Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best appears on ‘The Mandalorian’ as a Jedi

Ahmed Best is best known for playing the controversial character Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. But in this week’s episode of “The Mandalorian,” he added another, human character to his Star Wars resume. Best made a cameo as a Jedi master named Kelleran Beq. 

In “Chapter 20: The Foundling,” Best played Beq in a flashback to Grogu’s escape from the Jedi temple when it was under attack by Order 66. Beq, who works as a teacher of young Padawan at the temple, finds the baby Yoda alone in an elevator, and fights off clone warriors with two lightsabers (his nickname is “the Sabered Hand,” and his double-wielding prowess shows why) as he gets the child out of the building. 

This actually isn’t the first time Best has played Kelleran Beq. As Entertainment Weekly notes, he first portrayed the Jedi in 2020, when he hosted in character a children’s game show called “Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge” that streamed on YouTube and the Star Wars Kids website. And in another level of mythology, Best also had a brief cameo in “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” as a nightclub patron named Achk Med-Beq, a play on his real name. According to Best, the Beqs are related.   

In a previous interview with StarWars.com, Best said this about Kelleran Beq: “I think what’s the most important about the representation of someone like Kelleran Beq as far as being a person of color and the leader of this Temple – kind of like the Dean of Jedi – is it breaks down what’s possible. It breaks down what you can do, and creates just a brand new world of possibilities out there.”

It’s pretty special that “The Mandalorian” found a way to incorporate Kelleran Beq in his canonical role as a teacher of Jedi children. He’s the same guy whether he’s a game show host or a fighter and protector. And it’s really special that Best gets to return to Star Wars as a hero after everything that happened with Jar Jar Binks, the most infamous character in Star Wars history. Best voiced and performed motion capture for the silly Gungan character throughout the prequels, most prominently in “The Phantom Menace,” the first and most for-children of the prequel trilogy. The character was very poorly received, with many fans finding him annoying at best and offensive at worst. Best took the negativity – which included death threats from extremist Star Wars fans – very hard, and has said he considered suicide.       

But he made it through, and he’s still part of the franchise. It’s something of a redemption story – not that Best did anything wrong in the first place. It’s just really nice that he gets to do something cool and heroic after he was treated so badly for so many years. 

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