Ahmed Best as Kelleran Beq in 'The Mandalorian'

One of Star Wars’ Most Unfairly Maligned Actors Opened Up About His Return

When Kelleran Beq was standing in front of the elevator, ready to save Grogu, in the most recent episode of The Mandalorian, fans were beyond excited to see Ahmed Best returning to Star Wars as a Jedi. Best known for his role as Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace and then subsequent movies in the prequel trilogy, Best has struggled with Star Wars fans in the past, especially those who have been less than kind about his character.

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Still, he’s dipped his toe back into the franchise, hosting the game show Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, helping three teams of Padawans become Jedi Masters. So, to see that character make his debut in the canon Star Wars world was surprisingly emotional. And for Best, it seemed like something he really had to dig in and think about.

“As soon as I put the robes on for my first costume test, and I walked on to get approval from Jon and Dave, and they handed me a lightsaber, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m in this,’” Best told StarWars.com. “And boom, Kelleran Beq came alive.” And that he did. Seeing Beq save Grogu honestly did mean a lot because fans know how Best has been treated by other “fans” of the franchise, and it was just emotional to see him return as Beq in this format.

But returning to the Star Wars universe also wasn’t something that came easily for Ahmed Best. “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 also told StarWars.com. “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.”

I’m glad that he came back in this episode, but I also want him to come back for more because I have so many other questions about Kelleran!

Ahmed Best deserves more in Star Wars!

Best has been very open about his struggle with his mental health post-Jar Jar Binks. He’s talked candidly about how he contemplated suicide after fan backlash, and even now, the conversation around his return has been people saying that he’s been “redeemed.” Best didn’t need to be “redeemed” for playing a character that, for many of us, was fun. I grew up loving Jar Jar Binks because Star Wars remains something for children that adults just have this baffling superiority about.

Jar Jar Binks was a fun addition to the prequels, and adults at the time were vicious to Best because they did not like the character. His role as Kelleran Beq is just showing everyone how amazing he is. It is giving Best his time, and I hope we get to see more of him! Beq clearly helped Grogu get to safety, and I hope that means that we’ll see him again throughout the season and how Grogu came to be hidden away.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.