Behind the Scenes
The first bit of unstreamed footage came fairly early in the panel. After show creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni set up the idea behind the series, they brought cast members Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers to the stage. The team ran down some basics about the show and characters – that it’s set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, that Pascal’s unnamed Mandalorian character is working for Weathers’ Greef Carga, and that Carano is playing ex-rebel shock trooper Cara Dune – and then aired the behind-the-scenes reel.
The three-minute footage showed the cast and creatives hard at work, and put a lens on the episode directors: Deborah Chow, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, Taika Waititi, and Filoni. The emphasis was also on the “underworld” aspect of the series, showing off new planets, creatures, and ships – like the Mandalorian’s craft, Razor Crest – as well as concept art and footage that showed a lot of familiar faces, too. The footage showed images of twi’leks, jawas, Rodians, dewbacks, and a character who was either Bossk or another Trandoshan alien.
We thought the behind-the-scenes stuff was all we were going to get, but Favreau and Filoni had another surprise in order: an extended scene and a trailer-like sizzle reel. The scene opens in a cantina and shows Reef Carga sending the titular Mandalorian on a mission to retrieve a mysterious object for Werner Herzog’s villainous character. As the Mandalorian moves through the streets to Herzog’s lair, he passes by a street vendor selling roasted Kowakian monkey-lizards. Once he arrives, he’s led to Herzog by what looks like a gonk droid. Herzog is there, flanked by dirtied Stormtroopers, one of whom tells the Mandalorian, “We have you, 4 to 1.” “I like those odds,” he responds.
The Mandalorian and Herzog strike up a deal. Herzog gives him beskar – the material that makes Mandalorian armor – in exchange for the Mandaolorian’s assistance in retrieving an item. Herzog also makes it clear that the beskar is only a down payment, and the exchange ends with a bit of tension; it’s clear both of these characters are morally ambiguous, but that Herzog’s is fully mourning the loss of the Empire, and still clinging to whatever leftovers he can get.
The scene then faded into the Lucasfilm logo and we got a quick montage of footage that brought a lot of the concept art to life. We see Carrano’s Cara Dune in full action mode, new ships flying through space, jawas with blasters, IG-88 mowing folks down, the Mandalorian literally kicking Stormtrooper ass, Giancarlo Esposito flying a TIE fighter, and even someone who might just be the Devaronian – aka the devil-faced cantina patron – from A New Hope. In a voiceover, Herzog’s character says, “The Empire improves every system it touches.” Will the show eventually show us how the First Order was created?
All in all, The Mandalorian looked absolutely stunning. It got an uproarious reception from the audience, and it shows the darker fringes of the galaxy, the true scum and villainy. It will also fill in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, a chunk of time that we still know relatively little about, specifically how it functioned politically.
Images: Disney+, Lucasfilm