The Mandalorian: Everything You Need to Know About the Star Wars Spin-Off
While the big, main Star Wars saga—the Skywalker nonology, as it will never be known—is coming to an end this Christmas, there will be new projects set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away churned out for as long as they make money. Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are working on a potential trilogy, Rian Johnson is working on a potential trilogy, and there are possible one-off projects like a Boba Fett spinoff and a middle-aged Obi-Wan Kenobi film being constantly bandied about.
But before any of that, on November 12, The Mandalorian is coming. An eight-part TV spinoff, it will arrive as part of the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. Details about Disney+ rolling out in the UK are worryingly nonexistent, but it's hard not to assume something will be worked out between now and then.
The Mandalorian has been created by Jon Favreau, who, while most recognisable as Happy Hogan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and Monica from Friends' millionaire boyfriend who became a UFC fighter), was also one of the key forces responsible for kickstarting that very universe by directing the first Iron Man film.
The series is set a few years after Return Of The Jedi, and follows "a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy". It stars Pedro Pascal (the Viper from Game Of Thrones), Gina Carano (Haywire), Nick Nolte (48 Hrs), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) and Carl Weathers (Predator), and, amazingly, Werner Herzog in a supporting role. It seems to be going for a "wretched hive of scum and villainy" kind of vibe, and both Westerns and samurai films have been named as major influences.
A few images have come out here and there, and some footage has been shown to fans, but it's all being drip-fed—a trailer is said to be imminent, but in the meantime, Favreau has detailed the feel he's going for in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
"If you notice, there’s a certain look that the Mandalorian lead character has, there’s a size that the spaceship is, there’s a scale that lines up with the original trilogy," he said. "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. What was it like on Tatooine? What was going on in that cantina? That has fascinated me since I was a child, and I love the idea of the darker, freakier side of Star Wars, the Mad Max aspect of Star Wars."
Favreau—who, through films he's worked on like The Jungle Book and The Lion King, has very much embraced what technology can bring to moviemaking—also revealed that George Lucas came to the set to see what was going on, saying "When George came to our set and visited The Mandalorian, he said, 'Oh, we did this,' and what he meant was, 'We had green screen and we were building small sets and expanding upon it.' Now, we have video walls, NVIDIA video cards that allow a refresh rate that allows you to do in-camera effects, we're in there taking advantage of the cutting-edge stuff."
A move to television brings both limitations and freedoms—less money, more time. "Disney+ is emerging and there's an opportunity to tell a story that's bigger than [traditional] television," he says. "But you don't have the same expectations that a big holiday release has, which isn't the type of Star Wars that comes out of me. The type of Star Wars that I'm inspired to tell is a smaller thing with new characters."
It all sounds like it could be pretty great—we'll find out either on 20 November when whatever the UK version of Disney+ becomes launches, or on the 21st or so when it just shows up all over the internet.