Ahmed Best Talks Star Wars Fan Backlash and The Mandalorian Cameo

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace star Ahmed Best gets honest about the fan hate for his Jar Jar Binks performance and the redemption he felt when he appeared on The Mandalorian.

How did Ahmed Best deal with the Jar Jar Binks hate?

Per The Guardian, Best addressed his Star Wars experiences on the new TED-produced podcast The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks hosted by Dylan Marron. Created by George Lucas to appear to younger audiences, Jar Jar Binks’ presence in the first Star Wars prequel in 1999 drew a strongly divisive reaction from fans. Between late-night talk show jokes, accusations of being a racial stereotype, websites such as JarJarSucks.com popping up, and endless death threats, Best remembers being on the verge of taking his own life one day on the Brooklyn Bridge as the result of the overwhelming public negativity.

“I’ll show all of you. I’ll show you what you’re doing to me. And when I’m gone, then you’ll feel exactly what I went through,” Best recalled. “It was terrible. “It was the lowest I’ve been in my life.”

Best continued by discussing his struggle to return to normalcy following The Phantom Menace’s release. The actor resumed duties with the dance troupe Stomp while reprising his role as Jar Jar, in a reduced capacity, in 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Best, however, struggled to leave home because of the fan hate. Eventually, he moved out to Los Angeles to reset his life as a family man and a filmmaker working behind the scenes.

The change in perception about Jar Jar for Best came when he appeared to a standing ovation at a Star Wars convention which led to his casting as Jedi Knight Kelleran Beq for the children’s Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge game show. Then Jon Favreau called and asked Best to bring the Beq character to a key episode of The Mandalorian: Season 3 where the Jedi Knight saves Baby Grogu in a flashback scene which marked a turning point for the actor. “It really felt good,” Best said. “As an artist, I lost my confidence for so many years, but The Mandalorian gave me that affirmation of ‘You were always doing the right thing … It wasn’t you.'”

Best posted The Guardian story to his Instagram in the hopes of helping those who are in need of support in the darkest of times. “Telling this story is never easy,” Best wrote. “I’ve held on to it for so long and sometimes sharing it brings me back to those challenging emotional times. The biggest reason I persist on sharing is because I realized I’m not alone. You are not alone Thank you @guardian and @dylanmarron for allowing me to share my story with you all.”