(Spoilers follow for Aftermath: Empire’s End.)
He returned to Naboo’s capital city and became a clown.
The much-maligned character from the much-maligned Star Wars prequels saw less and less screen time as that trilogy progressed, but he did play a key role in Episode II — Attack of the Clones, pressured into casting a proxy vote in Senator Padme Amidala’s name that gave Chancellor Palpatine the emergency powers he would later use to solidify his position as Emperor and legitimizing the clone army that appeared out of nowhere to serve the Republic in its struggle against the Separatists.
It turns out that the accident-prone Gungan’s role in the creation of the evil Empire did not go unnoticed — or unpunished — on his homeworld. Last seen in Amidala’s grim funeral procession at the end of Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, Jar Jar would later be banished (again) from his native Gungan society, and is seen somewhat as a pariah even among the tolerant Naboo folk, among whom he dwells in the royal city of Theed.
How do we know this?
In Empire’s End, the final volume of the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig, releasing Feb. 21 in hardcover, Jar Jar appears in a brief “interlude” chapter playing to his strength: comic relief.
Aftermath is set in the days after the Battle of Endor when the New Republic is wiping up the remnants of the Empire. Refugee children, displaced and desperate to find safe haven, are taken to Naboo — a planet that has long been involved in such benevolent causes (remember when Padme and Anakin left the planet disguised as refugees in Attack of the Clones?).
Shunned by all but children, the “clown” (what they actually call him) meets and bonds with a marginalized and disabled refugee boy named Mapo.
Only the kids like Jar Jar. The adults, specifically, avoid him. Sound familiar?
It’s a sweet, short scene that acknowledges the character but doesn’t hit us over the head with him; you could argue that his quiet, full-circle exile and his selfless service to other outcasts is a small measure of redemption for the poor, hapless soul Obi-Wan Kenobi once referred to obliquely as a “pathetic life form.” Tragically, in Empire’s End, it seems that Binks still doesn’t fully comprehend the reason for being persona non grata.
It’s just an interlude, a small tale among many interweaving as the Galactic Civil War reaches its frenetic conclusion at the Battle of Jakku. I’ll have more on Aftermath: Empire’s End when I publish my review of the novel next week, when I’ll also try to tackle its political parallels to certain other current Earth events not so far, far away. (Hint: It goes deeper than a refugee crisis).
Note: We intended to hold off on this juicy detail until after Empire’s End publishes next week, but many other sites have since decided to run with the story. Okee-day?
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