For all the good things the "Star Wars" franchise has given pop culture, for all its joy and creativity, it is also a franchise plagued by bullying and harassment. From Kelly Marie Tran and Jake Lloyd to John Boyega and Ahmed Best, fans have made life hell for people associated with the franchise.
Since his debut in "The Phantom Menace," Jar Jar Binks has always been the butt of every joke about "Star Wars," in parodies like "Robot Chicken" and a cameo that never was in the film "Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers." The backlash against the character was so bad it led actor Ahmed Best to contemplate suicide.
Thankfully, it seems Ahmed Best is coming back around on the franchise, and the audience is embracing him again, from his appearances at Star Wars Celebration to Best hosting the reality competition series "Jedi Temple Challenge," where he played a Jedi master named Kelleran Beq.
But what could easily have been a one-off character for a show tangentially related to the main franchise has now been given one of the highest honors and roles in the entirety of the "Star Wars" franchise: Saving Baby Yoda in the latest "The Mandalorian" episode. Best is back!
A Jedi Master
In the latest episode of "The Mandalorian," Grogu has a flashback to the Siege of the Jedi Temple, when Anakin Skywalker led the 501st Legion of clone troopers to execute every single Jedi they could find in the temple — even the younglings. We knew Grogu was living in the temple at the time, but we hadn't seen how he got out until now. What makes the scene effective is that it is not a known Jedi who saves the now-Mandalorian foundling. We don't see Obi-Wan, or Jocasta Nu, or Shaak Ti, or even Grogu's possible mother, the late Yaddle.
No, it is Ahmed Best's own Kelleran Beq who saves the little youngling from being killed by clones, wearing a very cool engraved robe and wielding two lightsabers like a badass (one of very few Force users to do so). This is an incredibly rad scene, featuring some great lightsaber movies and the inclusion of Temuera Morrison voicing the clone troopers again.
The fact that Beq not only is part of the canon now, but has such an important role in a key event in "Star Wars" canon is a fantastic gesture of goodwill. His appearance also pokes fun at the popular Darth Jar Jar theory that imagines the Gungan was always meant to be unveiled as a Dark Lord of the Sith, based on comments from Lucas about the character having a big purpose to the story of the prequels. To see Best play not a Sith, but a Jedi, feels like the best way to acknowledge this joke.
But wait, it gets better.
The Biggest Savior In The Franchise
Before Beq can transport Grogu to safety, he is surrounded by clone troopers. They are saved when a squad of Naboo security guards like the ones we saw many times in the prequels arrives, in an H-Type Nubian ship similar to the one Padmé used when traveling from Naboo to Tatooine with Anakin. It's clear someone from Naboo is responsible for saving Grogu's life.
It would be easy to assume it's Padmé, who was friends with Jedi, was a former queen, and is a senator at this time — but the timeline doesn't work. She knows about an attack on the Jedi Temple, but has no idea Jedi are being killed until much later, when Anakin arrives at their apartment and tells her of the supposed coup the Jedi attempted on Palpatine.
So it has to be someone else who saves Beq and Grogu, someone with access to security detail and a ship, someone with a high rank from Naboo. Who else could this be but Jar Jar Binks himself? After all, he is a senator from Naboo at this time, he is friends with the Jedi, and we know he is very quick to answer the call for help from his friends.
Unfortunately, Jar Jar is also the senator responsible for convincing the Senate to vote on giving Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers, leading to the formation of the clone army and, ultimately, the creation of the Empire.
To make Jar Jar the person responsible for saving the cutest creature in "Star Wars" after a lifetime of hate would be an incredible gift to Ahmed Best's legacy — especially if that means we eventually see an older Jar Jar meet Grogu in a future episode.
Read this next: Sci-Fi Box Office Bombs That Deserve A Second Chance
The post The Mandalorian Gives Ahmed Best The Redemption Arc He Deserves And Pokes Fun at a Prequel Theory appeared first on /Film.