Best, who portrayed the polarising Gungun in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, told YouTube personality Jamie Stangroom that Star Wars has “skewed older” in recent incarnations, adding: “There isn’t very much for the kids anymore in Star Wars.”
He explained: “It’s very much for the millennials and gen-Xers like myself ... Kids are kind of left out of these, and the kids have to go to the animated series in order to get their dose of Star Wars, or they do like Phantom Menace. Phantom Menace is very much a kids movie.”
Best also suggested that Lucas, who created the franchise in 1977, always believed that losing young fans would potentially damage the long-term viability of Star Wars.
“The new iterations of Star Wars are not really skewed towards kids, which is not something that George ever really wanted to do,” Best said. “George was always about the kids, and he used to say that if you get the kids, you have fans for the next 20 years. He was very much about kids.
Best provided the voice and the motion-capture imagery for Jar Jar Binks in Lucas’ 1999 revival of the franchise. The character proved unpopular, however, with fans ridiculing him and others suggesting the clumsy, Jamaican-accented alien was a racist stereotype.
In 2018, Best revealed that he had considered suicide in the wake of the backlash to the character. Alongside a photograph of his son, Best wrote on Twitter: “I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival.”
Best’s tweet prompted an outpouring of support from fans and Star Wars cast and crew including Rian Johnson and Frank Oz.