The latest chapter of The Mandalorian introduces Kelleran Beq, a Jedi from the kids game show Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, that runs 10 episodes on the Star Wars Kids website. The character is played by Ahmed Best, who first joined the Galaxy when he voiced and provided motion capture for Jar Jar Binks in the prequel trilogy. The CGI character, and Best, were relentlessly maligned by some Star Wars fans as soon as Phantom Menace was released. Nevertheless, the producers seem to have faith in the actor, and Best has appeared in many places across Star Wars media, as Jar Jar Binks and Achk Med-Beq in the prequels, hosting the behind-the-scenes web series on location for StarWars.com during the film’s production. And has voice roles in Star Wars video games and Clone Wars series.
During the backlash, Best said that it felt like his life was over, and in one particularly hopeless moment he even contemplated suicide. When he opened up about this on Twitter many years later, he was surprised by the support he received.
“It was surprising because I never really thought anybody would care. We talk a lot about things going viral, and usually when things go viral, it’s something negative. I didn’t feel like what I posted went viral. I feel like it went communal … because of the support that I got, that I never thought was there.”
The name “Kelleran Beq” was chosen by Ahmed Best himself, and is an intentional link to his character in Attack of the Clones plus a play on his real name.
He posted on Instagram: “Gratitude! Good to be back. There is 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 all that have held me up and made me better.” His scenes implies there’s more to the story, allowing for possible future appearances for the Jedi. We don’t want to give away too much, but Kelleran does rescue one of the shows main characters.
Ahmed Best won the prestigious Annie Award for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production for lampooning Jar Jar Binks in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II. He also has appeared in other TV and Video Game series, including Alias and The Last Of Us, and hosts The Afrofuturist Podcast, that talks about science and science fiction.
David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.