How Star Wars Made Jar Jar Binks Even Scarier Than a Sith Lord
WARNING: The following contains spoilers from Star Wars: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle: Dawn of the Droids #1, on sale now from IDW Publishing.
The Star Wars Universe is getting spooky again. Following up on the 2018 Tales From Vader’s Castle comic series, Ghosts of Vader’s Castle: Dawn of the Droids. by Cavan Scott, Francesco Francavilla, Megan Levens and Charlie Kirchoff, starts the series off with a Jar Jar Binks who is far more terrifying than the Sith Lord that some fans have reimagined him as.
The issue opens on a holo-conversation between siblings Milo and Lina. Milo is on the planet of Orchis 2 with an amalgamative droid called Crater. They are searching through an old, familial home that the Empire had used as a library before abandoning it. Meanwhile, Lina is elsewhere preparing for a meeting with General Syndulla. She is the same Lena that crash-landed on Mustafar back in the Tales From Vader’s Castle series, so when Milo mentions finding what appears to be diagrams of Darth Vader’s castle, Lena is visibly shaken.
After their conversation, Milo starts talking to Crater about how he wishes that they could have a change of scenery because all of the old, dusty artifacts are starting to get to him. He, then, proceeds to tell Crater about a horrifying dream that he had had the other day. They had found a report about a Republic senator and her Jedi bodyguard, and in the dream, Milo was the bodyguard. In his dream, the senator is, of course, Padme, and Milo is Anakin. Against the wishes of the Senate, they are investigating a planet called Rubinero with Jar Jar Binks, R2-D2 and C-3P0. There have been no communications from the planet in a while, and when they arrive, it appears to be deserted. The only thing there is a lot of droids. They split up to cover more ground, and that’s when trouble starts.
When 3P0 shows back up, he is infected with some kind of a droid virus. He has green eyes, is hunched over and shuffling along. On top of that, he is extra strong and missing an arm. The protocol droid attacks Anakin, who proceeds to cut him in half, but the possessed 3P0 literally pulls himself back together with his internal wires.
While Anakin is fighting C-3P0, all of the other zombie droids come alive in the same, possessed way. They attack the others, so when Anakin gets free, they all try to make a break for the shuttle. Anakin, though, has a problem, his cybernetic hand is corrupted by the virus and tries to keep him from running. That’s when Jar Jar comes to the rescue. He hurls a serving tray through the air, severing Anakin’s robotic arm and freeing him from its infected influences.
R2-D2 also becomes infected when he tries to save Anakin from C3-P0, which leaves only Anakin, Padme and Jar Jar able to make a getaway. While flying away, they recount the incident, but Jar Jar won’t participate in the conversation. So, Anakin goes up to him and sees that, somehow, he has been infected by the droid virus too, becoming like a zombie. He starts to attack them, but that’s when Milo woke up, ending the dream.
The whole story leans into the horror potential of the Star Wars Universe, especially the final image of the green-eyed, possessed Jar Jar. However, this isn’t the first time that an evil Jar Jar has been associated with Star Wars. Ever since The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar has been one of the laughing stocks of the franchise, and many fans have suggested that he is intentionally clumsy as a disguise for his real identity as an evil Sith Lord. Although the idea of an evil Jar Jar is popular and may have been in the planning stages at one point, the idea is too ridiculous for Star Wars canon as it stands.
Since this story is a dream with no direct bearing on the rest of the Star Wars Universe, it has the narrative freedom to turn Jar Jar and the Droids into horrifying, intimidating figures that make the future Darth Vader run away scared. However, this Jar Jar is no Sith mastermind; he’s still very much the character he was in Phantom Menace. In keeping with his canonical depiction, this Jar Jar still ultimately bumbles his way into trouble. But this time, the Gungan’s ineptitude has unleashed a techno-organic virus that poses an existential threat to all life in the galaxy.
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