Jar Jar Binks was a notoriously divisive character in 1999’s The Phantom Menace.
Adult Star Wars fans were irritated and critical of his buffoonery, while children – the next generation of Star Wars fans – loved him.
As those children grew up, they challenged the idea of Jar Jar Binks (and the prequels themselves) as universally hated.
They provided a fresh analysis of Star Wars, from the perspective of fans who saw Episodes I to VI in chronological order.
They saw Palpatine’s rise, and Anakin Skywalker’s fall, from the beginning.
The prequels’ generation presented a new theory on who the true Big-Bad of Star Wars really was: a secret Sith Lord called Darth Jar Jar.
Jar Jar Binks is not canonically a Sith Lord, but many viewers are convinced he is.
What perhaps started as a joke has become one of the Star Wars fandom’s most popular theories.
The evidence lies in Jar Jar’s unusual ability to dodge death, his influence on other characters, and his successful infiltration of the Senate.
Is Jar Jar Binks a Sith Lord? 13 Theories
The evidence for Darth Jar Jar is speculative, inconclusive — and delightfully convincing.
Here, in chronological order, are 13 of the best arguments for Darth Jar Jar.
1. Palpatine and Jar Jar Binks were from the same planet
Three of the main prequel characters are from Naboo: Padme Amidala, Sheev Palpatine, and Jar Jar Binks.
Obviously, Queen Amidala and Senator Palpatine know each other, but it’s possible the latter also knew a certain Gungan outcast.
Perhaps Palpatine sensed a darksider on Naboo long before the events of The Phantom Menace, and began training him.
So when the invasion of Naboo begins, Palpatine’s apprentice is ready and waiting to play his part – to infiltrate the Jedi Knights and, by association, the Queen.
2. Jar Jar is deliberately annoying to hide his true nature
From the moment he appears, Jar Jar is excessively loud, dramatic, and clumsy.
Qui Gon and Obi-Wan quickly learn to not take him seriously, and tolerate him at best.
There’s a very famous Star Wars parallel here – Luke meeting Yoda.
The great Jedi master initially appears as a cute but rather annoying alien.
Despite his Force powers, Luke has no intuition of Yoda’s true identity. He quickly dismisses him as a pest – just as Qui Gon and Obi-Wan do to Jar Jar.
What a perfect way for a powerful, dark Force user to disguise himself….
3. Secret hand gestures showing Force powers
Jar Jar always has elaborate body language, but is this to disguise his use of the Force?
Several times he makes hand gestures that, slowed down, resemble a Force mind trick.
This includes interactions with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, with Boss Nass, and the entire Senate itself.
4. Jar Jar knew Padme was really the Queen
Throughout The Phantom Menace, Padme switches with her handmaidens to become Queen Amidala.
We first meet ‘Padme’ disguised as a handmaiden while Sabé poses as Queen.
Jar Jar just happens to stumble on Padme, out of all other handmaidens, alone. He introduces himself, and the pair begin a life-long friendship.
Was this a deliberate maneuver from Jar Jar to ingratiate himself with the Queen of Naboo?
5. Two Jedi Knights didn’t realize Padme was the Queen
Jar Jar recognizes Padme is really Queen Amidala, but why doesn’t Qui-Gon or Obi-Wan?
How are two Jedi so easily fooled by teenagers swapping makeup and headdresses?
There are two points here that support Jar Jar as a secret Sith Lord:
- Jar Jar used dark Force powers to ensure neither Jedi Knight noticed the ruse
- The Jedi simply did not notice because they’re not as perceptive or sharp as they should be.
The prequels are about the fall of the Jedi due to complacency, and this is a prime example.
If they fell for the Padme/Sabé switcheroo, there’s something else Qui-Gon or Obi-Wan may have missed: that their tagalong Gungan friend is a Sith.
6. Jar Jar told Palpatine they were on Tatooine
The Queen, handmaidens, Jedi Knights, and Jar Jar end up on Tatooine for urgent ship repairs.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are strict about sending no transmissions that might reveal their location.
