The Mandalorian: Star Wars actor returns to universe 24 years after dreadful treatment by fandom

The Star Wars universe has welcomed back one of its most criticised actors in The Mandalorian.

Episode four of the Disney Plus series’ third season was released on Wednesday (22 March). Directed by Carl Weathers, the latest installment revealed who rescued Grogu from Order 66 before the show began.

This mysterious character was unveiled via flashback as Jedi master Kelleran Beq – and fans were surprised to see that he was played by Ahmed Best.

Best provided the voice and motion-capture for Jar Jar Binks in Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 1999. However, he was criticised following the film’s role due to the fandom’s intense dislike of the controversial character.

The actor has been vocal about finding himself the source of a racist backlash after the film was released.

This is not the first time Best has played Kelleran Beq. He appeared as the character in children’s game show Star Wars: Jedi Challenge, which saw Beq supervise young contestants as they took on a “Jedi training” obstacle course.

Speaking about the character, Best previously said: “I wanted to pay homage to some Jedi of the past. There’s a mentorship that Obi-Wan Kenobi has and that Yoda has that are very much a nurturing kind of mentorship and I wanted to see if I could capture that nurturing sense.”

Seeing him return in a live-action capacity for The Mandalorian is a full circle moment for the actor, especially as his appearance has been unanimously praised by fans.

“It was so f***ing nice to see my guy #AhmedBest in today episode. Really happy for him, and I do hope he will read all these positive messages,” @PhantomPrime wrote on Twitter.

Ahmed Best returned in ‘The Mandalorian’ (Lucasfilm)
Ahmed Best returned in ‘The Mandalorian’ (Lucasfilm)

@askywalkerjuice added: “Ahmed Best coming back to Star Wars after the way the fandom treated him and being the guy who saved Grogu is absolute king behaviour. Disney should give him a cut of the sales on all Grogu merch, I’m serious, he deserves the world.”

Meanwhile, @Rhyme_W_Karbach wrote: “Sure did tear up when I realised it was #AhmedBest as the Jedi. Not familiar with Kelleran Beq but I believe I am about to become so. What an incredible gift, to see him back in Star Wars. And as a badass Jedi! Just amazing.”

The Mandalorian is available to stream on Disney Plus.