Because the “Darth Jar Jar Hypothesis” keeps cropping up, I’ve decided to weigh in. (It’s the result of a very, very long and detailed Reddit post a while back alleging to have identified clues sprinkled throughout the movie indicating that George Lucas’s original intent was to have Jar Jar be a shadowy Sith all along…)
Okay. Walk with me here:
Once upon a time, a King sends a brave Knight and his Squire to rescue a Duchess that is being held hostage by the kingdom’s greedy trading guild. Along the way, they encounter a jester, a boy of prophesy, and uncover an evil plot whereby Dark Knights plan to overthrow the King. Victory leads only to more perplexing clues, hinting that the threat may be deeper than anyone imagined, as one of the Duchess’s closest allies on the Royal Court may himself have aspirations to become King.
Sound familiar? It should. But, it’s not Shakespeare, nor is it Arthurian legend. It’s the plot of Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace… and evidence that Lucas intended to reinvent the classic feudal fairy-tale. (Insert Jedi before Knight, replace Squire with Padawan, use Queen instead of Duchess, Supreme Chancellor instead of King, etc. It’s all there.)
So, why do I bring this up? Well, it’s important for the take-down.
Punchline: The entire premise of Darth Jar Jar is complete and utter nonsense, a classic case of the logical fallacy of confirmation bias, and I can prove it.
Sure, I could talk about how Jar Jar being a Sith all along violates one of the episode’s first rules about the Sith and is therefore impossible on its face – “Always two there are, no more, no less…”
Or, I could point out how when Jar Jar, (who is clearly an amphibian alien), makes a long, frog-like leap many body lengths in distance (like a frog), this no more indicates a “force jump” than Jar Jar’s lightning-quick, frog-like tongue indicates use of “force tongue”…
Or, I could even mention how Jar Jar jiggling his shackled hands when asking for help with his shackled hands no more indicates use of “force-suggestion” powers than did his waving gesture when he directed the Jedi toward the underwater city. (“Meesa show you!” — did Jar Jar make the Jedi follow him?)
All of these details aside, the takedown here relies on nothing more than fundamental, classic archetypes in literature.
I give you: The Fool.
Commonly expressed as a Jester or non-malicious Joker, the Fool is one of these fundamental characters, often depicted juggling, nomadic, and oblivious while beginning a journey with all of his possessions on his back. So, just for grins, let me list off a few of the common attributes of the Fool as an archetype to see if it reminds us of anyone:
- Commonly used as comic relief, (but it is not their only purpose in a story).
- Possesses a high degree of innocence.
- Is astonishingly lucky despite being completely incompetent.
- Leaves a trail of destruction behind them without ever meaning to.
- Symbolizes beginning a new journey.
- Ultimately capable of acts of heroism.
Examples of this type of Fool in modern storytelling range from Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau to Pirates of the Carribbean’s Jack Sparrow or even Forrest Gump.
So… From being banished from a city for a clumsiness-induced destruction spree to his blubbering numb-tongue moment at Anakin’s pod-racer test, and from accidentally taking out several droids and tanks at the Battle of Naboo to stepping in Mos Espa poodoo… do I even have to conclude in text that these attributes describe Jar Jar’s character to a tee?
Combine this knowledge with my point in the beginning of this post, where we already know that Lucas was interested in a new spin on classic character types, and all of the so-called “hints” and “clues” in the original Reddit post description of Darth Jar Jar are either misidentified descriptions of one of these classic attributes of the Fool, (with a particular nod to the line of thought that “No one is that lucky!”), or they’re reaching past more obvious explanations to find things to make Jar Jar a hidden Sith (like the amphibian jump).
And as if Jar Jar as The Fool character wasn’t obvious enough, Jar Jar is LITERALLY JUGGLING at two moments in the film (in Watto’s shop and while atop a Federation tank):
So, please, folks. The dark side has clouded everything, and the answer is much simpler than it might appear. Take a look at classic literature before engaging in CyberTroll Warfare regarding Jar Jar = Leader Snoke stuff I see cropping up here and there.
Jar Jar is a Fool, not a Sith… and always was.