The Mandalorian: A Brutal, Lawless Star Wars Story
The more Star Wars fans see of The Mandalorian, the more excited they get for the November 12 debut of the series on Disney+.
Earlier this week, James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly posted: The Mandalorian unmasked: ‘We did things no Star Wars fan has ever seen.’
The Mandalorian: What Is Under The Mask?
The show is set after the downfall of the Galactic Empire in Return of the Jedi but before the events of The Force Awakens. For now, chaos reigns across the universe, especially in the outer reaches of the galaxy where a Mandalorian bounty hunter stalks his prey for diminishing returns.
“It’s like after the Roman Empire falls, or when you don’t have a centralized shogun in Japan — and, of course, the Old West, when there wasn’t any government in the areas that had not yet been settled,” says showrunner Jon Favreau (The Lion King), who spearheads the series along with longtime Star Wars animated-series producer Dave Filoni. “Those are also cinematic tropes in films that originally inspired George Lucas to make Star Wars.”
Indeed, The Mandalorian’s clearest inspiration is the first act of A New Hope, which played like a Western set in space: exotic creatures, smugglers, soldiers, and bounty hunters leading rough lives in an overlooked outlaw territory… Expect The Mandalorian to travel from system to system in a very “boots on the ground” tale without any major legacy characters… at least, not in the first season.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) September 3, 2019
One of the more refreshing concepts I remember from the old Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) was a book called Star Wars: Tales From The Mos Eisley Cantina.
As you might surmise, that book was about everyone in the legendary hive of “Scum and Villainy” besides Han, Luke, Obi-Wan, and Chewie.
“I’ve always been curious what the other people in the cantina are up to,” Favreau says. “We’re digging really deep in the toy chest and pulling out the action figures that people were always curious about and were not quite in the center frame, but have a lot of potential.”
Or as Filoni puts it: “These are the [action figures] you got. Your older brothers have had ‘good’ ones. Somehow you got Boba Fett. And if you have Boba Fett, you could always tell a good story.”
The Mandalorian represents a crucial asset for Disney and Lucasfilm. The show is the highest-profile series to launch with Disney’s new streaming service… The Mandalorian will be the first test of whether the iconic 42-year-old sci-fi brand can work in the live-action TV space, with more live-action titles such as an Obi-Wan series starring Ewan McGregor and a Rogue One prequel starring Diego Luna also in the works.
So, it’s Boba Fett in a new mask?
But the show is not about Boba Fett. As far as we know, Fett is dead.
So who is “The Mandalorian?”
At first glance, the lead character on The Mandalorian is just Boba Fett by another name. But look closer. Boba Fett, despite that armor, wasn’t actually Mandalorian (he was a clone who culturally appropriated the look). “And unlike Boba, he’s operating in a much more unforgiving landscape where survival is difficult enough, let alone flourishing,” Favreau says. Plus, as star Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) puts it, the Mandalorian would prefer to do the right thing, “but his duties could very much be in conflict with that — and doing the right thing has many faces.”
Speaking of faces, don’t expect to see Pascal’s very often. The Mandalorian — or “Mando,” as he’s called on set — is pretty fond of keeping that helmet on. (Pascal, not so much. The actor spent a bit of time bumping into things around the set before he got the hang of it.)
Centering a TV series on a character obscured by a mask is perhaps the show’s boldest move, but if anybody can make the premise work, it’s Favreau, who also directed a little masked-man movie called Iron Man. Assisted by Pascal’s laconic line delivery and terse physicality, along with expressive choices in camera work and editing, Favreau manages to infuse the character with a surprising amount of personality. “What’s remarkable is when you see the whole stretch of the first season how engaging the character is,” Favreau says. “It’s amazing how many Star Wars characters are emotionally engaging that aren’t even anthropomorphic. R2-D2 is my favorite character, and he barely has an eye.”
Truth. But let’s hope we see The Mandalorian hit new heights of storytelling without having to use rockets.