This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Strap on your jetpack and prepare for an exciting ride. Production has begun on The Mandalorian, a ten-episode series that will explore a whole new segment of the Star Wars saga and bring the galaxy far, far way to the small screen in live-action form for the first time ever.
The New York Times reports that Disney is plumbing $100 million into the series, with The Mandalorian intended as a lightning rod that can lure Star Wars fans onto the new Disney streaming service, which will launch in 2019. This is certainly a power move from the Mouse House, which will expand the Star Wars universe in a way that George Lucas never quite managed to do. (Although Lucas planned out a series named Underworld in great detail, it was never produced.)
The Mandalorian is a thrilling prospect for Star Wars fans, so we’ve done some digging to find out everything we can about it. Read on for all the nerdy knowledge you need to know…
Who’s making it?
The creator and writer of The Mandalorian is Jon Favreau, who has one of the most diverse résumés in Hollywood: he launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe by directing the first two Iron Man films; he cemented a permanent slot on festive television schedules by directing Elf; he’s become Disney’s go-to guy for directing live-action, animal-stuffed remakes with The Jungle Book and The Lion King; and his writing CV includes both Swingers and Chef. (Fun fact: in his career as an actor, Favreau voiced Pre Vizsla in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rio Durant in Solo: A Star Wars Story.)
Talent like this attracts more talent, and Favreau has brought together an A-Team of directors to shoot the show. Dave Filoni, the beloved-among-fans creator of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels will direct the first episode, with the other nine installments being shared between Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok).
Behind the scenes, Favreau and Filoni will executive produce alongside Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson, with Karen Gilchrist serving as a co-executive producer. There are a lot of safe hands here, essentially, giving fans good reason to get hyped.
Who’s in it?
Despite the fact that we’ve seen a first-look image of the main character in his armor, and been assured that production has begun, there’s yet to be an official cast announcement for The Mandalorian. We know that Marvel Cinematic Universe regular Sarah Finn is handling the casting of the show, but the final choices are yet to be announced.
This being Star Wars, though, there have of course been a few rumors. The biggest one, which originated on the fan site Making Star Wars, points towards Game of Thrones alum Pedro Pascal, who recently finished his starring run in Narcos. Could it be Pascal under the armour in that photo? He’s certainly got the combat training for a role like this, and the star power to lead a show this big.
Another rumor, this one from Discussing Film, suggests that Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi will step in front of the camera on The Mandalorian. Both of these multitalented individuals are directing episodes, but if the rumor is true, they will also play key roles.
The rumor suggests that Waititi could be voicing a droid,which makes sense given his show-stealing voice role as Korg in Thor: Ragnarok, while Howard’s alleged role remains under wraps. Again, with the Jurassic World franchise on her CV and a standout episode of Black Mirror, there’s no doubting that Howard has the star power to nab a part in this huge show. Either way, we’ll have to wait for an official cast announcement to know for sure.
What’s the story?
“The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order,” the Star Wars website tells us, placing these ten episodes between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens in terms of the film timeline. This period in the Star Wars saga has also played host to books like Bloodline and Aftermath, the new animated series Star Wars Resistance, and the story segment of the Star Wars Battlefront II video game.
It’s a fascinating section of the overarching galactic story, with the abrupt end of Emperor Palpatine’s reign leaving a power vacuum that various factions want to plug. Mon Mothma and Princess Leia are among the heroes of the Rebel Alliance attempting to offer democratic rule to the galaxy through a regime dubbed the New Republic, but crime lords across various planets have their own ideas.
The official announcement tells us that The Mandalorian will “follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.” That’s the chap in the armor, of course, who remains a complete man of mystery.
We currently know absolutely nothing about what this lone-gunslinger is getting up to in those outer reaches. In which direction does his moral compass point? What foes will he face in these ten episodes? Will the helmet come off, or is this more of a Dredd situation? At this stage, we’re all questions and no answers.
What will the tone be like?
“After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe.” So says another tantalizing sentence in the recent announcement about The Mandalorian. That statement was presented alongside the armor image and terms like “lone gunslinger,” all of which combine to paint a certain sort of picture.
This really is all we have to go on at the moment, besides a brief interview with Nerdist at the Solo premiere where Favreau promised “all-new characters” and “different planets” for his TV project. Certainly, Favreau is forging a new path here rather than picking up any characters or plot threads from other movies or series.
If we had to guess, which we’ve decided that we do, we’d predict a gritty tone to match the dusty aesthetic of the armor image. And with streaming services dodging the rules and regulations of traditional TV channels, the only thing stopping The Mandalorian from delving into darker topics and more extreme violence than the Star Wars movies will be the decision-makers behind the scenes.
