Ahmed Best on ‘The Mandalorian’: Reluctant to Return to ‘Star Wars’
The Jar Jar Binks actor has previously spoken out about how the character’s backlash has affected his mental health, saying he considered suicide because of the hate.
In the latest episode of “The Mandalorian,” longtime “Star Wars” fans got a big surprise when Ahmed Best — who played Jar Jar Binks in the CGI prequel trilogy — returned to the franchise as another character, Jedi Master Kelleran. Beq.
But while Best’s casting may be nostalgic for many viewers, the actor himself had reservations about returning to the galaxy far, far away.
“Honestly, I had to think about it,” Best said interview on the official StarWars.com website. I’ve been in the Star Wars world for so long and my story is a rollercoaster of emotions. So it wasn’t an easy decision for me to come back to Star Wars. It wasn’t something I could immediately say yes to. I had to marinate it a bit.
Jar Jar, a comedic Gungan alien who played the best role in all three prequels between 1999 and 2005, is notorious as one of the most hated characters in the “Star Wars” franchise. Best has been open about how the backlash against the character and racist harassment from haters has affected his mental health; In 2019, he talked about how he thought about suicide because of the backlash. Best spoke about her experiences with similar racist hate campaigns against other “Star Wars” actors, including Kelly Marie Tran and John Boyega.
Despite his difficult experience with the franchise, Best said he remains a “Star Wars” fan and part of his hesitation when he received offers from “The Mandalorian” executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to join the show. worried about how it would fit into the overall story.
“I mean, I was excited. I don’t think people really understand how much I care about ‘Star Wars’. I’m very interested, Best said. “I’m really, really interested in the storytelling, the mythology, the fans. I really want ‘Star Wars’ to happen, and if I’m going to get in the way of that, I shouldn’t be in it. I don’t want to be bigger than the story. I don’t want to be bigger than mythology. I want to contribute, I want to add to it. So it took a minute.”
Ultimately, Favreau and Filoni’s support convinced Best to join the show. Beq, who previously starred in the 2020 YouTube children’s game show “Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge,” talked about his hopes of reprising his role in future “Star Wars” projects.
“Back in ‘The Mandalorian,’ part of me doesn’t want to let him go. You had to let him go during ‘The Phantom Menace’. Only George (Lucas) did it. Now you can for a while. You can tell stories in ‘Star Wars,’ and they can appear in multiple mediums,” Best said. “As a writer, as a director, as a teacher, I want to do so many other things that this universe is perfect for, and I don’t want that to be the end of the legacy. I don’t want this to be the end of the story. I want this to be the beginning, and a new beginning. Mainly through Kelleran Beq.”
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