Potential SPOILERS: The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 delivered a surprise cameo and meaningful return to the franchise for the actor, Ahmed Best. Originally, Best was the actor behind the infamous clumsy Gungan Jar Jar Binks. In the latest episode of the series from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, directed by Carl Weathers, Best is now Kelleran Beq, the Jedi who was instrumental to Grogu’s survival of Order 66.
Prior to becoming a Jedi in the Star Wars franchise, he was the supposed comic relief for the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy that starred Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker for Episode 1, then Hayden Christensen for Episodes 2 and 3, Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala, and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The prequel trilogy told about Anakin’s journey into becoming Darth Vader as well as the rise of the Empire led by the Emperor Palpatine played by Ian McDiarmid.
The fans found the alien character far from hilarious, and for years Best has been on the receiving end of negative comments and becoming the punchline for many shallow Star Wars jokes. Needless to say, the actor did not find the experience charming at the very least. There are even reports that stated he felt it to be the lowest time of his life.
Perhaps the only relief is that not a lot of people would know that he was Jar Jar Binks outright. Since the character Jar Jar Binks has a heavily layered computer-generated image, Best only gave Jar Jar his voice and body movements.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 Makes Kelleran Beq Canon
In an article from Variety, Best was quoted saying:
It hit me. It came right for me. I was called every racial stereotype you can imagine. There was this criticism of being this Jamaican, broken dialect, which was offensive because I’m of West Indian descent — I’m not Jamaican. It was debilitating. I didn’t know how to respond…
Recalling a time when he was at his darkest time, he said:
The depression hit me. Hard. I was just broken. The only thing I could think of to make me feel better was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. But this time when I walked across the bridge, I didn’t see the lights of Manhattan. I didn’t see the towers [or] the potential of hard work and ingenuity. I didn’t see anything; I just saw a fog.
Every bit of his sadness boiled down to emotional exhaustion when he stated:
I felt tired of having to explain myself. I felt tired of having to defend myself and defend my work. I felt tired of having to fight back against racism and the racial stereotypes. I just wanted to play a part. I was exhausted.
He talked about his experience four years ago in an interview where he shared his time that he had to fight back against racial stereotypes while he only wanted to work. That night at the Brooklyn Bridge, he said:
A gust of wind came at me and I caught myself. That’s when I woke up. I thought to myself if I was really about it, if I really wanted to do this, if I was really about that life, I would have let that gust of wind just take me.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Could Show More Cameos
Years later, he still recalls the time portraying the role with wonder. However, as soon as he is reminded of how people reacted to the role at the time, it is then that it hurts. However, getting the realization on that bridge years after opened him to see his life differently.
Posting a photo which he took of himself with his son almost twenty years after that night opened a floodgate of support for him from people, making him realize he isn’t alone. People who also watched him play Jar Jar Binks during their younger years have let him know how they appreciated him in the role.
Now, Best is another character in The Mandalorian. During the scene where Grogu remembered the last time he was at the Jedi Temple, Best is the Jedi Kelleran Beq. He was the one who saved Grogu during the Great Jedi Purge or the Empire’s execution of Order 66. Kelleran Beq was able to take him from the Jedi Temple and off Coruscant in a Naboo Starship.
There is even an impression that the Jedi character will appear again sometime in the future for other projects within the same timelines. Perhaps, another flashback scene in future episodes of The Mandalorian as well.
Interestingly, this episode in The Mandalorian Season 3 is not the first time Best took on the role of Kelleran Beq. He first appeared as the Jedi in a web series called “Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge,” a game show from the YouTube channel Star Wars Kids. In the series, young contestants conquer challenges to become Jedi knights.
From a web game show, the character is now officially in The Mandalorian which is, of course, a series canon to the Star Wars franchise. It is also fitting that he’d be among the Jedi who takes care of the younglings. Considering that the previous game show is on the premise of Jedi training, it makes sense that he would be ensuring a youngling survives and is brought to safety.
What do you think of The Mandalorian bringing Ahmed Best’s Jedi Kelleran Beq into Grogu’s back story? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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