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?

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - IAN FREER

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.

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