When Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, hit cinema screens for the very first time, it was met with incredible anticipation. After all, the return of a beloved franchise after two decades was not to be sniffed at. The outcome may have been underwhelming once fans laid their eyes on the finished product (a divisive statement depending on the decade a Star Wars fan is born in) and that in part could be down to a Naboo nuisance that goes by the name of Jar Jar Binks. Jar Jar proved a controversial figure, so much so that his role in the Star Wars prequel was greatly diminished over the course of the three movies. Now though, fans can see Jar Jar Binks return in another Disney blockbuster.
The House of Mouse product that Jar Jar Binks has blustered his way into is none other than Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers. The Disney+ movie that premiered on May 20 featured a bizarre mix of animation styles and also a whole host of cameos and easter eggs from across Disney’s extensive back catalog of characters and films, from Pumba to Lumiere, an adult Peter Pan and a vehicle reminiscent of the sentient automobiles in Cars. Now, in an exclusive piece of artwork, it has been revealed that Jar Jar Binks was going to be a part of the action as well, with his likeness clearly seen in this storyboard provided by @robotoperator, aka storyboard artist Simeon Wilkins, on Instagram.
The eagle-eyed Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers viewers will know that Jar Jar Binks didn’t make the final cut of the movie, a fact that is noted in the caption of the above Instagram post. Jar Jar was intended to feature in the Fan Expo chase sequence of the movie but was ultimately replaced by Ugly Sonic in the sequence. Ugly Sonic of course harks back to the disastrous first release of a trailer for the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog movie, where the fan backlash towards Sonic’s garish appearance was so fierce, that the studio behind the film (Paramount) redesigned the character. The cutting from the final film will be painfully reminiscent for Jar Jar, given his continually stripped-back role in the Star Wars Saga. However, it is surprising that Jar Jar didn’t make his way into the new Chip ‘n’ Dale film in another scene, given that the likes of Batman made the cut in the Disney animation.
Could Jar Jar Binks’ ill-fated attempt at making it into another Dinsey product spell the end of his time on fans’ tv and cinema screens? Given the alarming rate of new Star Wars projects coming out, as well as the character reprisals and live-action debuts for characters that first featured in one of the many Star Wars animated series, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jar Jar Binks pop up somewhere in the Star Wars universe once again. Some reports have suggested that the divisive Gungan will appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Whether or not this will prove to be prudent or true remains to be seen but given the power of nostalgia in ensuring Disney+’s success with Star Wars, if it were to occur, Jar-Jar’s return would likely be widely celebrated.