The live-action skills game show is a first for the Star Wars brand, which is getting major Disney investment these days with J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker due in theaters this month, the expanded Jedi presence in theme parks, and the live-action drama The Mandalorian already streaming on the still-new Disney+ service. Disney’s Lucasfilm is already ramping up more Jedi Universe adventures for the small screen, too, including an Obi Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor.
The game show “tests young contestants’ abilities in the core Jedi principles of strength, knowledge, and bravery as they face thrilling and fun obstacles,” according to Disney executives.
“This is definitely a kids game show like no other,” says Lucasfilm’s senior director of Online Content & Programming, Mickey Capoferri. “The various challenges will test a Padawan’s connection to the Force in three locations — a forest planet, on board a Jedi star cruiser, and inside a Jedi Temple — immersing them and the audience in a fun, humorous, and exciting competition.”
Best portrayed the well-intentioned simpleton Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace (1999) and Attack of the Clones (2002). The bumbling Gungan from Naboo was the target of withering reviews, however, and the comedic-leaning character was reduced to cameo status by Revenge of the Sith (2005). Best reprised the role for seven episodes of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.
Best’s Star Wars character has been a frequent pop.-culture punchline but in recent years the New York native has been able to embrace the infamy. Best won an Annie Award for his voice acting in a 2008 episode of Robot Chicken that lampooned Jar Jar.
From a Disney press release: “Best’s unique set of skills as an actor, dancer, martial arts expert, STOMP musician, and Star Wars fan make him the perfect choice as the show’s host and mentor…. Best is joined by a hilarious humanoid droid companion, voiced by Mary Holland (VEEP, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre).
“Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge brings together the best of Star Wars – competitive spirit, harrowing obstacles and a hero’s triumph over challenges – in a totally new format for the franchise,” said Dan Silver, vice president, Originals – Unscripted Content, Disney+. “A game show set in the Star Wars galaxy is a perfect fit for Disney+.”
Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge is executive produced by Lucasfilm, Dean Houser, and David Chamberlin and Mike Antinoro from Endeavor Content.