REVIEW: ‘Star Wars – Jedi Temple Challenge’

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Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge - Master Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) with his Droid Companions AD-3 (Mary Holland) and LX-R5

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge is a game-show set in the Star Wars universe, available to watch at StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. The show, which was inspired by popular kids’ game shows of the 1990s, was created by Scott Bromley, Steve Blank, and Mickey Capoferri. Hosted by Star Wars veteran Ahmed Best, who plays Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, the show oversees three teams of children who must face a series of challenges in order to become a Jedi.  Alongside Master Beq are his trusted droid companions — the loveable AD-3 (voiced by Mary Holland) and an astromech named LX-R5 who provide some entertaining banter and narration throughout the show.

The premise of the show is fairly simple, much like the game-shows that inspired it (Legends of the Hidden Temple, Jungle Run etc.), with there being three rounds of challenges/locations for the teams to tackle. After each challenge, the ‘losing’ team for that round is told that they must continue their education back at the Jedi Temple but that they will return one day to finish their trials. This was a nice touch that firmly cemented the Star Wars feeling on this show. Rather than ‘losing’ the teams are taught by Master Beq that this in itself is just another of life’s challenges, and wishes them well on their ongoing journey to becoming a Jedi. In fact, the entire show really emphasizes what it means to become a Jedi. Yes, there are challenges, frustrations, and puzzles to overcome, but also there’s always a sense of hope and mindfulness.

Ahmed Best is a delight to watch as Master Beq and displays wisdom that could even rival Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is always pushing the teams in the right direction and providing the perfect words of encouragement for both winning/losing teams. He also has tremendous chemistry with the absolutely hilarious Mary Holland, whose AD-3 constantly bounces off Master Beq with witty, funny, and relatable comments. That chemistry is further enlightened by the obvious improvising between the pair and makes me wonder how much funny material could be lying on the cutting room floor. It should also be noted that Ahmed is the first lead African-American character in Star Wars and that while his legacy as Jar Jar Binks is still integral to the universe, fans will no doubt clamor for more stories featuring the wise Master Beq in other forms of media. He owns the role and is an utter delight to watch on screen. 

The first round in the show is titled “A Test of Strength” and consists of 4 mini-challenges that the pupils have to tackle in order to construct their first-ever lightsaber hilt. These four challenges are “Leap and Lift”, “Power Pull”, “Saber Stability,” and “Swing and Strength” — all designed to test the students’ strength both physically and in the force. Whether that’s trying to get across a platform while wearing weighted backpacks, or having to jump up to reach a bunch of fruit called Meiloorun (which has appeared in Star Wars: Rebels). Although physicality is the focus of this challenge, it’s also extremely reliant on the pair’s teamwork. They need to work together in order to collect all the right Lightsaber hilt pieces.

The second round titled “A Trick of the Mind” is set on a Jedi Cruiser named Athylia, currently traveling through space after completing the previous round. Both remaining teams are given split roles, that of “the pilot” and “the engineer”, and must listen to a story being told by AD-3 whilst paying attention to the specific details provided. These story segments are really fun to watch; written by author Cavan Scott, narrated by the energetic Holland, and brought to life via motion-comic. Once these stories are told, both teams are questioned by Master Beq about certain elements and must correctly answer them using the props provided. The team that gets five questions right first wins the round and gets to collect their Jedi Holocron. This section was full of delightful easter-eggs both in the stories themselves (Jaxxon is canon!) and the props given to the kids.

The final round titled “Courage in the Jedi Temple” is as you would expect, set on a Jedi temple. The final pair of Jedi hopefuls have to face the Dark Side and trials in order to earn their Kyber Crystal, finally completing their lightsaber and ensuring their destiny as a Jedi. With a timer counting down, the kids have to remember the sequence in which a series of lights blink a certain color. Then they must complete a puzzle separated from each other. This section is the best part of the show and features another Star Wars alum, Sam Witwer, as the voice of the Dark Side. Sam does a great job providing a threatening yet tempting voice that looks to manipulate the pair into ‘cheating’ the section, making the following task even harder for them. After all, becoming a Jedi is a test of spirit. If successful, the kids then have to fit a series of cables together, climb an icy ridge, and finally control their balance to allow the other to cross a bridge to the crystals.

Even if you’re an adult, I think you’ll find it difficult not to find this charming show utterly delightful. There are so many gleeful moments and genuine tension that it just hooks you in and keeps you interested. And if you’re a child, it’s definitely going to be something you will end up begging your parents to become a part of, which, is a job well done for the production team. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, there are a plethora of fun easter eggs and nods towards the wider canon throughout the entire show. Whether it’s small things like the process of building a lightsaber, or the fact that Frank Oz himself returns to voice Master Yoda.

While it would have been reasonable to just produce a gameshow that only consists of Star Wars elements, the producers for this show have absolutely taken it to the next level making sure that this feels as though it’s part of the integral Star Wars canon. From the impressive CGI sequences to incredible physical sets, the show takes the fundamental concept of George Lucas’s world and perfectly splices it with the DNA of 90s game shows. Helping that immersion even further is the excellent Star Wars music provided by Gordt Haab, who has scored for the franchise before with EA’s Battlefront franchise.

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge is an utterly joyful experience that works perfectly as both a game show and part of the wider Star Wars Universe. It’s a show that is entertaining for all the family and allows Ahmed Best to shine as a wise Jedi Master.

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge Episodes 1-2 are available to watch on StarWarsKids.com as well as its accompanying YouTube channel with eight additional episodes to air weekly.

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge is an utterly joyful experience that works perfectly as both a game show and part of the wider Star Wars Universe. It’s a show that is entertaining for all the family and allows Ahmed Best to shine as a wise Jedi Master.