International Talk Like Jar Jar Binks Day

Jar Jar could have had a doglike companion in The Phantom Menace

Did you know that during the development of The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar Binks was occasionally drawn with a pet/sidekick called a blarth? It’s true. Terryl Whitlatch, principal creature designer for Episode I, and the artist probably most responsible for the look of Jar Jar Binks, drew several sketches of the lovable Gungan alongside the doglike creature.

Early Jar Jar concept with blarth

Early concept art of Jar Jar with a blarth by Terryl Whitlatch

The creature first appears in the pages of the The Art of Star Wars, Episode I – The Phantom Menace book by Jonathan Bresman. In the text accompanying one of the drawings done by Whitlatch it is actually referred to as a “blarf”, and is said to be “based on a real-life boxer dog name Abigail.” Whether calling it a “blarf” was a mistake on the part of the author, or the name eventually changed, is unknown.

Jar Jar and a Blarth play

Jar Jar and blarth play by Terryl Whitlatch

It doesn’t appear as if the idea to pair Jar Jar with a blarth got too far into production, and it’s unclear if George Lucas ever had any plans of actually featuring the animal in the film. It may have just been an idea that Whitlatch was playing around with and never went beyond that.

Nevertheless Whitlatch did not forget about the creature entirely. When her and author Bob Carrau released the The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide in 2001, they provided a number of facts about blarths as a species. It’s also in this book that the name is definitively spelled “blarth” and not “blarf.”

Portrait of a blarth

Portrait of a blarth

According to the book, blarths are “medium-size predators that feed primarily on nyorks, bowlumps, gullipuds, yobshrimp, yobcrabs, and any other small crustaceans and shellfish they can easily subdue.” Blarths have been “kept as household pets and watch-animals by Gungans since prehistoric times.” They “drool constantly” and their saliva is used by the Gungans for “skin lubricants, perfume bases, cleaning solutions and strengthening agents/amendments to bubble-city walls.” Their name comes from the “low burping sound they make ‘blarth, blarth, blarth…'” Females give birth to “three to four pups once or twice a year.”

Although blarths didn’t make it to the screen in 1999, it’s not hard to imagine that if a Jar Jar series was ever made for Disney+, and Gungan life was examined more deeply, the creatures might find their way into it. 

What do you think? Would you have liked it if Jar Jar had a pet blarth in The Phantom Menace? Would you like to see them in some future Star Wars project?


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