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The Mandalorian brings Jar Jar Binks star Ahmed Best back to Star Wars in a pivotal, classy way

March 26th, 2023 by Marc Comments

The last episode of The Mandalorian, The Foundling (So3E04) finally fixed two of the franchise’s biggest issues.

Fan, like myself, who were around in 1999 when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out will recall that, like  Return of the Jedi’s Ewoks, Jar Jar Binks, above, divided the fans with many of the younger viewers loving the addition of a character who appeals to them while many adults downright didn’t like him and, fandoms being fandoms, a few loudmouthed thugs decided that just not liking the character wasn’t enough and they had to lash out at Geroge Lucas, Lucasfilm and, worst of all, to actor Ahmed Best who portrayed Binks.

It was not the first time such things happened – and is far from the last -but it became very high profile, probably because Star Wars is so big, and Best became a figure of ridicule and hate for a small corner of the ‘fandom’ (if you behave this way, you don’t deserve that title, just so we’re clear) and it had a massive, negative effect on the young actor.

Ahmed Best to reveal all about… Darth Jar Jar!

Speaking in 2016 about the backlash, Best said: “Star Wars was my first ‘most hated’ title in anything really. It was painful… I was to be the template for this, so I was kinda working with George to pioneer this new character form of acting and storytelling. On set we were all just so focused on the challenge of it and having so much fun that the post-Star Wars stuff was a surprise. Even though you play characters, you put a lot of your own personality into it, you get emotionally and personally invested in the work that you do, it’s your work and you take pride in it. So when your work is criticised negatively, you feel a hit.”

However, as these things tend to go, over the years Best has become much more appreciated and even Jar Jar isn’t as hated as he once was and fans even hoped we would see him return in Obi-Wan Kenobi last year but sadly, it wasn’t to be.

During Lockdown Best was brought back into the Star Wars fold as Jedi Knight Kelleran Beq for a kids’ game show called Jedi Temple Challenge, sadly it was canceled after one season but the character of Beq made a lasting impression with fans and many hoped/believed we might see him again soon. And they were right.

This brings me to the second Star Wars issue I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article. From day one of The Mandalrian, one of the biggest mysteries was just who rescued Grogu from the Jedi temple during the events of Order 66; there was many fan theories – was it Obi-Wan Kenobi? The Bad Batch, perhaps? Maybe shamed Jedi Bariss Offee? It was a riddle that Star Wars fans had so much fun with… and now we know the answer!

In a flashback to Order 66 and we see several Jedi struggling to get Grogu to safety before getting into the hands of… Beq ! Yes, it was Best’s Jedi who got Grogu out of the temple and to a ship that takes them both off planet and to safety.

It was an answer to the Grogu mystery that no-one saw coming and it’s brilliant! Given the open-ended ending of the flashback, it’s almost certain we will see Best, left, back in the Jedi robes [and with gold trims that make us wonder if he’s connected to The High Republic tales too) in the Mandalorian and perhaps in more Star Wars shows or movies down the line.


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A post shared by Ahmed Best (@bestahmed)

Given how open Best has been about his experience as Jar Jar, even saying it almost drove him to suicide [“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.”], it’s great to see him back in Star Wars in a big way, a pivotal way and hopefully this time, he’ll feel the love that many of us always had for him.

On a little side note, are you aware that Best can be seen in a Coruscant bar in Attack of the Clones too? He plays a background character called Achk Med-Bek, left, and Best has confirmed that the characters, while not the same person and with a slightly different spelling on the surname, are indeed related. I love little details like that… although my head-canon was that he as on, as Anakin called it, Jedi Business and was undercover. But either way, this is some fun stuff.

Well played Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, that was a truly classy move.

Now, who has Jake Lloyd’s number?

Source: Variety

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….