The casual Star Wars fan watching this week’s episode of The Mandalorian might think they’re watching a nice little flashback to the Star Wars prequels era. But to observant Star Wars obsessives, the same scene is a showcase for an actor they know very well, in a role they probably never expected to see again.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 3, episode 4, “Chapter 20: The Foundling.”]
While The Mandalorian has hinted at Grogu’s past with the Jedi Order in previous seasons, and how he wound up hidden in a backwoods fortress Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) was hired to sack, the show has only told, not shown, until now. In “The Foundling,” we get a whole Grogu flashback to the fall of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Jedi valiantly fall in battle with Clone Troopers, striving to protect the little guy’s hover pod and deliver him to Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, played by none other than Ahmed Best.
Best, of course, is best known for providing voice and movement for Star Wars’ first completely computer generated main character, Jar Jar Binks. He joins Andy Serkis on the list of Star Wars actors who’ve gotten to use their actual face in a role after bringing life to one of the franchise’s most infamous all-CGI characters.
But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Master Beq! Folks wondering about his backstory can go watch Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, Disney Plus’ 2020 Star Wars-themed game show that was more fun than it had a right to be. It was basically Legends of the Hidden Temple, with Best as Beq and some droid buddies as hosts shepherding padawan duos (kid contestants) through physical and mental trials.
Beq certainly gets an action upgrade, from game show host to dual-wielding combat master — then again, the show did establish that his fighting skills had earned him the nickname of “Sabered Hand.” We don’t know where this plot arc is going, exactly — Beq and Grogu escape on a chromed ship staffed by Naboo security officers, and then the flashback ends.
But if Grogu had to escape Coruscant with any Jedi, at least he has one with plenty of experience with younglings.