Star Wars has suffered through some horrible merchandise over the years, but nothing hurts the eyes quite so much as the Jar Jar Binks lollipop. Star Wars was far from a guaranteed success in 1977, with the film suffering through a difficult production and post-production. The film went millions overbudget, an early cut proved to be something of a boring disaster, and Fox predicted their other big-budget adventure Damnation Alley stood a better chance of success. The film was also made before franchises and sequels were common, so when George Lucas passed up an additional directing fee in favor of keeping merchandising rights for himself, the studio thought nothing of it.
Star Wars would, of course, become a record-breaking success and spawn a huge franchise. The movie was such a hit that action figures and other merchandise would soon fly off the shelves, which made the director a millionaire. This also enabled Lucas to independently finance The Empire Strikes Back, ensuring he was able to keep creative control over his franchise. The merchandising and licensing rights would eventually make Lucas a billionaire, though the quality of some tie-ins was questionable. From the Yoda Magic 8 ball to the C-3PO Tape Dispenser, there have been some truly shoddy pieces of merch connected to the Star Wars brand.
Naturally, fans of the saga were excited about prequel Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, with Jar Jar Binks being hyped as a major cinematic achievement, as he was the first fully-computer generated character in a live-action movie. Jar Jar was created specifically to appeal to young viewers, though he became widely hated once the movie was released. Viewers young and old found him incredibly grating and unfunny, and while he was supposed to become a new fan favorite, his role was drastically decreased in later prequels. His likeness was also attached to several pieces of merchandise, including the now-infamous Jar Jar Binks lollipop.
Dubbed the "Jar Jar Tongue Sucker," this rather unpleasant looking lollipop features a suckable tongue poking out of Jar Jar's mouth. The design of the Jar Jar Binks lollipop alone should have been enough to convince its makers it was a bad concept, and it has since been cited as one of the Star Wars' worst pieces of merchandise. Even Mark Hamill has called out the "Jar Jar Tongue Sucker" as the goofiest tie-in created for the franchise.
It's hard to know who exactly the Jar Jar Binks lollipop is aimed at since even if the character had proven popular, it's doubtful fans would want to be seen sucking on his tongue in public. In spite of Jar Jar's reputation in Star Wars fandom, he still has an important legacy as the first CG character in a major blockbuster, which would lead the way for character's like Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings or Neytiri in Avatar.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019