This week on The Mandalorian, we had a fairly standard story about Mando and Bo-Mando and other Mandos saving a Mando kid from a giant dragon bird. But we also had a B-plot that was a flashback to the execution of Order 66 back on Coruscant, where we learned Grogu was saved by a bunch of Jedi who got murdered, and ended up escaping with one of them.
That Jedi was a Master named Kelleran Beq, a new character, but one that is noteworthy for the actor who played him. That was Ahmed Best, who originally did all the performance capture and voicework for Jar Jar Binks back in the prequels. Like Jake Lloyd who played Anakin, Best was endlessly bullied just for doing what George Lucas told him to do. This led to an incredible amount of racist harassment and severe depression for Best.
While this is being painted as Best being “redeemed” for the Jar Jar role, that’s certainly the wrong phrasing, and it’s more like Best getting what he is owed, at least in part, a chance to shine in the Star Wars franchise after being afflicted with the most hated role in the series’ history.
So that was one easter egg, but it wasn’t the only one. The second is more subtle, but also related to Jar Jar.
Did you notice the ship that Kelleran and Grogu escaped in? It was Naboo, and those were Naboo guards fighting off Clone Troopers in order for the two Jedi to get away. It wasn’t Padme’s lengthy cruiser from the prequels, but instead it was actually Senator Jar Jar Binks’ ship. Yes, for real.
While the ship is not seen in the prequels themselves (trust me, I looked) it was indeed featured in the Clone Wars animated series, and as we know, Dave Filoni is always intimately linked to all things Mandalorian. So yes, we had Jar Jar Binks’ original actor saving Grogu in Jar Jar Binks’ ship. Wild times.
So far, we don’t know what happened to Kelleran Beq after this, but if we are going to do more Grogu flashbacks, we may learn his fate and how Grogu was put in the position to meet The Mandalorian at the start of the show. Unfortunately it seems extremely likely that Kelleran died, because nearly all the Jedi were found and killed during this period, but we’ll have to see. I’d certainly be open to seeing more from Best, who did a great job with this small part, and had some sick lightsaber skills to boot.
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