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Who Plays Jedi Master Kelleran Beq In The Mandalorian?

Contains spoilers for "The Mandalorian" Season 3, Episode 4

"The Mandalorian" Chapter 20, titled "The Foundling," gives us the most detailed flashback yet concerning Grogu's past — taking the audience back to the night of Order 66, and Grogu's improbable escape from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. It's revealed that Grogu was rescued by a dual-lightsaber-wielding Jedi Master named Kelleran Beq, who fights his way past a legion of clone troopers and eventually succeeds in blasting off to hyperspace.

Although this powerful Jedi might not be instantly familiar to most audience members, he's actually played by a longtime "Star Wars" alumni: Ahmed Best, who infamously portrayed Jar Jar Binks throughout the prequel trilogy. Because Jar Jar is an entirely CGI character (and speaks in the sputtering dialect of the Gungans), it's easy to see why most "Star Wars" viewers might not recognize Best in this role — even though this is actually his second appearance as Kelleran Beq.

As many diehard fans will know, Kelleran Beq is a character that first appeared in the children's game show "Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge," in which he guides various contestants through "Star Wars" themed challenges as a part of their Jedi training. Seeing Beq return in this more dramatic context is certainly very surprising — especially given Best's own tumultuous relationship with the franchise.

The role is something of a redemption arc for Ahmed Best

It's no secret that Jar Jar Binks is perhaps the most hated character in all of "Star Wars." Ever since the character's first appearance in "The Phantom Menace," Jar Jar has been universally criticized for his bumbling personality, lowbrow humor, and borderline racist Caribbean accent.

Audience backlash to the character was even greater than the dismal critical response, as members of the fandom called for Jar Jar to be killed in gruesome and violent ways — forming dedicated hate groups online like the now-deleted jarjarmustidie.com, and "The National Association for the Extermination of the Gungan Race." In a since-deleted 2018 Twitter post, Ahmed Best revealed that these reactions were so intense it actually made him consider suicide. Best explained that, at the time, it seemed like the role of Jar Jar had completely derailed his career, just as he was starting to break through — and the online hatred seemed to confirm all of his self-loathing (via Participant).

Now, more than two decades after he contemplated ending his life, Best has returned to the "Star Wars" franchise as a hero, kicking ass and taking names in one of the most popular "Star Wars" projects out there. Although it's unclear how Kelleran Beq will factor into "The Mandalorian" moving forward, one has to hope we'll see more of Best throughout Season 3.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.