Ahmed Best, the Egyptian-American actor who portrayed the divisive character Jar-Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, had a rough road following the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith from 1999-2005.
Binks was largely maligned by both the Star Wars fandom and major media outlets, with the Wall Street Journal referring to the Gungun as a “Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit.”
After pouring everything he had into the character, Best struggled with the overwhelmingly negative reaction. He recently shared with ABC News, “I felt alone. And anytime you feel alone in a situation that’s overwhelming I think you’re going to go into some kind of a state that moves into the unhealthy.”
At one point, the Star Wars actor seriously considered jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge and committing suicide. Several years later, he returned to the location with his son and “realized that, ‘I almost didn’t have you.’ And he’s the best thing that ever happened to me in my life.”
Now, following a warm welcome at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Chicago in 2019, Best is returning to the Star Wars universe as the host of the first ever Star Wars game show, Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge.
In the 10-episode series, based on 1990s favorites like Legends of the Hidden Temple, Best will portray Jedi Knight-cum-game-show-host Kelleran Beq, accompanied by droids AD-3 and LX-R5.
Beq has one accessory that Best was never able to wield as Jar Jar Binks: a Jedi lightsaber.
On Instagram, Best posted about the meaningful reasons behind his choice of a purple lightsaber.
View this post on Instagram
Balance is one of the challenges in #jeditemplechallenge and something I truly believe in. The inspiration behind the #lightsaber has to do with the balance of peace and justice. I chose #purple because of the balance between the red and blue #kybercrystal. The leather on the hilt is large enough for one hand. I took inspiration from a Filipino Martial Art that I study called #Escrima and #musashimiyamoto for a one handed style of fighting. #keleranbeq is nicknamed #thebladedhand for his effectiveness with the one handed lightsaber style and the empty hand which wields #theforce simultaneously like another #lightsaber. #starwars #jedi #jarjarbinks #sith
He wrote, “Balance is one of the challenges in [Jedi Temple Challenge] and something I truly believe in. The inspiration behind the lightsaber has to do with the balance of peace and justice. I chose purple because of the balance between the red and blue [Kyber crystal].”
Best’s caption continued, “The leather on the hilt is large enough for one hand. I took inspiration from a Filipino Martial Art that I study called Escrima.”
View actor Ahmed Best’s full interview with Good Morning America below:
The first two episodes of Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge premiere on the Star Wars YouTube channel and StarWarsKids.com today, June 3. Will you be watching Ahmed Best return to Star Wars?