Star Wars actor Ahmed Best considered suicide after toxic response to Jar Jar Binks

edi Master Beq (Ahmed Best) oversees the action with his droid companions AD-3 (voiced by Mary Holland) and LX-R5.. Image Courtesy Lucasfilm
edi Master Beq (Ahmed Best) oversees the action with his droid companions AD-3 (voiced by Mary Holland) and LX-R5.. Image Courtesy Lucasfilm /

Tomorrow, Ahmed Best — known for his role as Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel movies — returns to that galaxy far, far away to host a game show for kids called Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge. But Best won’t be hosting the show as himself. He’ll be playing a character: Jedi Master Kelleran Beq.

Ahead of his return to the Star Wars universe, Best talked with ABC News about a dark time in his life when the prequels were out in theaters, and the response among fans to Jar Jar was famously negative. It nearly caused him to commit suicide by jumping from the Brooklyn Bridge. “I felt alone,” he said. “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. As a black man from New York City, from the Bronx, there’s this facade that I can’t be hurt. In actuality, I was really just crumbling inside.”

Thankfully, Best decided not to go through with it, and years later he took his son to the spot where he nearly jumped. “I looked at my son and I realized that, ‘I almost didn’t have you.’ And he’s the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. Had I not stepped away from the edge of the bridge, my life wouldn’t have been as fundamentally changed in such a positive way.”

Best remembers there was a turning point when he walked onto a stage at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago in 2019 to a standing ovation from a massive crowd of Star Wars fans.

"I hadn’t stepped on a Celebration stage since 1999. That moment was the moment I realized, ‘I can talk about this now. I can really articulate this in a way that doesn’t bring up painful memories. And hopefully help, in whatever way that I can."

And after everything, Best said he’d play Jar Jar Binks again if the situation was right. “I quite enjoyed playing Jar Jar. It really depends on what the story is, and how he were to come back.” Possibly in that Obi-Wan Kenobi show Disney is making?

Even though Jedi Temple Challenge is a game show for kids, there will be enough Star Wars Easter eggs throughout each episode that adult fans can enjoy it too. Some of these hidden gems include references to the Galaxy’s Edge Star Wars theme park, as well as Star Wars comics from the ’70s.

As far as Jedi Master Beq goes, Best says he’s related somehow to a character he briefly played in Attack of the Clones named Achk Med-Beq. “We don’t know if they are twin brothers, or if Kelleran is Ach Med-Beq’s father or son. Also, there’s a relationship between Mace Windu and Kelleran Beq.”

Oh? Could it be because Kelleran Beq also uses the purple-bladed lightsaber just like like the one Mace Windu wields?

"Kelleran is the ultimate temple master. He can appear to be kind of funny, kind of goofy. He gets ribbed a lot by AD-3, the droid. But at the end of the day, what Kelleran Beq is trying to do is make you the best Jedi that you can be."

Best will be joined by the voice of Darth Maul, Sam Witwer, Frank Oz (the voice of Yoda), and Veep’s Mary Holland as the voice of AD-3. Disney will release each episode of the show on — the company felt it was was important to have this kind of show available for free, as opposed to hosting it on Disney+.

If you or a loved one have considered suicide, then know that you are not alone and there is help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is toll-free: 1-800-273-8255.

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