(CBS4) — Director George Lucas stunned many fans with an announcement at an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.’

“It’s one of my favorite movies and of course Jar Jar is my favorite character,” Lucas said in a video message to fans.

The amphibious alien has been widely ridiculed critics and fans — and Jar Jar Binks came in dead last in a Huffington Post ranking of 93 Star Wars characters.

A figure of the character Jar Jar Binks from the Star Wars movie The Phantom Menace sits next to a figure of Princess Leia from the original Star Wars trilogy in a display at FAO Schwartz 07 May 1999 in Garden City, NY. (credit: MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)

The actor who performed the motion capture and voice for Jar Jar, Ahmed Best, told Wired he actually got death threats. In a tweet posted last year, Best implied the role was still impacting his career and said he had even considered taking his own life.

Best told TMZ that the statement from Lucas is helping him heal old wounds.

“George saying what he said last weekend has put me on a really strong path to healing,” Best said. “I have a ways to go.”

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