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The Mandalorian: Ahmed Best Says ‘Coming Back to Star Wars Wasn’t an Easy Decision’ Due to Jar Jar Experience

Mandalorian Ahmed Best
Mandalorian Ahmed Best
Courtesy of Disney+ (inset: Lucasfilm)

Ahmed Best had to think long and hard about guest-starring in the latest episode of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, due to the “rollercoaster ride of emotions” he endured as the prequel film trilogy’s Jar Jar Binks.

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A floppy-eared Gungan introduced in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar was met with some backlash — either framed as a blatant ploy by Lucasfilm to cater to kiddies, or criticized as a “Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit on platform hoofs” (as the Wall Street Journal put it back in the day). Regardless of the accuracy of such attacks, “Because of the backlash, and rightfully so, Lucasfilm backed off of Jar Jar” in subsequent films, Best once shared.

Having navigated that difficult time — and going into it as a huge Star Wars fan, no less — Best told that when The Mandalorian came calling with the role of Kelleran Beq, a Jedi who rescued Grogu from the Order 66 assault, “Honestly, I had to think about it.”

“I’ve been in the Star Wars world for such a long time and my story is such a rollercoaster ride of emotions,” he shared. “So coming back to Star Wars wasn’t an easy decision for me. It wasn’t something I could have immediately said yes to. I did have to marinate over it for a bit.”

Some of that deliberation stemmed from Best wanting to protect The Mandalorian.

Mandalorian Kelleran Beq
Kelleran Beq (Disney+ screenshot)Disney+ screenshot

“I really want Star Wars to deliver, and if I become an obstacle to that, then I shouldn’t be in it. I don’t want to be bigger than the story,” he said. “I want to contribute, I want to add to it. So it took me a minute,” before executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni “made me want to come back.”

Best first portrayed Kellern Beq as the host of a Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, an online quiz show aimed at kids. So, “to see that then migrate over to The Mandalorian is really super special,” he said.

Especially since Beq served such a heroic role, as the answer to the question: “How did Grogu survive Order 66, which we know he laid witness to?”

“I know this might not be cool to say, but I want everyone who watches Star Wars to look at Kelleran Beq and go, ‘I believe that guy. I want to follow that guy. Where does he go? What happens next?’” said Best. “I think all the best stories are stories that leave you wondering what happens next.”

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