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International Talk Like Jar Jar Binks Day

A year or so ago I picked up a bunch of my old Lucasfilm Fan Club/Star Wars Insider magazines from my parents' house. I had a subscription for about a decade starting in the early 90s. It's been my intention to go through the magazines and look through them with a Jar Jar centric focus.

Star Wars Insider 25

I'm starting with this Prequel Update from issue 25 of the Star Wars Insider, which was released in the Spring of 1995. As mentioned here, this is the first of the Prequel Updates, which was a regular feature in the magazine throughout the production of all 3 films. All credit for the below excerpt goes to the Star Wars Insider and Dan Madsen.

Star Wars Insider 25 Prequel Update

While Jar Jar doesn't get any explicit mention in the article, we can be pretty sure that when Rick McCallum mentions that "Doug Chiang and Terry Whitlatch" have been "working on conceptualizing George's ideas", Jar Jar is amongst those ideas. Terryl in particular spent a lot of time working on coming up with Jar Jar's design, although Chiang and other artists contributed as well.

Also interesting is that at this point, the idea was still to shoot the three films back to back. The idea of filming sequels at the same time became popularized with Back to the Future II and III. Obviously filming the prequel trilogy simultaneously changed by the time that Episode I began shooting, but it really makes you wonder how different the prequels might have been if George was forced to write the scripts to all 3 before filming began. If Jar Jar had been woven into the plots of Episode II and III, and all of that footage shot, would George have been as likely to bow to the audience's reaction? Or would we have gotten a more consistent Jar Jar presence throughout the films because cutting Jar Jar out or doing reshoots would have been too difficult/costly? What might have Jar Jar's role been? Would he have gone to Kamino with Obi-Wan to investigate the mystery of the clones, or gone to Naboo with Anakin and Padme on their love adventure in Episode II? Would he have accompanied Obi-Wan and Anakin when they rescued Palpatine or lead an army of clones during the Clone Wars (he was a Bombad General after all) in Episode III? We'll never know how things would have been different, but it is enjoyable to speculate.

Other things to note: George Lucas hadn't yet committed to directing any of the prequels. Also the new Indiana Jones film that is mentioned here is Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it won't come out for another 13 years.

That's it for this look at Star Wars Insider 25. I'll continue to work through the other issues over the next few months.