Cue your moonwalking Jar Jar jokes. According to this Vice interview with Ahmed Best, the man who played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels, Michael Jackson wanted to play the character in the movies, but George Lucas ultimately ended up deciding against that approach. I'll let Best take it from here:
That's what George told me. 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.
What a strange thing to think about. Best's version of Jar Jar quickly became one of the most hated characters in film history and emblematic of the prequels' childish tone, and you have to wonder if a prosthetic-wearing Michael Jackson would have altered that perception any. I imagine that just the fact that everyone would have known it was the King of Pop under all of that makeup would have added a layer of legitimacy to the character.
What do you think? Would MJ have changed the perception of Jar Jar Binks (and maybe the prequels as a whole)?