It remains to be seen whether Kennedy and Disney will allow Favreau to go really dark here, but it’s easy to imagine an armored warrior on a lawless planet getting into some really brutal scrapes and morally murky stories, with death and double-crossing lurking around every corner. Again, though, only time will tell exactly how this plays out.
Mandalore at the Movies
That title, The Mandalorian, is loaded with meaning for Star Wars fans. Mandalore is a planet in the Outer Rim Territories of the galaxy, and it’s home to the expert soldiers of the Mandalorian race, some of whom are very iconic characters.
The first Mandalorian that viewers ever saw was Boba Fett, who made his debut in the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special before going on appear in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Later, he was inserted into the Special Edition of A New Hope for one brief scene.
Whichever edition you watch, Boba’s Original Trilogy story ends with the iconic bounty hunter tumbling unceremoniously into the Sarlacc Pit. Decades later, Lucas would revisit the character in Attack of the Clones, revealing in the second prequel movie that Boba was an unaltered clone of a bounty hunter named Jango Fett.
The original Clone Army, which executed Order 66 and wiped out tons of Jedi, were also clones of Temura Morrison’s Jango. These ones were altered and enhanced, though, so it’s probably not entirely accurate to call them Mandalorians. The only pure copy of Jango was Boba, who ended up cradling his father’s decapitated head towards the end of Episode II.
Boba and Jango Fett’s storylines may not have lived up to the effortless cool of their costumes, but nonetheless, these two characters set the framework for what it means to be a Mandalorian: you’ve got to have snazzy armor, a funky spaceship, a jetpack, and loads of gadgets.
The canonical animated shows, The Clone Wars and Rebels, have featured numerous Mandalorian characters. Notably, after the events of Episode II, Boba showed up in The Clone Wars and tried to murder Mace Windu to avenge Jango’s death. The Clone Wars also provides a lot of the backstory of the Mandalorian race, establishing that the children of Mandalore have been obsessed with war for centuries. They’ve fought Jedi, they’ve fought other planets, and they’ve fought among themselves.
There were two main Mandalorian factions in The Clone Wars: a pacifistic government named the New Mandalorians, and an extremist group named Death Watch (who were led, at times, by Favreau’s Clone Wars character Pre Vizsla). Attempting to bring down the New Mandalorians, Death Watch sided with Count Dooku at one stage and Darth Maul at another.
When the Empire seized control of the galaxy, a chap named Gar Saxon was named the Imperial Viceroy of Mandalore and served in the Imperial Military. Other Mandalorians, such as Boba Fett, worked as independent bounty hunters, and there were also Mandalorians on the side of the Rebellion.
For example, one of the main heroic characters in Star Wars Rebels was a young Mandalorian named Sabine Wren. She found an ancient Mandalorian relic known as the Darksaber and used it to try and reunify the Mandalorians. Gar Saxon was killed in a conflict and a new civil war broke out among the Mandalorians. Eventually, a Mandalorian woman named Bo-Katan Kryze – who used to be a member of Death Watch, but later turned goodie – united the clans and took leadership of Mandalore.
It’s Unclear What Happened Next
Those events from Rebels, which took place shortly before the Original Trilogy of films, provide the most up to date account that we have about Mandalore itself. It’s unclear what sort of the state the planet is in after Return of the Jedi, and we have no clue if the title character in The Mandalorian has any allegiances or links with the Mandalorians that we’ve seen on screen before.
Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy visited loads of planets in the years after Return of the Jedi, but the closest those books got to discussing Mandalore was a brief chapter on Tatooine. Therein, a former slave named Cobb Vanth acquired some second-hand Mandalorian armor. He used this armor, which wasn’t explicitly stated to be Boba Fett’s old threads, to bring some law to the wild post-Jabba society on Tatooine.
Despite Favreau’s comments about The Mandalorian focusing on new characters, a fan theory has popped up on Screen Rant suggesting that Cobb Vanth could be the show’s central character. That feels like a very long shot to us, but all guesses are valid at this stage of the game.
Whether or not The Mandalorian’s eponymous Mandalorian turns out to be a character we’ve met before, the period after Return of the Jedi is a perfect time in which to set his story: this era of Star Wars is far removed from the other main story arcs about Mandalorians, providing a clean slate in which this “lone gunslinger” can operate. There’s no wider political story about Mandalore to slot into at this point, which gives this show room to breathe and do its own thing.
That’s all we know about The Mandalorian for now, then, but we’ll be sure to bring you all the updates as we hear them. The Disney streaming service is believed to be launching next year, so we’d expect promotional matters for The Mandalorian to ramp up some time soon…