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'The Mandalorian' will explore dangerous territory for 'Star Wars' diehards

Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Could Mandalorian armor be any cooler? Pedro Pascal doesn't think so.

"He's such an incredible silhouette," said "The Mandalorian" actor. "It's such an iconic image."

The first-ever "Star Wars" live-action TV series stars Pascal as the titular gun-slinging bounty hunter, clad in the style of armor made famous by Boba Fett in 1980's "Star Wars: Episode V -- The Empire Strikes Back." (It made one prior appearance, an animated debut in a segment of the 1978 "Star Wars Holiday Special.") The Mandalorian is a nameless, faceless lone warrior just trying to get by in the outskirts of a galaxy far, far away.

The series is set a few years after the fall of the Galactic Empire and before the rise of the First Order -- that is, between the events of "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens." The first episode will be available when Disney+ launches Nov. 12, with a second episode to follow later in the week and subsequent installments released weekly until the Dec. 27 season finale.

"What I like about this time period is that it's very largely unexplored outside of the Expanded Universe," said director Dave Filoni, who also serves as one of the executive producers and writers of the series. The question of "what happens in the years immediately after (the original trilogy) was something very compelling."

Despite Fett's popularity, the word "Mandalorian" was never mentioned in the original films, though the planet of Mandalore and its people had a rich history in the comics and novels of the Expanded Universe. Filoni previously worked with George Lucas to develop the canonical history of Mandalore for the animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

It was in "The Clone Wars" that "The Mandalorian" showrunner Favreau voiced a Mandalorian villain, named Pre Vizsla, looking to restore Mandalore's warrior legacy.

"There's an entire culture to the Mandalorians that they know everything about," said Pascal of Favreau and Filoni. "The history to this particular individual is teased out with very, very specific intention and, so far, a pretty specific plan."

Favreau explained that the series would take "Star Wars" back to its roots. The episodic nature of a TV series means it can conjure the westerns and samurai films that inspired the original films by following its hero as he travels town to town and planet to planet, where lawlessness has spread.

It's a world where "human nature has to persevere in spite of all of these hardships," said Favreau.

 

"The Mandalorian" cast includes Gina Carano, who plays an ex-Rebel shock trooper named Cara Dune, as well as Carl Weathers as Greef Carga, the leader of the bounty hunter guild that puts Pascal's Mando in contact with a mysterious high-paying client (played by Werner Herzog).

Carano, whose first day on set involved hopping on a blurrg, explained that director Bryce Dallas Howard had a lot of input on Cara's costume.

"You don't (often) get people that pay that close attention to how I'm going to feel in (costume)," said Carano of Howard's attention to detail. "How I feel affects my character, you know, so when I put (the armor) on, I feel like I still have my feminine figure and I still could run a person over like a Mack truck."

Howard is one of the few women to direct a live-action "Star Wars" project (the first was Victoria Mahoney, the second unit director on "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"). In addition to Howard and Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow and Taika Waititi were directors on the eight-episode first season.

For Pascal, what sets "The Mandalorian" apart from the rest of "Star Wars" is its moral ambiguity.

"With the previous 'Star Wars' experiences, I think that the worlds of good and evil are so defined," said Pascal. "This is a new territory in a world that is so familiar to us. These lines of good and bad are much harder to define. It's a much more dangerous territory."

(c)2019 Los Angeles Times

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