It’s easy to be struck with a massive sense of irony when Jeremy Dick of MovieWeb states that Jake Lloyd will always be remembered fondly as Anakin Skywalker, especially considering that despite the fact that we had a chance to see the character that would become Darth Vader as a kid, he wasn’t respected that much more than Jar Jar Binks or the rest of the movie. In any case, the movie was not Lloyd’s first foray into movies as he took part in Apollo 11 and Jingle All the Way as well, though it’s likely that a lot of people will conveniently forget this fact. One thing that people might not realize though is that apart from being bullied at school about his part in Star Wars, Jake also developed a serious mental issue as he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at one point and began an eventual downward slide that culminated in 2015 with a police chase that eventually saw him locked up for ten months before he was transferred to a psychiatric ward. Obviously this is a serious concern since sticking a person with schizophrenic tendencies in a cell without taking into account their mental state is often dangerous to the individual and possibly to others if the situation goes south. That’s just a massive lawsuit waiting to happen to be sure. Thankfully Jake has been doing better throughout last several years, though the loss of his sister didn’t help in any way as it forced him to close himself off. At this time however it does appear that he might be going far better, as Jeremy Dick printed a statement that reads:
“We would like to thank everyone for their kind words, their support, and goodwill. Jake has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but unfortunately he also has a symptom called anosognosia which causes a lack of insight into his illness. This only adds to the struggle he faces, which has been very difficult after the tragic loss of his younger sister, Madison. He has moved closer to his family and we are all working hard to help him with this. He is still a kind and caring person and we hope to have him back to his fun and entertaining self as soon as possible. Jake will continue to make progress with the love and support you continue to show.”
It would take a seriously hard-hearted person to scoff at any of this, but there are plenty of said people out there who would gladly look at this and wonder whether or not Jake is trying to pull a sympathy act or if he’s just that messed up in the head that he can’t cop to his own failure. That kind of ideology is the type that tends to ignore mental illness in favor of saying that anyone can pull themselves up and out of depression, that anyone can just will themselves to get better. It’s also insanely ignorant since mental illness is entirely real as it’s been discovered and telling anyone the equivalent of ‘get over it’ is a dangerous and arrogant proposition that seeks to ignore something that some folks can’t bring themselves to understand. Whatever Jake has been going through along with the schizophrenia and stress that’s been building throughout the years he’s been seriously worsening up until recently, and while it might not have always shown it’s likely that his role in Star Wars was part of it since he’s stated more than once that he regretted taking on the role after all was said and done, as Jack Beresford of Screenrant writes.
That sounds pretty harsh for anyone that’s been a part of such an epic saga, especially a person that managed to get in and become the beginning of a character that many fans have idolized for so long a time. But unfortunately while Jake isn’t the only one that’s seen his career impacted so heavily by Star Wars, apart from Ahmed Best, he is one of the few that walked away after one movie and never even bothered to consider coming back. The constant interviews, the bullying at school, and the overall stress of being taken from obscurity and made into a massive star was simply too much for the young kid that would eventually become a troubled and very shaken adult. It’s likely better that he ended his career when he did if only because coming back from the Star Wars movies has been difficult for several people and while some have continued forward to reach impressive heights they tend to be the exceptions, not the rule. Typically those that participate in Star Wars need to have an unshakable career already behind them, or a great deal of promise ahead of them, if they’re to continue after the credits begin to roll. Mathew Stevens of CBR has a bit more to say on this subject.
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