Some time back, I introduced you to the Jabba Glob, a slime-spewing action figure that looked to be the strangest Star Wars toy ever made.
And while a vomiting Jabba is certainly tough to beat in the weirdness department, I may have found something that tops it:
From 1999 — apparently the definitive year for wackadoo Star Wars merch — it’s the official Jar Jar Binks Pez Hander.
Based on the scene from The Phantom Menace where Jar Jar tries to swipe a bite from a Mos Espa food vendor, the fact that such an inconsequential moment in Star Wars history became a toy isn’t nearly as surprising as the fact that said toy dispenses Pez.
First, get reacquainted with Gragra. You should remember her as the food vendor who didn’t take kindly to Jar Jar’s sneaky tongue. A “gorgmonger” (nickname for anyone who sold barbecued alien frogs), Gragra looked like a cross between Grimace and a Cenobite. (Of all Star Wars species, the Swokes Swokes may be the hardest for our limited intellects to fathom.)
For any Mos Espa visitor hungry enough to eat fried space frogs, Gragra was there. While I’d have to rank her level of cinematic importance as being somewhere between Wioslea and Orrimaarko, she did inadvertently introduce audiences to Sebulba. So there’s that. I leave it up to you to decide if this merited a motorized Pez dispenser.
While somehow not the only toy to commemorate the scene where Jar Jar tried to steal food with his snake tongue, I must admit that this one really does look good. Made in roughly the same scale as the associated action figure line, it’s just as colorful and detailed as the time’s “real” Star Wars toys.
Of course, what makes the Jar Jar Pez Hander such an oddball isn’t just what it looks like, because 95% of Star Wars toys look strange. That’s one of the reasons we love them! No, this time, it’s mostly about the action feature.
See that button on the platform below Jar Jar? You won’t believe what happens when you press it!
Through a motorized function, real Pez candy (two packs were included with the toy) spits out of Gragra’s oven. While this is happening, Jar Jar pushes his tongue into position to grab it. Ever the altruist, Jar Jar then offers his Pez to you. You’re literally meant to pick Pez off of Jar Jar Binks’ tongue.
Oh, and while all of that goes on, Gragra chops gorgs with a black butcher’s knife, oblivious to the nonsense right beside her. None of this seemed too out there in the movie, but as a Pez dispenser, I feel it should be the focus of so many master theses.
That video is just one of many from YouTube users who were just as impressed with the Jar Jar Binks Pez Hander as I still am. Please watch it. Watch it, and then keep an activity log for the next few weeks, to see how it changes you.
The Jar Jar Binks Pez Hander has remained a cheap and easy find on the collectors’ market, owing either to its obscurity or to the fact that there isn’t a big market for motorized Pez dispensers that lean so heavily on Jar Jar Binks’ tongue. If you feel like you need one, it shouldn’t cost you much.
Is it worth tracking down? Yes! When I called the toy “weird,” I meant it as a compliment. “Weird” is its strongest suit, and it wears it like an Armani. Even if you have no interest in the candy, the Jar Jar Binks Pez Hander is a wonderful display piece. It’s bright, it’s detailed, and it’s capable of inspiring discussions that won’t end until dawn.
Or ever, really.