As you probably know, The Mandalorian returns for its third season this Wednesday. It may not seem like it, but the end of the second season was way back in 2020 when Luke Skywalker showed up and took off with Grogu to train him as a Jedi. Well, if you didn’t watch The Book of Boba Fett … surprise! That whole “training with Luke” thing didn’t work out as planned and Grogu has signed up for more adventures with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal).
Rick Famuyiwa (Talk to Me, Dope) serves as an executive producer and has directed three episodes of The Mandalorian over the first two seasons – “The Child,” “The Prisoner,” and “The Believer” – and is the director of three episodes this upcoming season, including the opening episode this week and the last two episodes of the season. Little is known about what adventures The Mandalorian and Grogu will face this season, but we tried to find out as much as we could.
Are you at all worried about the people who only watch The Mandalorian and missed some key character developments on The Book of Boba Fett?
[Laughs] Oh my goodness. I mean, look, I’m excited for it to be out there and there are always so many expectations. Man, speculations. Those who’ve seen everything. Those who haven’t. So you’ll get caught up soon enough, I guess. You’ll figure it out!
Wrapping up Luke and Grogu on a different show, but was that done to clear the way for what the arc of this third season is?
I think so much of what our show’s been about is that central relationship between Grogu and Mando, Din Djarin. And how it began as this bounty. And, obviously, Din Djarin, the things that he had to do in terms of taking off his helmet and revealing his face and in the course of having this child under his care. And then Grogu making a choice, too, to come back and choose to be back with Mando. I think puts us in a very good place. It’s a place that’s familiar. It’s one that the show has centrally been about. And so, yeah, I won’t necessarily speak for Jon [Favreau] in that regard, but I always saw it as how we begin this season as getting us back to where we were, but now there’s a permanence about it that makes it more relevant.
So all I’ve seen is the trailer for this season. What would you say are the overarching themes of the season? Because it does seem there’s some sort of civil war coming between some Mandalorian factions.
I think that the Mandalorian and the definition of that has expanded from our initial main character being a Mandalorian. And that was all we knew about him. And now how that’s expanded as he’s expanded, both as a character and the journey he’s been on. We’ve seen that definition change as he met other Mandalorians who had a different point of view and a different set of beliefs and values around what being Mandalorian is. So I think season three really is the culmination of that definition. And I think what’s hinted in the trailer, in terms of that we’re going to see more Mandalorians and that Mandalore is going to be a central part of that story. But I think the overarching narrative and themes around this season is around the definition of the Mandalorian, the identity of it, the culture of it. What that means, what it means to have different viewpoints within that. And then, ultimately, how those viewpoints come together and clash as the season moves on.
I always enjoy the episodes you direct. What is your approach to Star Wars? When you come in, what are you thinking? In terms of, all right, here’s what I want to bring to this.
It’s funny because yeah, the first film I saw in a theater was Star Wars.
Yeah, mine was The Empire Strikes Back.
Yeah, so we grew up with this. But there are a lot of people who’ve checked in with Star Wars at different points along the way. And whether that was the Prequel era, whether it’s through the animated series, whether it’s through gaming or the books, I think people have found the world in their own ways. And obviously the show The Mandalorian was an entry point for a lot of folks. So I’ve always felt like telling stories in Star Wars was limitless. And what was exciting about what we did with this show was tell stories about new characters that were within a timeline in the world that people who, like us, have been watching and following for 40-plus years. And those who had never seen anything or really experienced Star Wars can get into it. So there was a way, both multi-generationally, and also just in terms of the diversity of storytelling within Star Wars that this show has been able to bring together.
So I don’t necessarily have… Even though we’re making Star Wars and telling these stories, there’s not a Star Wars way that I’m thinking about it. I think, ultimately, I’m thinking about the central characters and how we can grow and relate them. But then every decision you make, everything you do big and small, also has ripples to that history. That sense of world and community that we all know from Star Wars. So that adds a different layer of complexity to it. But I think at the heart of it, for me, the storytelling is the same. And I think the storytelling of this relationship with Mando and Grogu would hold up, whether it was in this world or somewhere else.
This might be an example of something small, but in the first episode that you directed, “The Child,” when the Trandoshans show up to fight Mando… In The Empire Strikes Back, we see Bossk and he’s just kind of standing there and growls. But everyone had the action figure and had limitless adventures. I feel like this show does that really well, these characters we all knew from the toys that didn’t do much in the movies finally seeing some action.
Yeah, exactly! And that’s what I loved about the show. One, it was new characters, but then there were also ways to honor some of these old characters that have been around for a while. They’re in the background, be it Jawas or be it the Trandoshans, and the Ice Cream Maker.
Oh yeah, from Cloud City.
It’s fun to have those elements become expanded. And even the relationship between Din Djarin and Kuiil, the Ugnaught. And now the Ugnaught was another character and in Empire, they were just in the background. But that you can add complexity and dimensionality to some of these characters was exciting, too, about what we do.
Is there another background character from the Original Trilogy you’d like to see put into the show?
Oh my goodness … man. I feel like they just somehow pop up and end up in them without even thinking. But no, I don’t know if there’s any one that I’ve really been like, “Oh my God, let’s figure out a way.”
Remember Prune Face? The action figure? We need to get that guy in something.
[Laughs] Yeah, let’s talk to Jon and Dave Filoni, see what they’re cooking up.
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.