Huge spoilers follow for The Mandalorian season 3 episode 4.
The fourth episode of The Mandalorian season 3 has debuted on Disney Plus – and it contains an unexpected cameo from a deep-cut Star Wars character.
Titled The Foundling, this season's fourth chapter puts the focus back on Grogu, with the youngster introduced to Mandalorian combat training for the first time. As the episode's events unfold, Grogu – also known as Baby Yoda – has a flashback to Order 66, aka the Galactic Empire's genocidal masterplan to wipe out every Jedi in the galaxy, which takes place in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
With The Mandalorian taking place in the years after Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi, though, Grogu clearly survived. And he has a particular Jedi Master to thank for escaping the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, which is where Grogu and his fellow Jedi Padawan were training before Order 66 was executed.
Major spoilers follow for The Foundling. Turn back now if you're not caught up!
Who is Kelleran Beq, the Jedi that rescued Baby Yoda?
Jedi Master Kelleran Beq #Grogu #AhmedBest #jedi #KelleranBeq #TheMandalorian pic.twitter.com/9ytexGH8sVMarch 22, 2023
So, who's the individual that saves Grogu from being slaughtered alongside his Jedi Padawan brethren? That would be Kelleran Beq, who's portrayed by Ahmed Best. Yes, that Ahmed Best. The same actor who played the much maligned Jar-Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
It's okay if you haven't heard of Beq before. As I said, he's a deep-cut character in the Star Wars universe – and one who actually made his debut in that famous galaxy far, far away in a kid-friendly Star Wars game show, which was titled Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge.
Released in June 2020 on StarWarsKids.com and the sci-fi franchise's YouTube channel, the 10-part series put its young contestants through a number of Jedi-based challenges to test their aptitude and ability to become a Jedi. The show was hosted by – yep, you guessed it – Best's Beq, who was accompanied by his droid companion AD-3.
What's this got to do with The Mandalorian? Well, as a Jedi Master who trained Force-sensitive youngsters in the ways of the Force, it makes sense that Beq would be someone charged with protecting the Jedi Temple's Padawan charges. With Emperor Palpatine's Order 66 putting those kids in mortal danger, Beq would do anything to keep them safe from harm and ensure they live to fight another day.
As The Foundling shows, not many Jedi Padawan made it out alive. Baby Yoda was one of the lucky few, however, with Beq – aided by some sympathetic Royal Naboo security forces, AD-3, and his astromech droid LX-R5 – smuggling Grogu out of the Jedi Temple.
It's Beq's heroic moment that inevitably leads to Grogu and Din Djarin – the titular Mandalorian, played by everyone's favorite dad pal Pedro Pascal – meeting in the TV series' premiere episode. With the intervention of Beq, whose nickname is the extremely cool sounding 'The Sabered Hand', Baby Yoda wouldn't have Force-jumped into our lives and hearts.
Without Beq, Best wouldn't have had the heart-warming Star Wars redemption story he deserved, either. Although, given the horrific abuse he endured post-The Phantom Menace, it's debatable whether he needed to redeem himself or not.
In July 2018, the actor tweeted (as reported by The Huffington Post) that he thought about taking his own life after the vitriolic backlash he endured from the franchise's fanbase in the wake of playing Binks in Star Wars: Episode I. Thankfully, in the years since, many fans have seen the error of their ways and Best is still here. Now, almost 25 years on from the lowest point of his career, Best has played two iconic characters in the Star Wars universe – both of whom had major says in good triumphing over evil.
For more Star Wars-based content, find out how to watch the Star Wars movies in order. Additionally, read our exclusive chat with The Mandalorian season 3 director-executive producer Rick Famuyiwa, read up on what we know about Star Wars: Ahsoka, and check out which Star Wars TV shows made it onto our best Disney Plus shows list.