By now, we’ve seen Order 66 play out in a whole bunch of different devastating ways.
We’ve seen Clone Troopers gun down Jedi in forests and spaceships. We’ve seen Jedi left for dead and Jedi hunted down. We’ve seen Jedi masters sacrifice themselves so their padawans could escape, and we’ve seen those padawans wrestle with the weight of that sacrifice. We’ve seen younglings slaughtered and the Jedi Temple burned and the dark fate of those Jedi left to the Empire’s devices.
All that to say, in the wake of Order 66, we’ve seen some Jedi heroics and we’ve seen a lot of Jedi tragedy, but we’ve never before seen the Jedi demonstrate that they had much of a contingency plan.
Until now. Until Kelleran Beq.
Master Kelleran Beq, portrayed by none other than Jar Jar Binks himself, Ahmed Best, was first seen in the children’s game show, Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge. His role in the show mirrored that of his role in the Jedi Temple: He was a teacher.
But in “The Foundling”—the fourth episode of the second season of The Mandalorian—Beq is a lifeline, and the reason Grogu escapes the Temple.
In a painful flashback, Grogu relives those final moments: Clone Troopers gunning down Jedi left and right, blaster fire reverberating throughout those hallowed halls, panic and fear and chaos as one Jedi after another falls.
Grogu is understandably afraid. But someone, somewhere has a plan. Grogu himself is being escorted by a band of Jedi; they’re in contact with Beq, updating him on the youngling’s whereabouts, the status of his escape. Little Grogu is thrust into a lift, and when the doors open, it’s Kelleran Beq himself who ushers the little guy onto a waiting speeder.
The Jedi master takes Grogu on a whirlwind tour of Coruscant, Clone Troopers ever on his tail, always going the wrong way on a one-way street, until he skids onto a landing pad to meet his awaiting “friends.”
Are those Naboo Security Forces? Were they expecting Beq and his small charge? The ship is fueled and ready to go, after all…
Here’s the thing: We know the Empire wants Grogu; we know he’s the pièce de resistance of their cloning endeavors. Grogu is special.
And certainly, Grogu is special to us, the fans—look how cute he is! But I think we’ve seen proof, in Beq’s planned escape, that Grogu was special to the Jedi, too. He means something to the Order, perhaps to its future, a future that is still unfolding onscreen some thirty years or so after the execution of Order 66.
Let’s be honest: There were a lot of younglings that were not saved; they seemingly weren’t even told what was happening. And here we see Grogu being actively guarded, escorted out of the Temple and ferried to a waiting Naboo shuttle?
We know Yoda saw the end of the Clone Wars—or at least, hints of it—in his vision in the dark side cave on Dagobah in the sixth season of The Clone Wars. He saw the Jedi cut down; he knew the war could not be won. Previously, it appeared as though all he did with this information was bear the burden of knowing it—and fighting on regardless.
But maybe he did more. Maybe he identified those hidden hopes within the Order, entrusted them to Jedi like Kelleran Beq, and then began laying the groundwork for a contingency plan. For the Hidden Path, perhaps—the very one we were introduced to in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
That does something to explain how Grogu got out, why Beq had a plan to get him off world. Naboo was certainly sympathetic to the Jedi, and Grogu—whatever his species—is certainly strong with the Force. A decent recipe for helping the Jedi Order survive.
But if that is the case, if Grogu—and perhaps others—were chosen to live while other younglings were left to suffer, then the fates of characters like the Third Sister, Reva, and others are all the more tragic.
We’ll just have to wait to see where Grogu, Beq, the Path and all the rest fit into this master Star Wars puzzle.