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    Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best, once targeted by hate, makes first prominent return to ‘Star Wars’ galaxy

    Ahmed Best and friends in 'Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge' (Lucasfilm)
    Ahmed Best and friends in ‘Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge’ (Lucasfilm)

    Ahmed Best‘s comeback is officially in hyperdrive.

    The actor, best known for voicing and performing motion-capture for the much-maligned Gungan Jar Jar Binks in George Lucas’s 1999-2005 trilogy of Star Wars prequels, is back — this time in the flesh — as host of the upcoming Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge game show on YouTube’s Star Wars Kids channel. Like a vintage Nickelodeon show (think Double Dare or Legends of the Hidden Temple) filmed at Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge theme park, the 10-episode series (originally slated for Disney+ before moving to YouTube) tests youngsters (sorry, Padawans) paired in teams of two on their abilities to become Jedi knights through a series of strength and knowledge trials.

    Best’s participation in the show marks another feel-good moment in the performer’s rebound from what had turned into a shaky career sidetracked by derision and scorn in the years that followed his portrayal of Lucas’s controversial patois-speaking sidekick. (Watch the first trailer below.)

    In 2018, Best revealed that the backlash to his character was so harsh — with the actor even receiving death threats — that he contemplated suicide. “I don’t talk a lot about my experience as #jarjarbinks because a lot of it is very painful. I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life,” he wrote in an Instagram post, accompanied by a photo of he and his song overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. “It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival.” (At the time Best was considering a Phantom Menace-inspired one-man show which as of late-2019 was still in the works.)

    Human decency has since (largely) prevailed, however, with Best, now 46, being re-embraced by the Star Wars community — especially in light of his troubling revelations. A Twitter post he shared the same day in 2018 drew words of support from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, among other notable Star Wars artists, pundits and fans.

    This article was originally published on yahoo.com/entertainment/.

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