The Mandalorian has touched down in Chicago. At Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni offered an inside look at the Disney+ series, which is set to release on the streaming service this fall.
Kennedy recalled Favreau's pitch for the series. "It was instantaneous. We were so exciting that there was an opportunity to bring this to the screen, and I also have a feeling that everybody in this room knows that this guy [Dave Filoni] is a rockstar," she shared.
"What could be more exciting than Dave Filoni directing live-action?" she continued. "So the fact that Jon and Dave have come together and are working together on The Mandalorian... This has been the most fun, the most amazing experiences. I'm going to let them give you a better idea of what this show is going to be about."
"It was really compelling to me, what happens after the Empire has fallen," Favreau said. "If you look throughout history, it's fine at first, but it gets complicated very quickly... You have vestiges of the Empire. You have only the strong surviving. You have chaos taking over in the galaxy."
"The idea of going back to -- there's all sorts of tones in Star Wars," he added. "When I saw the beginning of Star Wars and I saw the cantina and scum and villainy... it's a very rich environment."
"Getting back to the roots of what inspired George [Lucas] originally, the westerns and the samurai... It felt like that history in time that was so time for samurai films... When order had to be brought to the universe," he explained. Though Star Wars features many different characters, the idea was "bringing everyone together."
Favreau invited The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano to the stage. He also announced that Carl Weathers has joined the cast.
Asked what it was like to be the Mandalorian, he pointed at the photos above him. "Well, just look at the image! That's what it's like!" he cried.
"We can say he's a bounty hunter," Favreau said helpfully.
"The Mandalorian is a mysterious, lone gun-fighter in the outer-reaches of the galaxy. Some might say he is a questionable moral character, which is in line with some of our best westerns... all the good stuff. And he's a badass!"
Caranao will play Cara Dune. "She's an ex-rebel shock trooper," she explained. "I'm a bit of a loner.... and I'm having a bit of trouble reintegrating myself into society."
"Of all things I've been in, nothing comes close to this!" Weathers shared. "This group of fans is like something out of Star Wars. The character is Greif Marda and he's a guy that's running this group of bounty hunters. He's kind of the head of this guild of bounty hunters. There seems to be a lot of kind of nefarious people... He's looking for someone to go after a product for a client that's very valuable... and he finds a bounty hunter named Mandalorian... and he hires this guy and sends him out there and the Mando does what needs to be done."
A featurette for the show rolled for the audience and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Of the show's directors, Favreau said, "A primary pre-requisite was they had to be a fan and love Star Wars... We love to pull all the stories together... We've got a lot in there for you. But these are new characters and new stories." Though The Mandalorian can be enjoyed by people who haven't seen Star Wars, "If you're a fan, there's a lot of care that's gone into all the details."
"We're starting to bring in vestiges of the Empire... there was a scene where we needed Stormtroopers... and we realized we didn't have enough Stormtroopers... and so there were only so many Stormtrooper uniforms we had," Favreau recalled. He revealed that the 501st Legion was called in to fill in the gaps.
"We put a call out. We needed a bunch of Stormtroopers... and they came down! Out of nowhere! And the thing that I know about Star Wars fans is that, in all honesty, the costumes you make were better than what appears on screen," Filoni added. "As much as they look like Stormtroopers, they act like Stormtroopers... they knew what to do." According to him, they didn't need a lot of direction.
"They weren't told what it was for," Favreau said.
"They worked really hard. They didn't mess around. They were on point every day," Weathers shared. "I learned so much from these men -- and women, by the way!"
"It's the first time we've ever filmed Star Wars in Los Angeles... what made that possible was technology that I used on Iron Man and even The Jungebook," Favreau explained, added that the franchise needs to feel real. He revealed they used puppetry for the show.
"The name of the ship is the Razor Crest," he revealed. They created a miniature version of the ship for filming purposes. "Maybe let's do a shot with the miniature like they used to do," he explained. They turned to the folks at ILM. "People started coming out of the woodwork when they heard we were going this."
"Up at ILM, they shot some behind-the-scenes footage," Favreau said, then queued the footage to run. The footage demonstrated the building of the miniature model and how it was filmed to appear in flight.
Favreau addressed the Mandalorians' absence during the original and prequel trilogies. "We're coloring in the missing tiles," he teased.
"George [Lucas] came by, because he and Dave are old friends, and it's very interesting watching the two of them," he shared. "It was great to hear right from him... It's about the human connection too... Us coming together has been a really wonderful experience." He added that he is grateful to Kennedy for bringing them together.
As to his character, Pascal said, "He's got a lot of Clint Eastwood in him, and to be honest with you, I called Jon directly and said, 'What do you want me to watch?'... It was a lot of Sergio Leone...When Jon asked me to come and meet with him about something Star Wars... and it was wall-to-wall illustrations of these series... You wouldn't believe what you were seeing."
At that, Favreau cued a full clip and a sizzle reel of the series to play. The clip found the Mandalorian accepting a mission from Carl Weather's character, before he went to meet an Imperial officer. The Imperial officer -- who was guarded by four ragtag Stormtroopers -- demanded that the bounty be alive, but offered a smaller free if the bounty was terminated. The Imperial officer lamented the loss of order in the galaxy as the Mandalorian headed out to do his job.
The sizzle reel offered a glimpse of several characters, including Carano's character in action and an IG-88 droid proving itself adept at bounty hunting.
Starring Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian hits Disney+ with its first episode on Nov. 12. The monthly subscription will cost $6.99, with a yearly price of $69.99.