Jar-Jar Binks may have been created for comedic value, but Star Wars has just revealed the most bloodthirsty and dangerous Gungan ever.
The latest Star Wars novel, Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, reveals the Gungans were actually dangerous 200 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. George Lucas always believed Star Wars was mainly for children. As a result, when he returned to the franchise to launch the prequel trilogy he made sure to add in something for the kids. He created Jar-Jar Binks.
He could never have predicted the backlash. Some of the criticisms were valid; Jar-Jar felt like a racist caricature, with his accent and speech patterns feeling like a mockery of natives of the West Indies. But they were frequently overstated, so much so that Jar-Jar actor Ahmed Best actually contemplated suicide.
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Charles Soule’s novel Light of the Jedi reveals the Gungan’s shouldn’t be judged by Jar-Jar alone, or even by the rest of the species shown in Episode 1. The book is set at the peak of the High Republic Era, 200 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It introduces readers to a group of space Vikings known as the Nihil, who recruit members from any world or tribe. One of them is a Gungan named Wet Bub, and he is most certainly not child-friendly. Here’s how Wet Bub is introduced:
“Sometimes people figured Wet Bub was called that because he was a Gungan… but that wasn’t the only reason. Used to be, when he’d go on raids, he’d end up covered in blood, head to toe. Like, soaked. Happened enough times that people got to calling him that, and he never killed anyone who said it, so he must have liked it. Hard to tell what Wet Bub did or didn’t like, sometimes.”
Wet Bub is a far cry from the comedic Gungans created by George Lucas. In fact, not only is he a brutal and bloodthirsty killer, he’s also a slicer – the Star Wars equivalent of a hacker, able to break into the most sophisticated computer systems. He’s been practicing that skill since he was a child, and he’s apparently used it to do “all sorts of ugly things in his personal time. Intrusive, cruel things.” Things so vile even the rest of the Nihil figure it’s wisest just to turn a blind eye to them because they don’t want to acknowledge them at all.
Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi can thank the Force they ran into Jar-Jar Binks, not Web Bub or the prequel era equivalent. While he’d probably have been more of an efficient ally in the battle against the Trade Federation than Jar-Jar (he most certainly wouldn’t have made so many pratfalls), he’d then have turned on the Jedi as well. Fortunately, Web Bub will have been long forgotten by the time of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
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