Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, and the cast of The Mandalorian hit the stage at Star Wars Celebration 2019 to fully unveil the first live-action Star Wars series. Plenty of stills and characters were introduced at the panel as well as an action-packed trailer and a few scenes from the show. Unfortunately, audiences watching from home didn’t get the chance to see any of the footage.
But don’t worry! Den of Geek was at the panel and we saw everything. The scenes screened to audiences featured our first look at series star Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) in Mandalorian armor as well Werner Herzog as a crime lord with Imperial roots and the legendary Carl Weathers as Greef, one of the Mandalorian’s allies who hires him to complete bounties. We also saw some very brief scenes with Gina Carano as former Rebel shock trooper Cara Dune, Giancarlo Esposito as an Imperial officer, and IG-88, who wasted no time shooting a few bad guys in the trailer. There was even a first glimpse of The Mandalorian’s ship, the Razor Crest, a ship with dual engines that’s somewhere between a fighter and larger freighter.
Unsurprisingly, the scenes focused on Pascal’s character, who is simply named The Mandalorian, although Favreau and Filoni kept calling him “Mando” for short. If the character has an actual name, that wasn’t revealed to us. We bet all of you hope it’s actually Boba Fett in new armor, though.
Mando first enters a cantina full of aliens (it’s all very Mos Eisley) to meet Greef for a new bounty. While the details of the job are a bit vague (by design for this teaser, we imagine), we know it involves visiting Herzog’s character, a crime lord who is guarded by dirty, battle-worn stormtroopers. But this series takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, so how is that possible?
Earlier new canon stories, including the Aftermath novels and the game Star Wars: Uprising, introduced the idea that not all systems and sectors of the galaxy were immediately freed from Imperial control after the Emperor’s fall at the Battle of Endor. Governors and other warlords continued to control systems in the Outer Rim until they were finally liberated by the New Republic. The desert planet that Mando calls home is in this unfortunate situation, and Herzog’s character seems to rule the area with an iron fist.
Mando reaches Herzog’s office, and after a tense standoff with stormtroopers — he is surrounded on all sides but confidently declares that he “likes his odds” — Herzog gives Mando the info he needs to bring in the target dead or alive. Herzog is awesome in this scene, showing hints of the cruelty characteristic of the Empire’s most devoted acolytes. That Mando would choose to work with an Imperial shows that the protagonist’s moral compass is much grayer than we’re used to, something Pascal himself teased during the panel.
Nerdy details are sprinkled throughout the footage, including a hilarious shot of a pair of Kowakian monkey-lizards (Salacious Crumb’s species) being roasted over a fire (the crowd laughed hard at that one) as well as a TT-8L/Y7 gatekeeper droid outside of Herzog’s hideout and a GONK droid leading Mando into the villain’s office.
Favreau and Filoni teased that there are plenty of little details like this in the series that will celebrate the franchise’s more than 40-year history. They also mentioned that the show will also reintroduce some elements from the Legends canon. Rebels took a similar approach to canon, bringing Grand Admiral Thrawn and a few other Legends things back to the Star Wars universe.
After the scenes, we watched a short trailer that included a fight between Mando and Cara Dune that ends with both characters on the ground pointing blasters at each other, shots of IG-88 in action (no voiceover from Taika Waititi, unfortunately), as well as some of the other supporting characters. Esposito orders a squad of stormtroopers to “Burn them out,” while a character played by comedian Bill Burr fires his blasters, including a blaster mounted on his shoulder, at an unknown target. Mark Boone Junior (Sons of Anarchy) can be seen as Mando enters a cantina.
Herzog delivers a monologue over the trailer, reminiscing about the glory days of the Empire and how the galaxy was better off under Imperial control. He makes the point that, since the rise of the New Republic, things haven’t really been that much better for certain parts of the galaxy. Judging from all the murder showcased in the trailer, we can at least agree the Republic doesn’t have a good handle on the Outer Rim yet.
Lucasfilm also showed a sizzle reel that teased Mando walking on a snow planet and into a cantina. He’s holding some sort of tracker, which could mean this is a scene from after Mando’s meeting with Herzog’s character.
All of these scenes featured plenty of familiar and new aliens, too. We saw Jawas, Twi’leks, and a shot of a Devaronian that screams A New Hope. At one point, we see Mando riding a dewback as well as talking to other Mandalorians, which means we’ll probably see how Mandalorian culture has progressed since being freed from the Empire.
While the footage wasn’t enough for us to grasp what’s going on in The Mandalorian in terms of story, it was an excellent proof of concept. Does something as big as Star Wars translate well to live-action TV? Absolutely. The footage delivered action, laughs, and the grittiness we’ve come to expect from the franchise as well as an enigmatic anti-hero who might be much less of a good guy than we expect. We can’t wait to find out more about Mando and the underworld he inhabits this fall!