It’s only a couple months now until The Mandalorian launches on Disney Plus, and to whet our appetites for morally ambiguous space fantasy action we’ve got even more details to go through.
In a lengthy report by IGN, Dave Filoni talks the challenge of directing and executive producing The Mandalorian, his first live-action work, and we also get our first look into the cockpit of the Mando’s ship, the Razor Crest.
“I was taught by George and there are a lot of things that I want to do with Star Wars, that I feel make something feel like Star Wars and very classic,” Filoni said of his experience working on The Mandalorian, his first live-action series after over a decade working on the animated end of the Star Wars universe.
“But of course everything I was doing was the first time I was doing it, in a way, because it’s live-action. So while it’s a world that’s familiar to me, it was a medium that was not as familiar to me — though George had prepared me well over the years with his training. I was fortunate to have Jon, people like Greig Fraser [director of photography on The Mandalorian and Rogue One] on board to help guide me through the process and help realise what I was trying to do shooting-wise and performance-wise. So that was all a challenge, but an exciting one.”
He was brought into the process early, Filoni explained, to work with series lead Jon Favreau to discuss ideas and then, ultimately, to direct two episodes, including the pilot, which marked the first time Filoni worked on material he himself hadn’t written in a very long time.
“I really appreciate that he brought me into this process and that he values my point of view because I’ve been with Star Wars so long,” Filoni told IGN, “but I really wanted to accomplish the story that he set out to make. It was wonderful. I was very flattered that he was willing even to have me direct the pilot. So that was a great honour and responsibility.”
Interestingly, parts of the process were actually familiar to Filoni, as the filming — as Favreau has discussed in other interviews — was done using virtual reality and video game engine technology, allowing for blocking out scenes in digital environments before putting them together on a practical set, not dissimilar to animation techniques used for similar purposes.
I would liken it in some ways to what I was doing with George on The Clone Wars, where now through digital technology you can visualise scenes and sequences earlier. In animation, we call it a previs and it was a natural fit for me in this process because it did have these digital elements, but some of it when we were shooting was really brand new technology.
And that also was good for me because I didn’t have any preconceived notion about how anything should be done. I was learning the process with all the new technology... And there’s a strong animation component in the way that we visualise some of the things early on in the virtual blocking... It’s one of the reasons why Kathy [Kennedy] thought this would be a great connection for me. Not just because I knew Jon, but I had some insights into the technology.
And while Filoni didn’t dish much on the actual content side, IGN does have a quick first look at the interior of the Mando’s ship, the Razor Crest, in the form of a sharp piece of concept art.
The art shows the Mando at his one-man cockpit, which looks… well, like a Star Wars cockpit. I wonder where the bathroom is. Do these things have bathrooms? Also, IGN confirms that the cockpit will be represented on-screen by a practical set, which is always nice to have. That tactile feeling always makes Star Wars pop.
The Mandalorian launches alongside Disney Plus on November 12 in the U.S. and will launch on November 19 in Australia.