The “Star Wars” universe was given a blast from the past during Wednesday’s episode of “The Mandalorian,” with fans going “I like it!”
Ahmed Best, the actor who played the polarizing Jar Jar Binks in the “Star Wars” prequels, made a surprise cameo in the Disney+ series nearly 20 years after his last appearance in the trilogy. Rather than reprise his role as the Gungan whom an especially vocal majority of the “Star Wars” fandom loved to hate, Best this time played a Jedi named Kelleran Beq.
In the episode titled “Chapter 20: The Foundling”, Best makes his appearance in a flashback of order 66when clone troopers betrayed the Jedi and went on a murderous rampage.
Best’s Jedi Knight saves a young Grogu and kills the clone troopers with his lightsaber so the two can escape into hyperspace, leaving open the possibility that Beq could be seen again in “The Mandalorian.”
The actor’s triumphant return to the “Stars Wars” galaxy may bring a much-needed balance to the Force after the intense backlash he faced over the character of Jar Jar Binks sent him into a deep depression. (The Times’ Kenneth Turan called Binks “a huge mistake, a comedic character who, frankly, isn’t funny.”)
“He hit me. It suited me well. I was called every racial stereotype you can imagine. . . It was debilitating. I didn’t know how to respond,” Best said in a interview 2019. “Depression hit me. Hard. It was just broken.”
On Twitter, fans rejoiced at Best’s return.
“Ahmed Best was bullied by toxic fans to the point of contemplating suicide for his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks,” one user tweeted. “Twenty years later, he is now the Jedi Knight saving Grogu from Order 66. You love to see it.”
The Star Wars Academy chimed in, tweeting: “In 1999, Ahmed Best appeared in his first major screen role as a character named Jar Jar Binks. In 2023, Ahmed Best appeared as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, who saves young Grogu from Order 66. If that doesn’t warm your heart, then I don’t know what will!
“#TheMandalorian just redeemed actor Jar Jar Binks in the best way possible by honoring him with the most heroic role as the Jedi who saved Grogu during Order 66. Awesome!” another user wrote.
better too posted a selfie Tuesday on Instagram thanking the fans for the support.
“Gratitude! It’s good to be back,” he wrote. “So much to say and share. It’s going to take a couple of days. But for now, I’ll just say thank you to everyone who has sustained me and made me better. “