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After returning to the Star Wars universe in Season 3 of The Mandalorian, Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best is amped up and ready for a future in the franchise.
Best, who is most infamously known for his work in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, is back in the sci-fi spotlight, after appearing as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq in Chapter 20 of Disney+’s flagship Star Wars series.
Kelleran Beq is not a new character, having hosted the children’s game show, Jedi Temple Challenge. But this is the first exposure the general Star Wars fanbase has had to the character, and thus the first time they have seen Best back in the universe since he played the bumbling Gungan Jar Jar Binks.
Seeing as Best’s character is depicted saving Grogu from the traumatic events of Order 66, many are wondering if the character will have further adventures in the Lucasian universe.
In an interview on the back of his triumphant Star Wars return in The Mandalorian, Jar Jar Binks and Kelleran Beq actor Ahmed Best teased his future in the franchise.
Speaking to StarWars.com, Best noted that being a “part of Star Wars has been a dream come true since 1997.”
He pointed to how despite audience reaction, his first character in the franchise, Jar Jar Binks, “[changed] movies” and “to be a part of that is enormous for [him]:”
“Jar Jar changed movies, and I don’t think Jar Jar gets a lot credit for changing movies. But Jar Jar was the first CGI main character in movie history. There had been other CGI characters, but the evolution of the fact that you can star as a CGI character, and an actor in performance capture, was really George, was really Jar Jar and ILM and all of us, and it was a significant change in movies. To be a part of that is enormous for me.”
The Mandalorian and Prequels actor lamented that after coming back in the Disney+ series “part of [him] doesn’t want to let it go:”
“Especially me coming from the South Bronx — this corny, artsy, nerdy, skinny kid, where Star Wars was the first movie I had ever seen in my life. Now, coming back, being in ‘The Mandalorian,’ part of me doesn’t want to let it go.”
He added that at the time of The Phantom Menace “you had to let it go,” but now “you can do it for a while,” telling Star Wars stories with the same characters across multiple mediums:
“In ‘The Phantom Menace days,’ you had to let it go. It was just George doing it. Now, you can do it for a while. You can tell stories in Star Wars and have them be in multiple mediums.”
“As a writer [and] a director [now],” Best “[doesn’t] want this to be the end of [his] story” in the galaxy far, far away:
As a writer, as a director now, as a teacher now, there is so much more that I want to do that this universe is perfect for, that I don’t want this to be the end of legacy. I don’t want this to be the end of the story. I want this to be the beginning, and a new beginning. Especially through Kelleran Beq.”
He opined that he “really care[s] about how Kelleran Beq will be received” and wants fans to look at his Jedi character and go, “I want to follow that guy. Where does he go:”
“I really care about how Kelleran Beq will be received. 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?’ I think all the best stories are stories that leave you wondering what happens next.”
The actor said that is why he thinks Star Wars has endured as a franchise “because all of these characters are characters who have lives” outside of what fans see, read, play, or hear:
“I think that’s why Star Wars has survived as long as it has, because all of these characters are characters who have lives.”
While his Mandalorian appearance could very well be the last time fans see Ahmed Best (and his Jedi Master Kelleran Beq) in the galaxy far, far away, it seems like there is more story to tell.
It would honestly not be all that surprising if the actor popped back up this season in the Disney+ series, let alone somewhere down the line.
It took so long for Ahmed Best to get to this place, and it would be a shame for Lucasfilm to squander that.
This was an actor that was on the verge of taking his own life because of his time in Star Wars. To no fault of his own, he was lauded by fans, received death threats, and was the subject of toxic hate that went on for years.
Now, more than 20 years since his Phantom Menace debut, those wounds have seemingly healed. He has been celebrated by fans not only recently for his work in The Mandalorian, but also for his time on the Prequels.
He seems ready for more Star Wars adventures, so Kathleen Kennedy and co. would be smart to work him in somewhere in the franchise.
Ahmed Best can be seen now on Season 3 of The Mandalorian, which has new episodes debuting on Disney+ every Wednesday.
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