‘Star Wars’ Actor Reflects on Suicide Attempt, Fan Abuse From the Past

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(L) Ahmed Best (R) Jar Jar Binks

Credit: Inside The Magic

Star Wars actor recently spoke up and revealed shocking revelations about his attempted suicide and how the fanbase reacted after his casting in one of George Lucas’s films.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

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‘Star Wars’ and Its Toxic Fanbase

The fans of the biggest franchise in world history are not the type to be messed with. Their love for the films that George Lucas goes beyond the limits of the franchise. The roots of toxicity within the Star Wars fanbase can be traced back to the release of the prequel trilogy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While these films garnered mixed critical reception, they also marked the introduction of Star Wars to a new generation of fans. Long-time enthusiasts of the original trilogy often felt a disconnect with the latest movies, leading to heated debates and, unfortunately, a rise in toxic behavior. With the advent of social media platforms and internet forums, fans gained new avenues to express their opinions, providing a breeding ground for divisive discussions. As the franchise continued with new films, spin-offs, and television series, the polarization within the fanbase only intensified.

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The toxic behavior within the Star Wars fanbase has had several adverse effects, including:

  1. Creativity Stifled: With creators facing relentless criticism and harassment, some may hesitate to explore new ideas, leading to stagnation within the franchise.
  2. Alienation of New Fans: Toxicity and gatekeeping can discourage newcomers from engaging with the fandom, depriving the community of fresh perspectives and enthusiasm.
  3. Negative Publicity: The toxicity displayed by a segment of the fanbase has led to negative media coverage, potentially affecting the franchise’s reputation and broader fan perception.
  4. Psychological Toll: Toxic behavior can take a significant emotional toll on those targeted within and outside the Star Wars community.

The 4th item on this list dealing with the psychological toll reflects on the fanbase and how it has been towards a few actors from the film franchise. People like Ahmed Best, who portrayed Jar Jar Binks in the prequel trilogy films in the early 2000s. Recently, the actor spoke in an interview detailing his attempted suicide and the harsh backlash he got from the Star Wars fanbase.

Ahmed Best as Kelleran Beq in The Mandalorian
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Ahmed Best Speaks Out Publicly on Attempted Suicide, Toxic Fanbase Backlash

Ahmed Best made his triumphant return to the galaxy far, far away in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian (2023). He portrayed Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, who ultimately saved Grogu’s life during Order 66. But everyone knows him as the actor who represented one of the most controversial characters since Rey – Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan from the swamps of Taboo. In 2020, the actor mentioned how he would return to the role of Binks if the right story came along. But recently, Best spoke on a Ted-produced podcast titled The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks, where he shared some new insights into his suicide attempt after playing Binks in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace (1999). The actor remembered and spoke about how he clung to the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City one night at around 3 in the morning. He hung 40-meters high with one thing in mind – the abuse he experienced for playing Jar Jar Binks. The actor went on to mention the following:

I’ll show all of you. I’ll show you what you’re doing to me. And when I’m gone, then you’ll feel exactly what I went through.

Here I am, a significant character who changed movies, and then I’m a footnote – I barely appear.

I feel so ashamed of the fact that there was actually a human victim in that.

I want folks who listen to recognize what I contributed to the history of cinema. Culturally, Black invention has been repeatedly erased from history and that is an injustice. Since 1997, no other Black man has ever played a main CGI character and that’s a travesty. That has to change and I hope that is recognized.

Best continued to share his thoughts on the entire ordeal, everything that led up to the events, and his decision to stay alive and live on as a legacy in the Star Wars universe. For fans worldwide, their love for Best grew and has remained high ever since. In this instant, toxicity in any fanbase should not be tolerated and should be dealt with accordingly. Please respect someone’s decisions, especially an actor or actress like Kelly Mary Tran from the sequel trilogy, to portray a character they were picked for and did their best to present something new and someone others can relate to.

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