This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the flagship ride of Galaxy’s Edge at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. (Hence the “bait and switch” with the Sonny Eclipse header and thumbnail photo.)
Unlike Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (for example), where there isn’t much to be spoiled, we’d strongly recommend going into Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance knowing as little as possible. Final chance to close out before seeing/reading spoilers. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
Lieutenant Bek is an original character created for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. He’s a Mon Calamari Communications Officer in charge of Resistance recruits who operates from a secret base inside ancient ruins on Batuu.
For those unfamiliar with them, the Mon Calamari are a bipedal, amphibious species with high-domed heads, webbed hands and large, goggle-like eyes. They originated on the planet Mon Cala, which they shared with the Quarren species. During the Clone Wars, the Mon Calamari remained loyal to the Galactic Republic.
For more delightful Mon Calamari Fun Facts, consult the species’ Wookieepedia page. (As only a casual Star Wars fan, like half of that is gibberish to me.)
While you are the “main character” of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as you live out your own ‘Star Wars’ story, Lieutenant Bek is Robin to your Batman.
Or perhaps more appropriately, he’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi to your Luke Skywalker.
Prior to Lieutenant Bek, the most famous Mon Calamari was Admiral Ackbar. The two look very similar, to the point that you might assume Lieutenant Bek is Admiral Ackbar if you weren’t paying attention. (Not that this happened to anyone in our party their first ride.)
In keeping with the spirit of analogies, Lieutenant Bek is to Admiral Ackbar as Sonny Eclipse is to Officer Zzzzyxxx (RIP, homie).
I’ve been wanting to write about Lieutenant Bek for a while, as I absolutely adore the character. There’s a ton to love about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but if I had to pick one favorite “thing” about it, I’d choose Lieutenant Bek.
Originally, I planned on simply updated our List of the Top 10 Park Characters at Walt Disney World, but I didn’t want to inadvertently spoil the attraction for anyone. With the parks likely closed for a couple of months, I figure I now have the time to do proper justice to this very important topic.
There are several reasons why Lieutenant Bek is so great.
First, he’s the obvious star of the show. While other, more beloved or infamous characters all make cameos to cash that paycheck, Lieutenant Bek is the only character present for literally every phase of the multi-stage experience. And you can tell he’s really passionate about being there. Just look at him. This is not some Bill Paxton in Twister: Ride It Out situation.
While other Star Wars characters swoop in to steal the spotlight for their heroic moments, we all know Lieutenant Bek is the one most dedicated to the cause. Poe, Rey, and Leia are all just phoning it in–quite literally, in some cases.
Lieutenant Bek is there when you’re receiving your mission briefing, he’s on board the Resistance Intersystem Transport Ship piloted by Nien Nunb, he provides guidance aboard your hijacked First Order Fleet Transport, and he crash lands back on Batuu with you. In these fast-paced times when everyone is stuck behind screens, Lt. Bek being physically present means the world to us recruits.
Although he’s going through this all along the way with you, it’s obvious that Lieutenant Bek is not simply another Resistance recruit.
He’s your sage mentor, the one who guides you through the experience–the steady hand when stuff’s hitting the fan.
While Lieutenant Bek is clearly wise beyond his years (I have no clue how old he is), he also adds a bit of levity to the experience. Our other trusty new friend is the hacked R5 droid, and Lt. Bek quickly establishes a playful rapport with ours with a tongue in cheek (err…gill?) “who picked these droids, anyway?!” jab at the R5 unit.
On a side note, I’d love to see a Disney+ buddy genre series showcasing the banter between Bek and the R5 droid. I’m not even kidding–couldn’t be any worse than Solo or [insert your least favorite Star Wars movie]. Plus, there’s the obvious sexual tension between the two that deserves to be fully explored.
Lieutenant Bek’s calming voice actually does provide both guidance and comfort during the intense ride-through. He helps make sense of what’s going on, providing a counterweight to the delightful chaos that imbues Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
His modulation also has an erudite quality to it, giving a certain weight to his wisdom. Sort of like how Americans respect British accents. (My best comparison is actually to a certain character on South Park, but this is a family blog.)
Speaking of his voice, Lieutenant Bek is played by James Arnold Taylor.
Star Wars fans are likely familiar with James Arnold Taylor as the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. We are familiar with him as the recurrent host of Star Wars Weekends. James Arnold Taylor’s presence in this attraction sort of brings the Star Wars experience in Disney’s Hollywood Studios full circle, as Star Wars Weekends were effectively retired for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Speaking of Obi-Wan Kenobi, I actually think the comparison between that character and Lieutenant Bek is apt.
Obviously, Bek does not have the clout of that legendary Jedi Master, but he’s still similar…ish. Just as Kenobi takes repeated risks training apprentices who he hopes will restore balance to the galaxy and defeat evil, so too does Lieutenant Bek, training a new round of recruits to defeat the First Order every 30 seconds or so. Talk about dedication and diligence!
You might think this is a lot of hyperbole, but what was your reaction to seeing Lieutenant Bek’s escape pod after the attraction’s climactic scene? Was it some mix of laughter, glee, excitement, and relief?
A huge reason this ending “works” so well is because we feel a connection to Lieutenant Bek. There’s a certain camaraderie and the fact is, we’ve seen some stufftogether, so it’s nice to see he made it back to Batuu in one piece.
As a character, Lieutenant Bek is fleshed-out and fully-developed, without any lazy gimmicks or cheap attempts at quotable dialogue.
This has worked for other attractions, but it really backfired on Imagineering with the atrocious pre-show for Avatar Flight of Passage. Personally, I’m glad that Lieutenant Bek has actual depth, and our reaction to his story feels earned.
In short (well, not so much), that’s why I love Lieutenant Bek. He’s not a flashy character, but Lt. Bek is reliable, strong, resilient, and amusing. Lieutenant Bek is the #1 Mon Calamari–infinitely superior to that one-hit wonder Admiral Ackbar (yeah, I said it).
Lieutenant Bek should develop into a cult favorite among Walt Disney World and Disneyland fans as time passes and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance cements itself as a classic attraction. I’ll follow Lieutenant Bek onto any Star Destroyer, no matter how dangerous, and blast through an army of stormtroopers, no matter how many. One thing is for sure: Lieutenant Bek is my ride or die homie.
What do you think of Lieutenant Bek? Is he also one of your new favorite original Disney Parks characters? Would you likewise watch a buddy genre series on Disney+ with him and the R5 unit? Do you dislike Lt. Bek for some (bad/wrong) reason? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Are you also ride or die with Lieutenant Bek? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!