Up to this point, all we really knew about The Mandalorian is that it’s going to be exclusively available on Disney’s streaming service, it’s got a heck of a cast (with Pedro Pascal in the title role), IG-88 shows up, and there’s only one official image that we keep seeing over and over again (which is, yes, the one above this text).
On Sunday at Star Wars Celebration in a snowy (seriously) Chicago, we finally got our first substantial look at The Mandalorian.
The big news was seeing the first footage of The Mandalorian, which starts with the title character being offered a series of jobs by Carl Weathers’ character, but the bounties aren’t appealing. The idea is raised of a riskier bounty being offered by another party.
It’s here we see the Mandalorian walking through town and it’s an Easter egg delight. We see poor Salacious Crumb about to be barbecued, we see a gonk droid, EV-9D9 shows up as a bartender, and we even see that probe ball that jolts out at C-3PO outside Jabba’s palace.
The Mandalorian enters a room full of Stormtroopers who are guarding Werner Herzog’s character — who is there to offer the Mandalorian an offer he can’t refuse. And yes, this is a very “Werner Herzog” scene. It’s pretty incredible.
After this, we are introduced to Gina Carano’s character (described as a loner) in a montage that included a scene that legitimately made me say, “Oh, yes!” It’s only about two seconds, but we finally, after 39 years, get to see IG-88 in action. And he’s twisting and turning and blasting away like the killer droid he is. Oh man, he looks great. Long live IG-88!
The rest of the footage (shown earlier in the panel) was a montage of shots, intermixed with concept art and showrunner Jon Favreau explaining some of the backstory. The gist is that the story takes place five years after Return of the Jedi and the galaxy — after the fun of the Empire falling has subsided — has fallen into chaos. And there are still areas controlled by some remaining remnants of the Empire and there are a lot of systems that don’t have much oversight, if any. Favreau really did seem to harp on the word “chaos.” Pedro Pascal added later there’s a lot of Clint Eastwood in this character.
My biggest takeaway from that part of the footage is just how much it looks and feels like the era surrounding Return of the Jedi: We see concept art of a Jawa Sandcrawler, we see the Mandalorian riding a Dewback, and (my favorite part) we see the return of Scout Troopers and those Jedi era Speeder Bikes.
Also, Favreau was adamant to point out they used a lot of models as opposed to CGI starships. And we saw footage of these models being made the old fashioned, painstaking way. (The behind the scenes footage was reminiscent of the old behind the scenes stuff we’d see from the original trilogy.) A whole process they admit they can’t believe they were allowed to do (usually the studio would instruct them to just use CGI) and that it was incredibly fun.
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