Last December, Lucasfilm revealed that the first Star Wars-themed game show was in the works and that it would be arriving on Disney+ this year. It’s called Jedi Temple Challenge, and it’s hosted by former Jar Jar Binks actorAhmed Best. In a new interview, Best says that production has been completed on the first season of the show, and while we await a more specific release date, he explained what he feels is missing from Star Wars these days and how this show aims to restore those aspects to the franchise. Think “ Legends of the Hidden Temple, but Star Wars-themed,” and you have the basic idea of what this new show will be. But instead of a khaki-clad Kirk Fogg explaining the rules, Best will play a Jedi Master who guides the kid contestants through challenges, and he’s joined by “a hilarious humanoid droid companion, voiced by Mary Holland VEEP, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.”
In a new interview with Jamie Stangroom on YouTube, Best confirmed his Jedi master is a character within the Star Wars mythology, and not meant to simply be the actor dressed up in robes. “There are a lot of things I think missing from Star Wars nowadays, but a big part of it is folding into the mythology in a way where the mythology is the star, and being able to tell a story and get out of the way of it being Star Wars,” he said. “I like the mythology of Star Wars more than anything else, so I like the fact that I get to be this Jedi master and not me, because I am not, as Ahmed Best, a part of the Star Wars universe. And the suspense of disbelief doesn’t really happen for the kids if me, Ahmed Best, is the host.”
Best went on to point out the biggest flaw he sees in the current Star Wars landscape:
“This is the thing I think Star Wars is falling short of now: there really isn’t very much to believe in anymore. The lack of faith in the mythology is really the thing I find to be missing. We don’t talk about the Force anymore in the Star Wars movies. We’re really about lineage and legacy and line and technology. But the thing that made Star Wars work was the Force. There were two sides: the light side, and the dark side. But we all believed in the Force…that’s what worked in the Lucasverse when it came to Star Wars.”
In his mind, this show seeks to remedy that issue, partially by referring back to one of the most famous scenes in The Empire Strikes Back: Luke Skywalker’s training.
“So with Jedi Temple Challenge, it brings back this idea that we all have levels of connection to the Force, and you can actually grow your connection to the Force and it can become stronger through these trials at this temple. All of those things that Yoda did with Luke Skywalker at Dagobah in the swamp, this is where it was done first. It was in this temple. You got to get good here. I dig that. It’s something I think would be wonderful for kids. Because now there’s a path to this thing…Now there are actual steps you can take to being a strong Jedi. It gives you belief and faith.”
When the show was initially announced back in December, it was slated to debut sometime in 2020. But that was before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, so there’s a chance that window could change. “I’m waiting for the higher-ups at Lucasfilm to give me a release date,” Best said, “and as soon as that happens, everybody will know.”
He also played the police chief in 'Beverly Hills Cop II' and mogul Louis B. Mayer in 'Gable and Lombard.'
Allen Garfield, the New Jersey character actor who specialized in playing nervous types while appearing in such films as The Conversation, The Candidate, The Stunt Man and Nashville, has died. He was 80.
His sister, Lois Goorwitz, confirmed his death in a brief conversation with The Hollywood Reporter.
Earlier, actress Ronee Blakley posted the news of Garfield's death on Facebook, saying that he had died Tuesday and that the cause was COVID-19. Garfield and Blakley played husband and wife in Robert Altman's Nashville 1975.
Garfield suffered a stroke as he was set to appear in Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate 1999, then suffered another one in 2004 that led him to reside at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills. A spokeswoman for the MPTF facility did not know if Garfield was there at the time of his death.
Born Allen Goorwitz on Nov. 22, 1939, in Newark, he went by his real name in several films, including The Brink's Job 1978 and One From the Heart 1981, midway through his career.
Garfield boxed as an amateur, worked as a sportswriter and studied with Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan at the Actors Studio in New York. He appeared often onstage before making his film debut in Orgy Girls '69, followed by other big-screen appearances in 1971 in Woody Allen's Bananas and The Organization, starring Sidney Poitier.
Often playing jumpy types, he worked for Francis Ford Coppola in The Conversation 1974 and The Cotton Club 1984 and for Wim Wenders in A State of Things 1982 and Until the End of the World 1991.
He also portrayed Louis B. Mayer in Gable and Lombard 1976 and police chief Harold Lutz in Beverly Hills Cop II 1987, and his résumé also included roles in Teachers 1984, Desert Bloom 1986, Dick Tracy 1990, Destiny Turns on the Radio 1995 and The Majestic 2001.
"The reason I didChief Zabu is that Allen Garfield is from the Actors Studio, I'm from the Actors Studio, and we worked together there on stuff," actress Marianna Hill said in a 2016 interview with Shaun Chang for the Hill Place blog. "Allen Garfield happens to be a great actor. He's a really underrated actor. Allen was the hardest-working actor, but nobody realizes that about him because he seems to be a natural."