International Talk Like Jar Jar Binks Day

So the title of this post should hopefully be warning enough for anyone who wants to avoid spoilers for the recently released novel "Queen's Shadow", but just in case it wasn't - if you don't want any spoilers whatsoever for the book, you should stop reading now. 

"Queen's Shadow" takes place in the time period between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. It deals with Padmé Amidala trying to figure out what she wants to do after her time as Queen of Naboo has ended, and how she handles her transition from Queen to Senator. It also spends a lot of time dealing with Padmé's handmaidens, particularly Sabé who is the secondary protagonist of the novel. The book takes place primarily on Naboo and Coruscant.

Naturally I was curious as to whether Jar Jar Binks would appear in the book, because at this point in the timeline Padmé knows him, and eventually he becomes a representative for Naboo in the Senate as well, so it certainly seemed possible that he would have a role in the story. Then I watched an interview on The Star Wars Show with the author E.K. Johnston where she's specifically asked if Jar Jar is in the book, to which she responds: "There's a little bit of Jar Jar. By request, by request, there is a little bit of Jar Jar." You can watch the interview below.

But here's the thing: I read the book, and there was no Jar Jar in it! There was one sort of allusion to him, but he doesn't make an obvious appearance. After finishing the book, I was confused as to why the author would claim that Jar Jar is in the book, when is isn't. The initial conclusions I came to were: 1.) She was lying 2.) She was referring to the aforementioned allusion to Jar Jar 3.) She did include him, but his scenes were removed by the book's editor or 4.) she was lying. But then I thought, there's another possibility. What if he did appear in the book, but it wasn't obvious that it was him, or he was in disguise? Most of the characters that appear in the book are characters we already know like Padmé, her handmaidens, Sheev Palpatine, senators like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. The new characters are all described in detail, like Captain Panaka's wife Captain Panaka or a journalist who Sabé interacts with, so it's unlikely that he is disguising himself as one of them. Then I remembered that there was a mysterious and ominous unnamed character who appears a few times. Padmé never sees the speaker, only overhears him giving commands to Senator Bonteri.

Here's one passage featuring that character.

Padmé gets a bad feeling from this individual whenever she hears him speak. My initial thought was that this was Count Dooku or perhaps Sheev in his Darth Sidious form. But what if it's actually Jar Jar? What if E.K. is a subscriber to the Darth Jar Jar theory and put this in as an Easter Egg for the Darth Jar Jar fans? Because if Jar Jar has a speaking role in this book, it pretty much would have to be this character. Everyone else is named. Sure, the mysterious character never says "yousa" or "mesa" but Darth Jar Jar might not speak in the same way that normal Jar Jar does.

Is this far fetched? Probably. But if Jar Jar isn't this character, then why did E.K. lie to us? To boost sales from Jar Jar fans? Maybe. 

All that said, I really enjoyed the novel. It was a very quick read and lets us know what Padmé was doing between Episodes I and II and gives a lot of great insight into the whole handmaiden system. Jar Jar or no Jar Jar, I'd suggest picking it up.