With so much canon material in constant production, Star Wars has invited plenty of fan theories over the years, but perhaps the most interesting of all is that the widely-hated Jar Jar Binks (but perhaps not as hated as the sequel trilogy) is, or was at least intended to be, a Sith Lord.
The Gungan was introduced in 1999's The Phantom Menace and was a recurring character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After being banished from his underwater city for being "too clumsy" (an eye-rolling-'back story', we agree), Jar Jar played a pivotal role in defending Naboo against the Separatists, and subsequently in the Clone Wars.
However, the character failed to impress fans, and as a result, was relegated to a ‘background' character in Attack of the Clones. While the Gungan is indeed pretty annoying, with his clumsy ways and irksome dialect, it's possible that George Lucas had very different plans for Jar Jar from the start.
In fact, there are many clues throughout The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones which suggest that Jar Jar Binks is, or was at least supposed to be, a Sith Lord in disguise. Agent of the Sith or "pathetic life form" as Qui-Gon so unkindly puts it? Let's look at some of his potential giveaways...
He has interesting athletic abilities
There's no denying that Jar Jar possesses some impressive athletic abilities, such as somersaults and backflips, along with a unique fighting style – something we see the Jedi do more often than not. While of course, these are likely because he's a Gungan, a skill no doubt required for the tall and slender amphibious creatures to move about both underwater and on land with agility and finesse, it's also possible that Jar Jar is a Sith Lord who has been trained in the necessary arts of combat.
With that said, there's nothing elegant whatsoever about Jar Jar's skills – and for the most part, he's just annoyingly clumsy. But perhaps that's the whole point. Maybe his clumsiness is nothing more than a carefully constructed façade, in an attempt to deflect any suspicions that he may be a Force-wielding Sith Lord.
He's ‘Luck sensitive'
We all know that the Jedi and the Sith are ‘Force sensitive' individuals. But, if anything, Jar Jar is actually more ‘Luck' sensitive, given his inane ability to survive anything through dumb luck. Obi-Wan Kenobi states that "there's no such thing as luck" – which, of course, makes sense in the Star Wars universe. In other words, Jar Jar can only be Force-sensitive, because if luck does exist, then why, for example, doesn't Darth Maul's carefully-poised lightsaber blade slip harmlessly beneath Qui-Gon's armpit and not into his abdomen?
The Force is what guides everything in the Star Wars universe, so why is Jar Jar able to survive every threat that comes his way? While we're aware that these hijinks are probably the films' attempt at slapstick in a bid to make the character endearing, thus encouraging younglings to beg their parents for Jar Jar action figures, maybe this is just another façade to throw us off the scent that Jar Jar is a Sith Lord in Gungan's clothing.
He can perform Jedi Mind Tricks
The Jedi Mind Trick is a tool that the Jedi and the Sith can use to influence or manipulate the weak-minded, rendering them compliant, and thus enabling the Force user to carry out their missions successfully. However, there are times when the Jedi Mind Trick is a lot less obvious than on other occasions, and Jar Jar Binks may very well be exercising this subtle art throughout The Phantom Menace.
In the film, upon careful examination, Jar Jar can be seen using peculiar ‘hand gestures' when trying to influence several characters, including Sebulba, Captain Panaka, and even Qui-Gon himself. This is one of the biggest clues that suggest the Gungan is indeed an undercover agent of the dark side.
He helps Palpatine on his rise to power
The most alarming action carried out by Jar Jar Binks is when he uses his political influence as Junior Representative to persuade the senate to give Chancellor Palpatine full power during a time of intergalactic emergency – which, as we know, was Palpatine's plan all along (although the second most alarming action is that Jar Jar managed to secure a job in the first place).
By the time Attack of the Clones begins, Jar Jar is already working in the senate – which is another clue in itself, given the inexplicable progression of such a clumsy disaster-magnet with an evidently low IQ. And the full extent of his influence is revealed when he successfully gives Palpatine a push on his rise to power, which will ultimately see him becoming the Emperor we all know and fear.
Still not convinced by ‘Darth Jar Jar'? Even George Lucas has gone on record to state that Jar Jar is his favorite Star Wars character, and that he's "the key" to the entire saga. Talented motion-capture actor Ahmed Best even shared a Tweet in 2015 that said, "I will say this, it feels really good when the hidden meaning behind the work is seen. No matter how long it takes. #TPM".
Following the release of The Phantom Menace, many 'fans' were quick to launch their vitriol towards Best, who portrayed Jar Jar in the prequel trilogy and voiced him in The Clone Wars.
Whether you're convinced or not, it's still worth revisiting the prequel trilogy so that you can pay close attention to Jar Jar - you'll even notice there's a somewhat creepy element to him, in the way he lurks in the background behind characters, perhaps listening in to what they're saying for all the wrong reasons. But, if by the time you're finished you're still not a fan of this wild theory, well, wee'sa find yous'a lack of faith disturben…
The Star Wars universe hasn't stopped growing since its inception in 1977, while more recent years have given us The Clone Wars, the sequel trilogy, two spin-off movies, brand-new shows such as The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch, upcoming projects such as Ahsoka, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, The Book of Boba Fett and the second season of The Bad Batch and third season of The Mandalorian, as well as anthology anime series Star Wars: Visionsand an open-world video game from Ubisoft, in which we hope to explore the faraway galaxy.
So, while you may be one of Jar Jar's haters, there are still plenty of characters to love in the Star Wars universe. And though we'll likely never get to see him as a Sith Lord, there may be redemption for the Gungan character yet, with all the new live-action shows on the horizon. With that said, it's unlikely he'll ever headline his own show.