Star Wars draws from a lots of sources, some more obvious than others. It’s fascinating that Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Disney‘s Goofy all inspired one character from the saga. Here’s how the actor who portrayed Goofy responded to the revelation Goofy inspired a Star Wars hero.
The movie stars who inspired a famous ‘Star Wars’ character
According to Syfy, there were several inspirations for this character — as well as several artists behind him. One of them was concept artist Teryl Whitlatch. He said two classic Hollywood actors influenced the character — Charlie Chaplin and Danny Kaye.
“Jar Jar [Binks] had more of a Charlie Chaplin and Danny Kaye aspect, where he had a certain grace,” Whitlatch recalled. “Those were the two actors to look at as far as Jar Jar’s personality and how he moved and such.” Jar Jar is a comedic character, so it makes sense Chaplin and Kaye — two comedic actors who starred in many classic comedies — would influence his development. It’s also interesting how Whitlatch saw a funny character like Jar Jar as possessing “a certain grace.” In a similar vein, Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar, said his portrayal of the Gungan was inspired by a comedic actor — in addition to a pair of action stars.
“Jar Jar was very much [silent movie comedian] Buster Keaton, and I was a huge Buster Keaton fan,” Best said. “Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, like it was always physical for me.” Keaton made movies which are very different from those of Chan and Lee, a pair of martial arts icons. However, they were all known for their stunts, so it’s easy to see how they inspired Jar Jar’s physicality. In addition, MTV News reports Lucas said a cinematic icon inspired him to create Jar Jar — specifically, a Disney icon.
Jar Jar Binks’ connection to old-school Disney
“I can’t even begin to tell you how much of an influence Disney has had on me,” Lucas said. He then revealed “one secret that nobody knows: Not many people realize that Goofy was the inspiration for Jar Jar Binks.” Lucas said this information could change people’s perception of Jar Jar.
“I know that you will look at him differently now,” he opined. “It’s pretty obvious, actually, but, um, I love Goofy and I love Jar Jar.” Someone who’s helped make Goofy an icon weighed in on this revelation.
Bill Farmer has been playing Goofy since 1987. He’s most famous for voicing the character on the show Goof Troop and the related film A Goofy Movie. Responding to Lucas’ comments, he said “There’s only one Goofy. And Jar Jar is Jar Jar and Goofy is Goofy. He’s got a few Goofy traits in there, but he’s his own character.” Jar Jar is a controversial icon — and he wouldn’t be the same without several other icons.
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