already being played by Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and season one of Loki.
Best definitely sports Reed Richards’s lean exterior and resembles Majors, so it would make for a rather peculiar, but intriguing, casting. Imagine Jar Jar Binks in a heroic role. Even the character’s occasional fan would agree such casting is thoroughly unprecedented.
Check out Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) responding to Zaki Hasan below:
Mister Fantastic is conventionally white in the comics and most related media, but Disney has been known to race bend characters on account of the interested actor’s skill. It’s much in the same way Halle Bailey is now playing Ariel and Chiwetel Ejiofor made history as Kamar-Taj’s first black Transylvanian sorcerer. Even Ned Leeds, from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films, is a standard blue-eyed blonde in the comics, and yet only achieved his cinematic potential when blind cast into a Filipino-American (played to perfection by Jacob Batalon).
Marvel Studios has flipped the coin occasionally, like having Tilda Swinton, a white woman, step into the robes of the Ancient One, a male Tibetan monk. And they’ve never been wrong once. A black man taking on the mantle of Mister Fantastic as Reed Richards wouldn’t be particularly off, even if it is Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) potentially in the role.
Kang the Conqueror is also typically white in most iterations. All his Variants, save for the Marvel Cinematic Universe equivalent, have been Caucasian men as well. But after seeing Jonathan Majors practically slay the part in Loki, it’s already difficult to imagine anyone other than a black actor playing one of Marvel’s time-honored villains, the same way Jar Jar Binks could only be played by Ahmed Best.
In the comics, Nathaniel Richards is a descendant of both Reed Richards and his archenemy Victor von Doom, implying their bloodlines crossed at some point, which may also point to another scenario: perhaps the MCU’s Doctor Doom is the one who is black, not Mister Fantastic. A mixed heritage would still result in an African-American descendant. Or conversely, a white one, given Marvel already cast Alex A. J. Gardner as Iron Lad, Kang’s heroic teenage Variant, in a live-action adaptation of the Young Avengers.
But Jar Jar Binks as the ruler of Latveria, manipulating world events behind the scenes with his strategic mind, sinister schemes, and natural cunning? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. Anyone crazy enough to vote Emperor Palpatine into higher office would be a shoo-in for the part.
Comedian Ahmed Best drew in legions of fans over his epic portrayal of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels, despite the fandom’s noted hatred for the character. He has reprised the role in both canon and non-canon Star Wars spinoffs, most notably Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II for which he won an Annie Award for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production.
Jar Jar Binks was introduced to audiences in Episode I – Phantom Menace as Qui-Gon Jinn’s tour guide of choice. He helped the Jedi Master and his then-padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi navigate the planet Naboo and was instrumental in the battle against the Trade Federation, where he operated as a General for the Gungan tribe.
Jar Jar Binks befriended Anakin Skywalker as a boy and a young Padmé Amidala, and would later serve in the Galactic Senate as a delegate. Ahmed Best provided the voice and motion capture. Despite his sullied reputation as the worst Star Wars character ever, Jar Jar Binks still holds the distinction as the first fully computer-generated (CGI) individual in a live-action movie.