I'm not some lower life form you can kick around.
—Jar Binks, responding to comments made by Jedi Master Jard Dooku, about his intelligence
Jar Binks was an Otolla Gungan and the exiled Crowned Prince of the Gungan Empire during the Invasion of Utapau. Born on Utapau to Gungan leader Gorgr Binks, he enlisted in the Gungan military in the city of Otoh Gunga at a young age where he served as the watchman of an ancient relic, called the Kaiburr crystal by the government of Utapau. During this time, Binks’s father died and it was decided that Binks was too young to take the throne, so he was replaced as leader of the Gungans by Rugor Nass. The assignment to guard the relic, which was his duty as the Crowned Prince, eventually led to his exile, as a female colleague named Scortora distracted Binks and allowed the Utapau government to steal the relic. This caused the Gungan High Council to exile Binks to the surface of the planet.
Two years later, the Trade Federation shipping cartel invaded Utapau in retaliation for the planet’s support of the Republic Anti-Slavery Law. Binks encountered Jedi Master Jard Dooku and Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the forests and offered to bring them to Otoh Gunga for safety, provided that they helped him gain favor with the Gungans so he would be accepted back into the city. The three were arrested upon entry into the city and taken before the Gungan High Council. Dooku was able to secure them a transport, as well as secure Binks’s freedom from the execution he would face due to his return. The group later arrived in Utapau’s capital of Ogana where they rescued Queen Sabé Arcadia and her advisers from their Federation captors and escaped on the planet onto a royal starship, setting course for the desert planet Tatooine.
Jar Binks was born on Utapau as the Crowned Prince of the Gungan Empire to an unknown woman and Gorgr Binks, the leader of the Gungan Empire, in the decades before the Invasion of Utapau. Binks grew up in Otoh Gunga, the capital city of the Gungan Empire in the Aquarian Ocean, with his father. Sometime during his youth, Binks joined the Gungan military, during which time his father also died. Binks was deemed to be too young to become the leader of the Empire, so Rugor Nass became High Councilor of the Gungan High Council in Binks’s place.
As the Crowned Prince of the Gungan Empire, Binks’s assignment in the military was to guard an ancient relic, referred to as the Kaiburr crystal by the government of Utapau, which supposedly held the healing power of the Gungan gods. During this time, Binks became infatuated with a fellow officer named Scortora. Unbeknown to Binks, Scortora was later approached by the Utapau government and manipulated into distracting Binks, presumably in a sexual manner, so they would be able to steal the relic as they believed it was brought to the planet by the minion of a Dark Jedi called Xendor thousands of years earlier.
Carrying out the Utapau government’s orders, Scortora approached Binks in 24 BBY and, according to the Gungan prince, said all of the right things that enabled her to distract him long enough for the Humans from the Utapau government to steal the relic. When Binks returned to his post and found that the relic was missing, Scortora was executed for treason while Binks was stripped of his crown and banished to the surface of the planet. Binks also found out that Tarpals, a captain in the military who was originally hired by Nass while a mercenary whom Binks also had a physical rivalry with, was involved in his exile. Binks lived in exile on the surface for two standard years.
In 22 BBY, after two years of exile, Binks was trying to find ways to gain favor with his people so his banishment could end and allow him to return home. When the Trade Federation shipping cartel invaded Utapau in retaliation for the planet’s support of the Republic Anti-Slavery Law, which outlawed the use of slave workers by Galactic Republic corporations operating outside Republic territory, Binks was in the forests as the Federation troop transports began making their way through. Binks witnessed an older Human Jedi Master named Jard Dooku attempting to outrun a transport, so Binks decided to save Dooku’s life and claim that Dooku owed him a life debt, as demanded by the Gungan gods, and present the Jedi Master to the Gungan High Council as a show of good faith.
Dooku, who believed Binks was a lower life form due to his indigenous aquatic roots, refused to adhere to the life debt, which was negated anyway once Dooku saved Binks from blaster fire shot by Federation forces. Binks was introduced to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was being chased by the Federation forces when they fired towards them, and found out that the two Jedi required refuge from the Federation and transport to Ogana, Utapau’s capital city. Binks agreed to take them there, so long as they helped him gain favor with his people. Although initially reluctant, the two Jedi ended up agreeing to help and Binks began to lead them to Ogana.
Hours later, they arrived on the shore of the Aquarian Ocean, where Binks warned them that the Gungan people were not welcoming to outsiders. They swam underwater towards the city of Otoh Gunga, and once they arrived inside they were immediately confronted by Captain Tarpals and a number of other Gungan guards. After a verbal exchange of insults, Binks and Tarpals fought one another. While it seemed that Binks had won, Tarpals eventually defeated Binks and arrested him and the two Jedi. Tarpals brought them before the Gungan High Council, where Kenobi attempted to gain assistance from Nass in dealing with the Federation invasion. Nass refused due to past disagreements with the Humans, so Dooku was able to convince Nass with the Force to provide them with a transport. Although reluctant, Dooku was also able to free Binks from his impending execution, for breaking the banishment, by claiming Binks owed him a life debt.
The Gungan High Council provided the group with a bongo transport, which they would take through the ocean’s core to reach Ogana. While in the core, Binks explained the reasons for his exile, telling the Jedi that he was banished for not paying attention. Dooku mocked the admission, but before they could continue their conversation the bongo was attacked by an opee sea killer. They attempted to fight back using a defense system on the transport, but they were inadvertently saved by a sando aqua monster that ate the sea killer. Once the bongo was in the clear, the group continued on its way to Ogana.
