NINE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT... THE MANDALORIAN
Get the lowdown on the first Star Wars live-action TV series — will the Force be strong with this one?
1 __ The Mandalorian will take place several years after the events of Return Of The Jedi — thus some decades before the rise of the First Order in The Force Awakens. With the New Republic still figuring out the ramifications of the end of the Empire, the scene is set for an era of lawlessness where no rules apply — if Star Wars didn’t already feel like the Wild West, it certainly will now. The only piece of canon that intersects with that timeline is Daniel José Older’s novel Last Shot, which depicts the further adventures of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, so it is unlikely The Mandalorian will share storylines.
2 __ Iron Man and Jungle Book director Jon Favreau will be the showrunner and writer on the series but, on this first season at least, won’t be directing. Favreau has form with Mandalorians, having voiced Pre Vizsla, leader of Mandalorian splinter group Death Watch in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (He also voiced Rio Durant, the alien pilot in Solo: A Star Wars Story.) To say the filmmaker is psyched is an understatement: “If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe,” he has said, “I wouldn’t have believed you.”
3 __ What the story will be is still shrouded in heavily battered armour. On 3 October, Favreau posted the following outline on Instagram: “After the stories of Jango Fett and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe… We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic…” The title seems to be a throwback to Western TV shows that Favreau grew up on like The Virginian. In an interview with Nerdist, Favreau has suggested the show will feature all new characters. (Sorry, Watto.)
4 __ For the uninitiated, Mandalorians are a race that reside on the planet Mandalore in the Outer Rim Territories. They are a warrior race, known for their tenacious fighting skills and cool armour (pinched by Jango and Boba Fett), and proved a thorn in the brown-cloaked butts of the Jedi Order in the
Old Republic. As a race, there are splinter groups (probably vegans) who argued for a more peaceful Mandalore. The race has featured prominently in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and have allegiances with Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective, the group glimpsed in that baffling cameo in Solo:
A Star Wars Story. So there are plenty of strands and themes that could play into the live action series.
5 __ Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Favreau have assembled a crack team of
filmmakers to guide the series. Dave Filoni, the animation guru behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, gets his long-awaited crack at live action, believed to be helming two episodes including the season opener. Deborah Chow (Mr. Robot, Better Call Saul, Jessica Jones), and Rick Famuyiwa (director of the excellent indie Dope) are also on board, reportedly handling two episodes apiece. But perhaps it is the one-off filmmakers who have caused the biggest stir. Bryce Dallas Howard, who so far only has short films on her CV, will join her father Ron (director of Solo: A Star Wars Story) in realising the galaxy far, far away. And loud-shirted genius Taika Waititi (Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok) is confirmed as a director, thought to be handling the season finale.
6 __ No-one has officially been cast yet in The Mandalorian (not even Warwick Davis). The Making Star Wars website, which has a decent track record for rumours, suggests that Pedro Pascal (star of Narcos and Oberyn Martell in Game Of Thrones) is a frontrunner for the lead role. Another weirder rumour suggests that Werner Herzog would star. The New German Cinema filmmaker-turned-renta-villain told Indiewire he was starring in a “big franchise film, about which I’m not supposed to say anything,” codenamed ‘Project Huckleberry’. Attention switched to The Mandalorian when crew members were spotted wearing Huckleberry badges. Herzog as a dark side big bad would be awesome, but nothing is confirmed.
7 __ One confirmed bit of talent is director of photography Greig Fraser. Fraser gave Rogue One its distinctive look: dark, mean and moody, with a side order of handheld.
8 __ The New York Times reported that the show would be ten episodes with a budget of $100 million. Yet it subsequently slimmed down to eight episodes. It seems The Mandalorian is no filler, all killer (for hire).
9 __ With shooting currently underway in California, The Mandalorian will appear exclusively on Disney’s streaming service. The currently unnamed Netflix-rivalling service is due to launch next year, with UK plans still to be announced.