However, we quickly learn both Palpatine and Darth Maul know exactly where they are. How did they find out?
Maybe because they have a spy on board the spaceship – their secret Sith Gungan – who is telepathically telling them everything.
7. Jar Jar interferes with the pod race to help Anakin win
During the pod race flag scene, we see Jar Jar fiddling with Anakin’s podracer.
Did he use his Force powers to give little Ani an advantage?
Also in the pod race scene: a special shout-out to the redditor claiming the eopie farts on Jar Jar due to a terrified fight/flight response.
The eopie, unlike the Jedi, could sense the presence of a Sith.
8. Jar Jar dodges death – numerous times
From the first time we meet him, Jar Jar is prone to near-death experiences.
While these are played for comic relief, it’s a little uncanny just how adept our ‘clumsy’ Gungan is at dodging death.
Whether it’s falling from high buildings or skipping around gunfire, Jar Jar is astonishingly good at surviving with minimal injuries.
It’s an ability some might consider to be…. unnatural.
9. Jar Jar became a Senator
By the time of Attack of the Clones, Jar Jar has become Senator Padme Amidala’s junior representative of Naboo.
When Padme is forced to leave Coruscant for her own protection, she appoints Jar Jar Binks as her temporary successor.
The question is, why? Surely there were other, much more qualified candidates for the role.
One of Padme’s own handmaidens, for example, who were no doubt well-versed in politics.
Given the repeated assassination attempts of Padme, Queen Jamillia would also have lined up an emergency replacement senator.
So, how did Jar Jar Binks get the position? Did he use a Sith mind trick on Padme?
10. Jar Jar gives Palpatine his emergency powers
A critical point for Palpatine’s rise is being granted emergency powers by the Senate.
And who proposes the motion for this? Senator Jar Jar Binks of course, on his very first day on the job.
What makes this worse is it’s exactly the opposite of what Padme wanted.
She tells Anakin she worked for a year to defeat the Military Creation Act, precisely what Palpatine’s emergency powers will let him create unopposed.
Why didn’t Padme brief Jar Jar Binks on this more thoroughly?
Or perhaps did she, and Jar Jar simply played dumb and ‘forgot’.
11. Jar Jar is high-ranking for a junior representative
By Revenge of the Sith, Jar Jar is once again junior representative of Naboo. Padme has resumed her role of Senator.
But Jar Jar is still a senior political figure. He is among the small welcoming committee for Palpatine’s return to Coruscant – of the 2000 congressmen in the Galactic Senate, a mere junior representative is included.
Meanwhile, the actual Senator of Naboo, Padme, skulks in the shadows to hide her pregnancy.
It seems Jar Jar is a particular favorite of Palpatine.
And of course, when Padme dies, who becomes the new Senator for Naboo? Darth Jar Jar, of course.
12. Palpatine thanks Jar Jar for his emergency powers
Ahmed Best, the man behind the Gungan, revealed there was a deleted scene in Revenge of the Sith between Palpatine and Jar Jar.
According to Best, the pair walked together down a long pathway. Palpatine “kind of thanks Jar Jar for putting him in power”.
The scene was cut, Best believes because it didn’t fit the overall film.
Or is this because it would have been too blatantly clear who Jar Jar really was – a loyal Sith Lord working in the shadows?
13. George Lucas said Jar Jar was very important
In The Phantom Menace behind-the-scenes documentary, director and Star Wars creator George Lucas specifically said “Jar Jar is the key to all this”.
While Lucas explained this was in the context of Jar Jar being a slapstick character, Darth Jar Jar theorists have latched on to this as evidence.
They argue Jar Jar’s reveal as a Gungan Sith Lord was removed from later films due to the character’s unpopularity.
The Darth Jar Jar theory, and its unflagging popularity, is one example of prequel fans reclaiming their Star Wars.
It is a way for them to celebrate, explore and express love for the divisive trilogy they grew up on.
After all, this generation of Star Wars fans were the very children George Lucas wrote the character of Jar Jar for.
Read more: Are Yoda and Grogu Related?