The bongo carried the group through the core for hours before they arrived in Ogana. Half of a standard hour later, Binks and the Jedi found Utapau Queen Sabé Arcadia and her advisers being led to a Federation internment camp by a group of battle droids. Binks and the Jedi attacked the droids, but Binks was momentarily distracted when a Federation tank shot cannon munitions towards them, separating Arcadia from the group. Binks rescued Arcadia and they introduced themselves, but Binks found himself untrusting and somewhat prejudiced because Arcadia was a Human. After the droids were dispatched, security Captain Panaka led everyone to a nearby hangar, where they once again dispatched a group of droids before boarding the queen’s personal starship. The ship left the planet and was attacked by Federation vessels in orbit, which damaged the ship’s shield generator. An astromech droid was able to repair the engine, allowing the ship to proceed past the Federation blockade and set a course for the desert world of Tatooine.
Personality and traits
Because of his exile, Binks had a sense of determination that drove him to find a way to return to Otoh Gunga and regain favor with the Gungan people. He saved Dooku’s life in the hopes of having the Jedi Master swear a life debt, and Binks was disappointed when the life debt was eventually negated. Despite this, Binks was able to use Dooku and Kenobi’s need for safe refuge to get them to agree to help him regain favor with his people. Even though he did manipulate them, he did have a desire to render assistance even if the personal gains he would make were a driving force behind the decision to help.
Binks had many enemies, such as Tarpals and Rugor Nass, so he was able to avoid becoming overly emotional in regards to situations with them and when others insulted him. Although Binks did admittedly become frustrated when Dooku presumed him to be a lower life form, he was still able to work with the Jedi Master that mocked him for hours while on their way to Otoh Gunga. Binks was not able to control his emotions the same way when he was verbally put down by Tarpals, as the exchange between them was what caused the fight that Tarpals won to break out.
The exiled prince was also reluctant and embarrassed to talk about his banishment, feeling that it was something that others would look down upon. His fear of that was confirmed when Dooku mocked him for being banished due to not paying attention, but Binks nonetheless told the story of the crystal and how Scortora’s treason led to Binks’s banishment. The banishment also caused him to be somewhat prejudiced of Humans of the government. After Binks saved Queen Arcadia, he was reluctant to speak with her and became aggravated in her presence.
Talents and abilities
Having been a member of the Gungan military and an exile in the forests, Binks was able to gain a supposed high level of fighting and defense skills that could be used in combat or to defend himself from wild predators in the forests. Binks used these skills against Tarpals when they fought upon Binks’s return to Otoh Gunga with the Jedi, and the two Jedi were surprised to see that a person they assumed to be more primitive than most sentients had, from their perspective, such prowess and ability. Even with his skill, Binks lost the fight with Tarpals, who always believed that he was better than Binks due to their past history with one another. Once Binks and the Jedi arrived in Ogana, Binks was able to successfully use his abilities against the Federation battle droids that had captured Queen Arcadia and her advisers.
Binks also felt he was skilled in piloting bongos. He gained the knowledge of how to pilot one while was in the military, but he did not use them for nearly five years before leaving Otoh Gunga with Dooku and Kenobi. He had to take a few minutes to re-familiarize himself with the craft’s controls, but the necessary knowledge returned to him and allowed him to pilot the bongo through the ocean’s core to Ogana, despite the attack from the opee sea killer.
Behind the scenes
In the Alternative Star Wars Saga series of novels, Jar Binks is a re-imagined version of the canon Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Brandon Rhea, author of the first narrative where the re-imagined Binks first appears, Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One, has described the canon character as a “blithering idiot” and his own version as a more serious interpretation of the character. The idea to have Binks as the exiled Crowned Prince of the Gungan Empire after Rhea read a message board posting stating that the Gungans in the prequels were a missed opportunity and could have been a “great race of aquatic warriors”. Rhea agreed with this assessment and created the character accordingly. Rhea has also stated that Binks, in Rhea’s mind, has a soft British accent in order to help provide a more serious characterization.
Binks did not originally start out as a Crowned Prince in the Alternative Saga. When Rhea first began working on his rewrites of the films, he planned to begin with a brand new Star Wars: Episode IV and leave the three prequel films intact. This would have necessitated Binks remaining a “blithering idiot”, as Rhea put it, when the character was first set to appear in Star Wars: Episode V before being killed off later on. Rhea, however, would have attempted to given the character more of a purpose and a “much better storyline” before his death. Rhea has neither confirmed nor denied that these are his intentions for the current incarnation of the character.
The first appearance of the current incarnation was not in a narrative, but rather in an Alternative Saga article on the Star Wars Fanon Wiki, the Star Wars wiki of fan invention. In an article titled Xendor Taral, a Dark Jedi Bendu who broke away from the Order of the Jedi Bendu of the Ophuchi, Rhea featured the Kaiburr crystal and stated that upon Taral’s death, one of his minions brought the relic to Utapau where it was discovered by the Gungans. The Humans stole the relic, but Queen Arcadia of Utapau eventually returned the crystal to Prince Binks after the end of the Invasion of Utapau.
Atarumaster88, a fan fiction author and occasional critic on the Star Wars Fanon Wiki, has stated that Binks as the Crowned Prince could “either turn out to be amazingly innovative and refreshingly inventive, or...astonishingly flat and hideously obnoxious”.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (First appearance)