And wanted to do it in ‘Thriller’-style prosthetics.

Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best has revealed that the character was almost played by Michael Jackson in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

In an interview with Vice, Best – who provided motion capture for the CGI character –  believes Jackson was passed over by Star Wars creator George Lucas because he was too famous for the film.

“Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids — we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as ‘Jar Jar’ and I was like, That’s kind of weird. Michael was like, ‘Oh. OK.’ I thought, What is going on?

“After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I’m having a drink with George and I said, ‘Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?’ He said, ‘Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like ‘Thriller.” George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”

Best originally revealed the anecdote in a Reddit AMA last year, but it was assumed to be a joke. Jackson was a noted Star Wars fan however, with a sizeable collection of memorabilia.

Whether Jackson would have prevented Jar Jar Binks from being quite as irritating as he was we’ll never know, but in terms of Star Wars “what ifs” it’s up there with David Lynch almost directing Return of the Jedi.

Earlier this week the rumour surrounding Jackson’s involvement in the 1990 hit ‘Do The Bartman’ was laid to rest.

 

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