The Mandalorian unmasked at Star Wars Celebration Chicago


Star Wars Celebration Chicago saved The Mandalorian for Sunday morning at the Celebration Stage, but the wait and the surprises were worth it.

Sure, Disney+ has all kinds of Marvel series up its sleeve, but The Mandalorian has something more distinctive about it. It’s the first Star Wars live-action series — and it got its own panel at Star Wars Celebration Chicago on Sunday, with Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni (hat in place), Kathleen Kennedy, Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers.

Our first reveal was the series’ logo, which involves our title character standing in for the second A of Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian (2019). Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

“You have chaos taking over in the galaxy,” Favreau explained as to why he wanted to explore this post-Civil War period. “To me, [the cantina] was a very rich environment to tell a story,” he added, name-checking the “scum and villainy” as of particular interest to him.

But don’t worry — this series is meant to tie things in from everywhere in Star Wars history, including parts of the Legends canon.

“Fantasy fulfillment, that’s what it’s like,” Pascal said simply when asked what it’s like. “Some might say he has questionable moral character; he’s in line with some of our best Westerns.”

“He’s a badass,” Pascal said, noting he finds the character already “iconic.”

Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN. Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Lucasfilm

Carano’s character, meanwhile, is Cara Dune, who is “an ex-Rebel shock trooper.”

“I’m a bit of a loner, having a bit of trouble re-integrating myself into society,” she explained, also citing warnings of spoilers. Later on, Favreau said, “Gina is a gamer,” and she did the majority of her stunts herself.

“There’s a part where she has to carry off a wounded character,” Favreau said, and Carano actually did that without a dummy.

Weathers, finally, has more of a leading man. “He’s running this group of bounty hunters. He’s kind of the head of this guild of bounty hunters,” he explained. “He’s looking for someone to go after a product […] that’s very valuable.” Yes, that’s Pascal’s character.

The exclusive footage shown started with the Mandalorian walking across a desolate planet, then walking into something that looked like it might be a cantina of its own. Much of the rest of it was simply behind-the-scenes, but with directors like Taika Waititi, Deborah Chow, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Rick Famuyiwa on the case, there’s a lot of promise here.

Greef (Carl Weathers) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN. Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Lucasfilm

We also got brief looks at both Weathers’ and Carano’s characters — and trust, they look fantastic. The footage also called the Mandalorian “a citizen of the underworld.”

“Let’s make it something that people could jump in on … but if you’ve been a fan, there’s a lot of care,” Favreau said, meaning that the series will be accessible for everyone from casual fans to hardcore people who can come in.

Speaking of the big fans, though, Filoni told the story of how the 501st Legion got involved, because production needed more stormtroopers. Of course, the 501st didn’t know right when they showed up, but they still participated.

Unfortunately, Filoni didn’t say how the stormtroopers get involved, although “the vestiges of the Empire” are still a factor, according to Favreau. “These people are legit,” Carano added.

Star Wars at its core has to feel like a hand-made show,” Favreau said, before giving us the name of the ship the Mandalorian uses: The Razor Crest. It’s both old army surplus and a gunship, and miniatures were made to help with more practical effects.

“We had talked a lot about Jedi and Mandalorian history,” Favreau said of his and Filoni’s work together after a fan question; now they’re “filling in” some of those bits of history.

Additionally, Favreau sent several scripts to Filoni ahead of production, just to get everyone working together and on the same page. (One of them was sent on Christmas.)

“Writing doesn’t come easily to me!” Favreau said. Another reveal: Filoni wrote a script for the series, and George Lucas did offer some help as well.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN. Photo: François Duhamel/Lucasfilm

In a response to another question, Favreau talked about some of his other references. Specifically, Caravan of Courage came up. Meanwhile, Pascal called up the spirit of Clint Eastwood, and watched Sergio Leone as well as Akira Kurosawa films.

“I was shaped by [Star Wars],” Pascal said, describing how he first came in and offered to audition for anything, only to be told that he would be playing the main character.

Filoni, asked about how The Mandalorian could be something new, acted very cagey, unable to say much without giving things away.

Finally, we have a brief description of the footage shown after the live stream cut out. It appears to be early in the series. The Mandalorian accepts a job that’s face-to-face only, only to walk in to find an Imperial official (Werner Herzog) and four stormtroopers. A doctor walks in, and the Mandalorian whips out weapons. When told he’s on the wrong end of a four-to-one fight, he says “I like those odds.” The job includes a fob, only part of a code, and what sounds like 50-year-old data. This is important to the imperial remnants.

Finally, we got a montage, including Kara and the Mandalorian fighting, a look at Giancarlo Esposito as an imperial, with flametroopers. The Mandalorian seems to put together a crew at one point, but there were also scenes of him fighting on his own — and hitting a stormtroopers so hard that he cracked the troopers’ helmet.

And indeed, we learned some, but not enough, though we do have that release date: Nov. 12.

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Stay tuned for more from Star Wars Celebration Chicago!