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Star Wars: How The Mandalorian Saved An Actor's Life After Years Of Fan Backlash

Warning: This article discusses suicide

Upon the release of "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace" in 1999, most "Star Wars" fans banded together to throw hate toward one major character: Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best). The bumbling Gungan drew the ire of numerous vocal fans of the franchise, but the hate wasn't limited to the character alone. It extended to Best himself, who wound up on the receiving end of name-calling, snide comments, and even death threats. The abuse didn't end with the theatrical run of "The Phantom Menace" either, extending for decades as the internet became more prevalent.

Understandably shaken by the backlash, Best has revealed that the endless vitriol and harassment nearly resulted in the end of his life. Speaking on the "Redemption of Jar Jar Binks" podcast (via The Guardian), he shared that on one fateful night, he reached his breaking point and came close to attempting suicide. Thankfully, he pulled himself back from the brink and did his best to stand tall against the negative fan reception, even boldly returning to the "Star Wars" universe. Best has since appeared as Kelleran Beq, the host of "Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge," who popped up on "The Mandalorian" as the Jedi who rescued Grogu during Order 66.

"As an artist, I lost my confidence for so many years, but 'The Mandalorian' gave me that affirmation of 'You were always doing the right thing...It wasn't you,'" Best said. 

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Many Star Wars fans adored Best's appearance on The Mandalorian

Unlike fan reception to Jar Jar Binks, the reaction to Kelleran Beq's appearance on "The Mandalorian" has proven near-unanimously positive. As Ahmed Best has gotten his confidence back as an actor, "Star Wars" fans have sent all kinds of love and appreciation his way for the work he put in during his brief spot in the Season 3 episode, "Chapter 20: The Foundling." For instance, in a thread by Redditor u/ImperialIIClass, numerous fans came together to voice their excitement over Best's "Star Wars" comeback.

"Genuinely happy for him. Dope as hell role too," commented u/SomeKindaSpy, with u/Modern-Jedi adding, "Ahmed needs this. We need this. Star Wars needs this." u/Unicron_Gundam expressed their hope that Best gets to play Beq once again on a second season of "Jedi Temple Challenge," while u/jumpstart58 pitched the idea of Beq and Grogu reuniting during the time of "The Mandalorian" decades after their Jedi Temple escape. Several other commenters had similar feelings of wanting to see more of Best and Beq down the line.

Hopefully, there are more Kelleran Beq adventures on the way — if for no other reason than to give Admed Best more time to shine and enjoy the appreciation he has deserved for so long.