Recently, I had the chance to attend a press event in Los Angeles for the upcoming live-action Star Wars series, THE MANDALORIAN, coming to Disney+. Not only did we get to see 27 minutes of the highly anticipated series, but we also attended a press conference which featured writer/director Jon Favreau, director Dave Filoni, and actors Pedro Pascal, as The Mandalorian, Gina Carano, as Cara Dune, and Carl Weathers, as Greef Carga. For those not familiar with the upcoming series, the official synopsis is as follows:
“In THE MANDALORIAN, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe after the stories of Jango and Boba Fett. Taking place after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, we follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far away from the authority of the New Republic.”
During the press conference, writer/creator Jon Favreau discussed the importance of Star Wars during his formative years: “For me, as somebody who grew up with Star Wars and really having been formed around what I experienced when I was little with the first film, there was some aesthetic to it that I really gravitated to.” He went on to further explain, “My whole taste in movies was probably formed in a big way from seeing George Lucas’ original film. I learned about cinema through the lens of that film. My father would explain to me that it was a lot like samurai movies, a lot like Westerns, or WWII films, so that became my in-road.”
As for Director Dave Filoni, he also explained the importance of Star Wars in his life as well as how technology has lent itself to furthering these stories: “As a kid growing up, you watch Star Wars and think, ‘I would watch this every week’. As someone who has always been into fantasy and science fiction, you were always waiting for a moment where you thought that the images on television were going to be as good as what you were seeing in the theater, but there was a big separation when I was a kid. [I]t’s thrilling that we can make something like Star Wars because technology has advanced and that’s one of the dreams that George [Lucas] had. When I worked with him on Clone Wars he would talk about the future being streaming, the future being episodic serialized Star Wars because, it’s like what [Jon] said, it influenced him. It is cool to help get to make it so I like that.”
As I mentioned earlier, press had the opportunity to watch 27 minutes of footage presented from different episodes from the series. As someone who isn’t overly familiar with Star Wars, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the footage, but I went in with an open mind and the hope that I would be able to follow along. Surprisingly, I was blown away by what we were shown. Though it wasn’t an entire episode, the vignettes that were presented were enough to suck me in. Intense, violent, and filled with mind-blowing creature designs and breathtaking cinematography, I instantly knew that whatever THE MANDALORIAN was offering, I was 100% in. I still don’t know much about Pedro Pascal’s character, The Mandalorian, outside of that he’s a bounty hunter who has been given a rather large bounty to acquire. He comes across as an anti-hero of sorts, and it is those type of characters that fascinate me more than anything. Plus, we get to see him fight a giant alien rhino-type creature and how can I say no to that?
As for why we saw what we did, Favreau explained, “We wanted to compile little bits from different episodes because I think what’s fun about this, and with this new service, is that everybody, wherever they are, if they have this service they are seeing it first.” Favreau also went on to confirm that each episode would be released weekly, stating: “It’s also nice to have people to be able to experience something at the same time, which is what I really loved about watching Game of Thrones. There’s a sense of what’s going to happen this week and the idea that it’s not cascading down…[F]or us, there’s a really fun dialogue that we are looking forward to that we usually normally only get at the conventions. When you get to show, people get to react, and then you get to talk about it and it gets us excited as filmmakers.” For those who may not have Disney+ is their area yet, Favreau is optimistic that at some point, everyone will have the chance to experience THE MANDALORIAN: “Now, of course, the service isn’t available everywhere yet, but as it rolls out, hopefully, everybody around the world will be able to have that same experience.”
To conclude, I can tell you that as a horror fan, it feels like I’ve found something in the Star Wars universe that I can grasp on to. Monstrous creatures, people getting cut in half by a door, Stormtrooper’s helmets placed atop spikes (I have no idea if their head is in the helmet but either way it’s rad), seamless fight scenes, and more. I don’t know how the show will play out once it’s released, but from what I saw, I can say with complete honesty that I’ve never been so excited for a piece of Star Wars entertainment as I am for THE MANDALORIAN. Stay tuned for more on THE MANDALORIAN leading up to its release on November 12, 2019 on Disney+.