By my calendar it’s only the beginning of November, but for Star Wars fans, Christmas has come early (or Life Day, or whatever). There was no shortage of reasons why the Star Wars prequels were, for the most part, godawful, ranging from anemic scripts to poorly directed actors to a seemingly terminal inability to understand why all of us fell in love with Star Wars in the first place. But if there is one glaring worst offender, one totem that single-handedly sums up everything wrong with the prequels — and if that thing is not named Jake Lloyd — then it has to be Jar Jar Binks. Where to even begin with his sins? He’s a crass bit of kid-pandering at its most obvious; he’s comic relief that is never funny; and he causes you to lose respect for Qui-Gon and Anakin when they don’t immediately slice him in half with a lightsaber the first time he says “meesa.” Thankfully, Jar Jar has finally done the one thing we all wanted him to do from the very start: die.
Sadly, no, his death isn’t being snuck into Episode VII as an olive branch to concerned fans by director J.J. Abrams. Instead his violent and enormously satisfying demise comes via the so-called Phantom Editor, who has taken a deleted scene from The Phantom Menace and improved upon it ten thousand times by having Jar Jar die in the profoundly stupid way he so much deserved: toppling over a waterfall because he’s too stupid to get out of the boat. Although if you ask me, I’m thinking Obi-Wan might have used the Force to give that securing spike just the slightest…little…nudge…
Here’s the original video for comparison:
No court would ever convict. In fact, I’d like to give him a medal. All the medals. Ah, if only this were canon. Oh well, there’s still the chance to bring Hayden Christensen back for an Episode VII post-credits sequence where an elderly Luke Skywaler beats Anakin’s Force ghost to (second) death using a pillowcase filled with brass doorknobs. A fan can dream.
The Phantom Editor is a pseudonym for American editor Mike J. Nichols. Back in 2000 he created an unauthorized re-edit of The Phantom Menace — called The Phantom Edit — that he believed resulted in a much better version of a deeply flawed movie. It’s nice to see him popping back into the spotlight to give us this most wonderful gift. Thank you, Phantom Editor — you’re our only hope.