There’s a chance that over the past two months, you’ve missed some brand new Star Wars. That’s right. For the last eight weeks, Disney+ has been releasing new episodes of Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian, a behind the scenes documentary show about the making of, you guessed it, The Mandalorian. Over almost four hours, executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni led lively, in-depth discussions with all of the actors, directors, effects people, and more who helped bring the Star Wars live-action series to life.
For fans, the show is heaven, but if you followed The Mandalorian over the course of its production, you may already know everything that’s revealed: how Ludwig Göransson came up with the score, discussion of Baby Yoda, the technological advances, the stuntpeople who played Mando, etc. What you didn’t know or, more specifically, what you didn’t see was all of those things actually taking place.
It’s one thing to read something. It’s another thing entirely to actually see how it came to life. And that’s where Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian really shines. We’ve gathered the moments that shined most from the entire season of the documentary series, in no particular order. Some last just a second, others are longer, but after watching all of the episodes, this is what stuck with us.
The trooper helmets (Episode 1, “Directing”) – It only takes a second but Filoni and Favreau are captured looked at a drawer full of Stormtrooper helmets and geeking out about how they aren’t going to explain why these are all going on stakes, they’re just going to do it.
Dave Filoni’s first Lucasfilm call (Episode 1, “Directing”) – Filoni, who made his live-action directorial debut with The Mandalorian, talks about working at Nickelodeon and getting a call from Lucasfilm Animation (which didn’t exist yet) because George Lucas (who he didn’t know yet) wanted him to work on The Clone Wars (which, you guessed it, didn’t exist yet). Not only is it a great story, but it’s also a key moment in Star Wars history. Filoni changed the whole franchise as we knew it.
The real Mandalorians (Episode 3, “Cast”) – Disney Gallery finally lets audiences meet the two men who are almost always in the Mandalorian suit. The people Pedro Pascal fully admits he plays “third fiddle” to. They are Brendan Wayne, grandson of John Wayne, who does most of the gun battles, and Lateef Crowder, who does most of the fighting and physical activity.
The joke is on Bryce (Episode 1, “Directing”) – An episode of The Mandalorian was by far the biggest thing, to that point, Bryce Dallas Howard had ever directed. And there’s a great moment when Favreau jokes she got assigned Chapter 4, “Sanctuary,” because it was the most difficult episode and only an inexperienced person wouldn’t know just how difficult shooting it would be (and therefore, wouldn’t complain).
George Lucas’ dismissal (Episode 8, “Connections”) – The finale of Disney Gallery is about all the winks and nods The Mandalorian makes to other Star Wars properties. One in particular — the rifle Mando uses — is from the Star Wars Holiday Special. Which we knew. But the show has footage of Favreau geekily telling Lucas about it, for Lucas to bluntly say “Not really” when it suggested that the rifle is canon. In your face, Holiday Special!
The Phantom Menace talk (Episode 2, “Legacy”) – In arguably the series’ most memorable and fascinating moment, Filoni goes on a deep dive giving new context to the final battle in The Phantom Menace. We talked more about it here.
Gina and Carl (Episode 3, “Cast”) – Much of episode three is spent fawning over the physical presence of Gina Carano. And for good reason. But Carano pushes that aside and goes off on a touching tangent about how incredible an actor Carl Weathers is, which almost makes him cry.
Amazing pre-viz (Episode 6, “Process”) – This is kind of a catch-all for an entire episode, but there really is that much to like about it. Episode six is about “Process” and the standout about the “Process” is that in addition to traditional storyboards, all episodes of The Mandalorian were completed in pre-visualisation before filming. And the pre-viz looks amazing. Here’s more info.
If someone were to say that a fully animated version of The Mandalorian exists, they wouldn’t be wrong. They wouldn’t be quite right either, but the truth behind the tale is fascinating.Read more
The 501st get their wish (Episode 8, “Connections”) – It’s not news that the large costumed fan group, the 501st Legion, was called in to help film scenes for the series. But it’s hard not to get emotional when you see the excitement on their faces, or as Filoni explains how these fans just went from having homemade armour to screen-used props, which is every fan’s dream.
The LED stage (Episode 4, “Technology”) – Episode four of the show focuses on “technology” which really means that, somehow, huge chunks of The Mandalorian were shot in the same room. A room completely covered, top to bottom, in LED screens that make it seem like the actors were in the environment and allowed everything to be captured in-camera. Anytime we get to see behind the scenes footage revealing that screen, it’s jaw-dropping.
The pain of R5 (Episode 8, “Connections”) – When the show takes us to the Mos Eisely Cantina in “Chapter 5,” obviously, painstaking detail was taken to make sure it looked right. One extra special detail is that R5-D4, the droid Owen Lars takes before R2-D2, is still there, and Gallery has footage of Filoni making sure even his popped motivator from decades before is represented.
Pedro’s fandom (Episode 2, “Legacy”) – Almost all actors who join Star Wars admit to being Star Wars fans, but the Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal, goes one step further and shares a story about having advanced tickets to see Return of the Jedi in a theatre when he was growing up.
Baby Yoda (Episode 5, “Practical”) – Just when you thought Disney Gallery isn’t going to get into the best character on the entire show, episode five spends nine glorious minutes on “The Child,” aka Baby Yoda. We learn where he came from, see early designs, learn about the on-set puppet. The segment is so good, we covered it more in-depth here.
The Gallery has finally gotten to the Baby.Read more
Weathers emerges (Episode 3, “Cast”) – One of the bigger revelations on Disney Gallery is the story of how Weathers was cast, how he was originally going to be an alien with makeup, and how the producers changed their minds because he’s Carl Weathers. Read more here.
The Real Kuill (Episode 5, “Practical”) – Though you hear Nick Nolte’s voice when you see Kuill on the screen that’s obviously not him in the suit. In fact, it’s a woman named Misty Rosas, and Disney Gallery gives her a nice little spotlight where she talks about playing the character.
Rick’s first movie (Episode 1, “Directing”) – Rick Famuyiwa directed two episodes of The Mandalorian season one and you can really see what it meant to him when he tells the story of his dad taking him to the movies for the first time ever to see a movie called Star Wars.
The Darksaber (Episode 8, “Connections”) – Considering the reveal of the Darksaber is the final thing we see in season one, not much more is shared about it. But there is footage of the actual prop used on-screen and while it was likely enhanced with CGI for the final episode, the actual props are ridiculously gorgeous.
The wall of sound (Episode 7, “Score”) – Watching Ludwig Göransson explain all of the instruments he has and used to create the score for The Mandalorian is excellent, but there’s a moment in particular where he reveals he basically has a wall-sized unit designed to make sounds that feels like something out of Star Wars itself. It’s a moment where you realise he was just the right person for the job.
iPhone music (Episode 7, “Score”) – When we spoke to Göransson, he told us about the first time he played his score for The Mandalorian for Favreau and Filoni. Well, that footage is in Disney Gallery. They’re blown away and Favreau holds the iPhone up to the camera to commemorate the moment.
Two excellent revelations (Episode 8, “Connections”) – While Disney Gallery wasn’t packed in the way of shocking revelations, two excellent things are revealed in its final episode. First, Mark Hamill himself voices the new droid bartender at the Mos Eisley Cantina in “Chapter 5.” And second, the X-Wing directors Filoni, Deborah Chow, and Rick Famuyiwa fly in “Chapter 6” is the actual X-Wing that lives in Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando, Florida. Production borrowed it before it was shipped to the theme park
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