Biggest News From The Mandalorian Celebration Panel
Star Wars Celebration began to lift the lid on the secrets of The Mandalorian, the first ever live-action Star Wars TV series. The Mandalorian is set shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi, against the backdrop of a galaxy in chaos. The Empire has fallen, but the New Republic hasn't really stabilized as a force for law and order across the galaxy just yet. As Jon Favreau noted, in the aftermath of a revolution "it's fun at first, but it gets very complicated very quickly."
The Mandalorian will be one of the first TV shows to premiere on the Disney + streaming service, and will be available on November 12, the launch of Disney +. Given that's quite a way away, it sadly proved far too soon for a trailer drop. In fact, while footage and behind-the-scenes shots were shared at the panel, they weren't streamed online.
Filoni and Favreau were joined by special guests, stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Corano, and Carl Weathers. The whole panel were careful to avoid giving away any major spoilers, but they did confirm a few details.
The Mandalorian's true identity is evidently being set up as one of the show's greatest mysteries. The panel studiously avoided using his name, with even Pedro Pascal referring to his character as "The Mandalorian" throughout. He was described as a skilled bounty hunter with questionable morals, and Pascal suggested that his portrayal was influenced by both Westerns and old Samurai movies. The Mandalorian's ship is called the Razor Crest.
Lucasfilm may be hesitant to reveal the identity of The Mandalorian, but they did at least give names to members of the supporting cast. Gina Corano is playing an original character called Kara Dune, an ex-Rebel shock trooper who's struggling to adjust to civilian life now the Galactic Civil War has come to an end. She appears to be something of an action heroine; descriptions of the footage suggest she's every bit as skilled in battle as Pedro Pascal's character. Corano likes to do her own stunts, and told an anecdote about dragging another member of the cast during an action sequence.
Meanwhile, Carl Weathers is confirmed to be playing the part of Greef Marga. He's described as head of a local branch of the Bounty Hunters Guild, and apparently he hires the Mandalorian because "he's looking for someone to go after a product that he wants to bring to a client." Fans of the old Expanded Universe will be thrilled to see the Bounty Hunters Guild become more prominent in the Disney Star Wars canon; they were a major part of the EU, but until now have only ever been mentioned in the new canon.
Favreau and Filoni have clearly gone to great effort to ensure The Mandalorian fits perfectly into the ongoing narrative of the Star Wars galaxy. They described it as drawing in plot threads from the original trilogy, the prequels, the sequels, and The Clone Wars. Intriguingly, Favreau noted that it's "even pulling stuff in from Legends, starting to bring some of that EU stuff in." That will have to be done very carefully, given Karen Traviss' Mandalorian novels were hugely popular, but flatly contradicted The Clone Wars.
The 501st Legion is an international fan-group best known for stunning Stormtrooper cosplays and their high-profile charity events. When it came to casting Stormtroopers for The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm decided to reach out to the 501st. Amusingly, the group who turned up had no idea they were actually going to play Stormtroopers in the first live-action Star Wars TV series. Jon Favreau noted that this provided an ideal opportunity to see just how the fans would react to the show.
Jon Favreau is well-known for being at the cutting edge of modern cinema; he's the director behind the remakes of The Jungle Book and The Lion King. But with The Mandalorian, Favreau was careful to ensure that everything felt like it belonged to the same galaxy as George Lucas' movies. He went old-school, using everything from puppets to animatronics. The visual effects team even went through the films to work out the tracking shots Lucas tended to use for starfighter combat, so they could reproduce it.