In a surprise cameo that nobody in a galaxy far, far away saw coming, Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best returned to the “Star Wars” universe in Wednesday’s episode of “The Mandalorian.” But instead of playing the infamous Gungan, Best made his return as a Jedi named Kelleran Beq.
While Jar Jar was roundly criticized by critics and adult fans when The Phantom Menace was first released in 1999, a generation of kids who loved the goofy Gungan have now grown up with much fonder memories of the character!
Best has openly talked about the scorn and ridicule he faced after the release of “The Phantom Menace” and how much of that he internalized negatively. (He did show up, briefly, in the other two prequels but as a glorified background character and not one of the leads.) Canonically, the character remained on Coruscant and was a beggar/clown who delighted children but who was looked down upon by adults, who felt that he aided the rise of the Empire.
In the newest Mandalorian episode, titled “The Foundling,” Best appears briefly in a flashback to Order 66, when the clone troopers betrayed the Jedi and ruthlessly murdered nearly everyone. Best’s Jedi knight Kelleran saves a young Grogu, who found himself alone facing a group of clone troopers. Kelleran saves the little alien and dispatches the enemies with his two lightsabers, allowing Grogu to escape with him on a ship. The episode ends without showing where Kelleran and Grogu fly off to, opening up the possibility of Best to reappear later on.