Prequel Trilogy

StarWars.com: “8 things you might not know about Gungans”

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From StarWars.com:

“The long-eared amphibians from Naboo have been represented by brave warriors like Captain Tarpals, or clumsy outcasts like Jar Jar Binks, but the Gungans have a rich history that might surprise you. Care to dive into a sea of fun facts about the water-dwelling, duck-billed creatures?

1. There are two main Gungan races.

If you’ve seen The Phantom Menace, you’ve probably noticed that the Gungans of Naboo come in varying shapes and sizes. There are some that look more lanky like Jar Jar and Tarpals, and others that have a quite different stocky body type like the leader of the Gungans, Boss Nass. This is because the Gungans can be split into two major races, the Otolla and the Ankura. The familiar Gungans we saw fighting in the Battle of Naboo are the Otolla, and you can tell their race from their long, skinnier body frames and long haillu, or floppy ear-like body parts. The Gungans like Boss Nass are called the Ankura, and they’ve got much shorter bills, hooded eyes, and a more rotund body frame. We haven’t seen many in the Star Wars universe because the truth is, there aren’t many left. The Ankura are a much older species of Gungan than the more common Otolla.

2. They have a sacred space. 

Another more reptilian group of humanoids known as the Elders also inhabited Naboo once upon a time. This species actually were in conflict with the Gungans, but little is known about what the two sides were fighting about. The Elders eventually died off, but their massive statues still stand in a location called the Gungan Sacred Place and we all got a peek of it in The Phantom Menace. Rewatch the scene where Jar Jar Binks brings an undercover Queen Amidala to visit with Boss Nass to negotiate an alliance. The heads poking up from the swampy marshland could be of the species themselves or of the gods they worshiped. The Gungans often choose to gather at the Sacred Place during times of fear and anxiety.

3. Jar Jar resembled a few different animals.

When the concept for Jar Jar Binks was being created, artist Terryl Whitlach knew he had to be a comedic character with a lot of personality. His legs and body were gangly from the start, but what his face and neck would look like was still up for debate. The Gungan took a year and a half to get just right, and first iterations had him closely resembling a duck. When he was made to look more friendly, his look took on a droopy-looking dog. Finally after a debate about his coloring (few real underwater creatures are actually green) and more changes to his nose and mouth, the designers settled on the orange-hued familiar face we know and love.

Fun fact #1: Jar Jar’s goofy antics were inspired by the comedy legends Charlie Chaplin, Danny Kaye, and even Walt Disney’s Goofy.

4. The actors that played Jar Jar and Boss Nass didn’t exactly try out for the parts.

When you think Gungan you probably think Binks, and this list wouldn’t be complete without focusing on Jar Jar. The bumbling Gungan was brought to life by actor Ahmed Best and his casting call was an interesting one. Casting director Robin Gurland discovered Best while he was performing in the show Stomp, a theatrical percussion show being held at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theater. The part of Jar Jar was taking a long time to fill, so when Gurland caught eye of Best performing animatedly with a kitchen sink around his neck, she knew he was just right. The part took a specific combination of mobility and voice acting that Best proved to have once he was invited to meet with Gurland and unknowingly recorded. Another famous Gungan, Boss Nass, also had a unique casting. Brian Blessed got Gurland’s approval as an actor that needed to be in the film before the character of Nass was even established. Once they were on the look-out for someone with a “bigger than life” persona, Blessed had the part. […]”

Read more at StarWars.com.

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