Michael Jackson Wanted to be Jar Jar Binks

By James O Malley on at

Michael Jackson's legacy would probably look very different if history had turned out another way. It has emerged that the singer campaigned to be cast as Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace back in the late 90s.

The bizarre revelation came from an interview in Vice with Jar Jar actor Ahmed Best, that was picked up by Entertainment Weekly.

If you need reminding of Jar Jar, this YouTube compilation should do the trick:

It seems though that Jackson missed out on the role because he was perceived as being too famous, and bigger than the film. Plus, he wanted to use practical effects and not CGI, which must have absolutely horrified Lucas during his cultural vandalism years. When Vice asked him if the Jackson story was true, Best said:

"That's what George told me. Me, Natalie Portman, and George's kids—we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson's concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as "Jar Jar" and I was like, That's kind of weird. Michael was like, "Oh. OK." I thought, What is going on? After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I'm having a drink with George and I said, "Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?" He said, "Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like 'Thriller.'" George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don't think he wanted that."

What do you think? Would Jacko have improved the part? Or could Episode 1 have been worse? [Vice via EW]