Michael Jackson Tried To Play An Infamous Star Wars Character

By Jason Collins | Updated

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was a certified nerd and a passionate gamer—he actually produced several gaming titles. However, he also nearly became one of the most despised characters in movie history when he expressed the desire to play the goofy Gungan Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.

Michael Jackson Wanted To Portray Jar Jar Binks

This anecdote is often told by Ahmed Best, the actor who voiced and provided motion capture for Binks’s character. As per Best’s accord, he, Natalie Portman, and George Lucas’ kids were at the Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert.

After the concert, the actors and the children were taken backstage to meet the King of Pop. George introduced Best to Michael as the actor portraying Jar Jar in Star Wars and later explained that Jackson wanted to portray Jar Jar, but instead of relying on CGI, he wanted to do it with makeup and prosthetics.

Jar Jar Binks Is Hated By The Fandom

Best also stated Michael Jackson’s star power would be greater than the movie, and Lucas wanted to avoid that scenario. Ultimately, the casting inadvertently worked in Jackson’s favor since Jar Jar Binks is one of the most despised characters in the entire franchise and perhaps the entire cinematic history. The bitter criticism and malice pointed towards the character hasn’t subsided in the slightest in the past 25 years since Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace hit the theaters. But that doesn’t seem to affect Ahmed Best.

Ahmed Best In The Role

The Star Wars actor stated that he has no issues with Jar Jar being the outcast character and that he understands why Jar Jar’s importance was diminished in the subsequent movies. The story took a different turn, and given that the character really wasn’t a fan favorite, it’s reasonable why Jar Jar was scaled down.

Interestingly enough, Best ended up wearing a prosthetic for the role, just as Michael Jackson had suggested. However, the costume only acted as a reference for actors to interact with and for animators to base the performance on.

Michael Jackson Could Have Changed The Movie

Jar Jar Binks is actually the first computer-generated supporting character in a live-action film, and though the portrayal was mostly CGI, there are certain shots in which the costume wasn’t replaced by CGI.

And, as stated before, it would seem that George Lucas did Michael Jackson a favor by denying him the Star Wars role, and it’s entirely possible that Jackson would overshadow the movie or use his star power to influence the story—please note that the latter is mere speculation on our part and something that rarely happens in the industry. Unless you’re Katt Williams.

Michael Jackson In Movies And Gaming

Though he didn’t star in Star Wars, Michael Jackson did appear in several iconic movies between 1978 and 2004, including 1983’s Thriller, 1986’s Captain EO, and 2002’s Men in Black. The King of Pop remains well-known to the nerd audiences for his involvement in gaming; the star composed the music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 but remains uncredited for various reasons.

He also produced his own Moonwalker video game and made a cameo appearance in Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5: Part 2. The latter two are rhythm-based games for Sega Dreamcast and other platforms.