Actor-turned billion-dollar filmmaker Jon Favreau has idolized the Star Wars saga and everything within its universe since he first saw “Star Wars” (1977) and “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) as a kid.
But the 52-year-old father of three says his obsession with “Star Wars” far surpassed the basics of Luke, Leia, Hans, Chewie, Vader, C-3PO, R2D2 and the Millennium Falcon.
“What was it like on Tatooine? What was going on in that cantina? That has fascinated me since I was a child,” Favreau said. “I love the idea of the darker, freakier side of ‘Star Wars.'”
And the darker, freakier side of “Star Wars” is what Favreau promises to deliver in the brand-new “Mandalorian” series, set to debut on the Disney+ streaming service on November 12 with the official trailer for the series dropping Friday at this weekend’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
“Star Wars” fans are familiar with two Mandalorians already: Jango Fett, who appeared for the first time in “Episode II: Attack of the Clone Wars,” and Jango’s genetic clone Boba Fett, who first appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Both are fearless intergalactic bounty hunters and expert marksman. Vader himself is no match.
But the story behind “The Mandalorian” isn’t about Jango Fett. It isn’t about Boba Fett. It’s the story of a new bounty hunter, a lone fighter who lives in the far reaches of the galaxy where the clutches of the New Republic have no grasp.
Jon Favreau is a dynamic actor in his own right, but he doubles as a brilliant filmmaker and director. His trail of success is impossible to miss. Maybe you’ve heard of “Iron Man,” “The Jungle Book” (remake), and “The Lion King” (remake).
And if the wild success of these films is any indication of the potential in the upcoming “Mandalorian” series, Star Wars fans are in for one of the best stories ever told about the galaxy far, far away.
Favreau is doing “The Mandalorian” on his own terms
Favreau was so sure of the series, that he had already written four episodes of “The Mandalorian” before he ever had a deal with Disney.
“I only wanted to do it if they would go with the version I wanted to do,” Favreau says.
In one part, Favreau was referring to the attention to detail in the series: a certain look to the lead character, the almost mysteriously macabre feel of the Mandalorian helmet and the way the elusive bounty hunter carries himself.
“I’m trying to evoke the aesthetics of not just the original trilogy but the first film. Not just the first film but the first act of the first film,” Favreau explains.
But Favreau points out that he only planned to move forward with his story if Disney would allow him to film it the way he wanted to as well.
“Disney+ is emerging and there’s an opportunity to tell a story that’s bigger than television,” Favreau said, speaking about the first original production of Disney’s new streaming service. “The type of ‘Star Wars’ that I’m inspired to tell is a smaller thing with new characters,” Favreau said.
And he has done so with an unconventional filming approach that makes use of game engine technology, virtual camera work and virtual production. “The Mandalorian” series was filmed using cutting-edge technologically-advanced video walls with live actors in front of those walls.
According to Favreau, some in the industry will argue that the move toward a completely digital form of filmmaking is a bad thing, but Favreau sees it as an exciting new way of storytelling and points out that animation is created by live humans, just like actors are live humans.
A star-studded cast
The eight-episode series was created by Favreau (with a bit of inspiration from George Lucas) and stars Pedro Pascal (“Narcos”) as a bounty hunter with no name. The series also features Gina Carano (“Deadpool”) who plays an ex-Rebel shock trooper named Cara Dune and Carl Weathers (“Predator”) as Greef Carga, the leader of a guild of Outer Rim bounty hunters.
The series also stars Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), Werner Herzog (“Grizzly Man”), and Omid Abtahi (“American Gods”), who play members of a guild whose allegiance is still to the First Galactic Empire. Other stars include Emily Swallow (“Supernatural”) and Nick Nolte (“Affliction”).
Favreau won’t be in the Director’s chair
Though “The Mandalorian” is the brainchild of Jon Favreau’s imagination and his lifelong obsession with the details and the darkness within the “Star Wars” universe, Favreau has handed the role of director over to a directing team he assembled himself. Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels”), Deborah Chow (“Jessica Jones”), Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of the prolific Ron Howard), and Taika Waititi will each play roles as directors of the new bounty hunter series.
Catch the first official trailer at the D23 Expo
Can’t wait until November for your first glimpse of “The Mandalorian?” No worries.
Apparently the powers that be predicted the huge interest in the new bounty hunter series, so the first official trailer for “The Mandalorian” will debut at the D23 Expo tomorrow at First Look Showcase along with other Disney+ feature programs. There’s even a hint that attendees of the Expo might even be treated to a complete scene from the new series. But “Star Wars” fans will have to wait until tomorrow to see if that “hint” is rumor mill fodder or the real deal.
Are you pumped about the new “Mandalorian” series? How do you think it will fare among other Star Wars fans? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Rotten Tomatoes