In March 2018, Lucasfilm announced that there was indeed a Star Wars TV series in the works and it would be helmed by none other than Jon Favreau. It's called The Mandalorian and it's currently exclusively streaming on Disney Plus. We're extremely light on spoilers, so don't be worried.
Favreau has been a Disney stalwart for over a decade now. He’s flitted between the Marvel world, directing the first two Iron Man films (as well as starring in them), starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story and has been a part of the animated Clone Wars TV series. He was also chosen to direct the live-action Jungle Book. On his slate next is a live-action version of The Lion King, so his Disney overlords are keeping him very busy.
You wouldn’t think he would have time for anything else but he’s executive producing The Mandalorian and will be working “with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base”.
At Star Wars Celebration Chicago, Favreau revealed loads about the upcoming Star Wars TV show, including some of the cast who will be appearing, and even showed off some footage.
Here’s everything we know so far....
The Mandalorian release date
The Mandalorian release date is not too far, far away…. sorry. It will be available on Disney Plus starting on November 12.
Except, that is, for those in the United Kingdom: we just found out that the Disney Plus UK release date (opens in new tab) is March 31, 2020. The service will also hit Germany, France, Italy and Spain on that date.
The Mandalorian poster
Disney revealed a new poster for The Mandalorian to kick off D23 Expo 2019, showing off Pedro Pascal's titular character in front of his ship. Check it out:
#TheMandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars series, only on #DisneyPlus. Start streaming November 12. @TheMandalorian pic.twitter.com/Dxum2bZDCaAugust 23, 2019
The Mandaloria trailer: here's your first look
After months of anticipation, Disney finally dropped a trailer for The Mandalorian at the D23 Expo 2019. This first look teases what could be the grittiest live-action Star Wars project yet, with seedy underworld characters, brutal cantina fights and a bit of space combat for good measure. Check it out below!
Bounty hunting is a complicated profession. @TheMandalorian, an original Star Wars series, starts streaming November 12, only on #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/FIWYIWPaITAugust 24, 2019
The Mandalorian images: first action shots are here
In September 2019, Entertainment Weekly unveiled an exclusive photo of The Mandalorian fighting a pair of Trandoshans, the brown-skinned, spiky headed alien race that classic bounty hunter Bossk belongs to. The shot seems like confirmation that we'll get plenty of gritty hand-to-hand combat in Favreau's new show, and that he'll be pulling from the rich wealth of alien races that make up Star Wars' seedier underworlds.
What's The Mandalorian about?
John Favreau chose Instagram as the first place to reveal all about The Mandalorian. He explained the plot as: “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far rom the authority of the New Republic....”
Note the four dot ellipsis there - something that annoys the hell out grammar folks, but definitely Star Wars canon.
At the Star Wars Celebration Chicago, Favreau went into more depth, noting that the show takes place around five years after the Return of the Jedi and will be packed with new planets and different alien races. While some Star Wars fans will have an adverse reaction to anything ‘new’ and ‘different’, he also promised that it will “feel completely connected and familiar” to the Star Wars universe we all know and love.
While no footage has been revealed to the general public, a sizzle reel was shown at the Star Wars Celebration. io9 saw the footage and revealed that there was a scene that takes place in a cantina (all very Mos Eisley) between Werner Herzog’s character and Pedro Pascal’s, as well as various shots of new and familiar creatures, including Jawas, Twi'leks, and even a Devaronian. io9 reckons “the footage not just looked great, it looked cinematic and very, very Star Wars”. Woop.
Just what is a Mandalorian?
The Mandalorian are not an unknown Star Wars entry. They are from planet Mandalore and aren’t actually mentioned by name in the movies but they are there and one of them is mighty famous.
Boba Fett (as is Jango) is from Mandalore and the planet and the people are cited a lot in what is now called the Star Wars Legends series, the rebranded Star Wars Expanded Universe stuff that doesn’t quite fit into the official canon.
Mandalorian warriors can also be seen in the superb Star Wars Rebels animated series—one of the main characters, Sabine Wren, is one - and the planet was also featured in the Clone Wars animated series with the Season 5 Death Watch arc, which features none other than Darth Maul. The planet also has its very own episode called The Mandalore Plot in season 2 of The Clone Wars. Oh, and Favreau voiced Pre Vizsla who was from… Mandalore.
The finale of The Clone Wars was also meant to take place on Mandalore but then it got cancelled. But, it is being resurrected as a show, so maybe we will see it again?
All of this offers food for thought for what The Mandalorian will be about.
The Mandalorian cast: who's starring and directing?
John Favreau is on exec producer duties which means a director for the pilot episode of the show was up for grabs. In a post on StarWars.com, it was revealed that pilot directing duties would go to someone who was already an established Star Wars guru and that is George… only joking, it’s Dave Filoni. Filoni is the man behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels and will also write the recently announced Star Wars Resistance.
At the 2019 D23 Expo, Disney revealed that Ming-Na Wen is in the cast of The Mandalorian. We got our first look at her character in a recent Vanity Fair (opens in new tab) article, where the actress compared her character's shifting allegiances to those of Han Solo.
Given it's likely that Mandalorian has a Rebels tinge to it, then it makes utter sense that he would be involved.
The other directors for the series are an eclectic bunch. They include: Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok).
There have been two very big casting rumors so far and, annoyingly, they haven’t been female as that would add more weight to Sabine Wren being the main character.
As for the cast, there are a number of big names involved. Pedro Pascal, from Game of Thrones and Narcos, is playing the lead. He’s basing the character on Clint Eastwood’s iconic Man With No Name from the iconic Dollars trilogy. “He’s got a lot of Clint Eastwood in him,” Pascal explained at the Star Wars Celebration Chicago.
Pascal has also been brushing up on Akira Kurosawa movies, which is good because The Hidden Fortress was a massive inspiration for the Star Wars saga.
Alongside Pascal, there’s Gina Carano who will be playing Cara Dune. In a past life she was a shock trooper and now she’s out on her own. And that’s all we really know. “I’m a bit of a loner, which isn’t a far stretch,” said Carano at the Chicago event. “And I’m having a bit of trouble reintegrating myself into society.”
Another character that was revealed on stage was Greef Carga, Played by Apollo Creed himself (well, Carl Weathers) he heads up a bounty hunter guild. “He’s looking for someone to go after a product he wants to bring to a client that’s worth a lot and that’s very valuable. And guess who he finds?” asked Weathers at the Star Wars Celebration. “He finds a bounty hunter named Mandalorian…and the Mando does what needs to be done.”
Other names that have been announced (although their characters are still a secret) are: Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo), Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), Emily Swallow (Supernatural), Omid Abtahi (American Gods) and Nick Nolte (Hulk).
It also looks like Rogue One cinematographer Greig Fraser will be involved which would be fantastic as he nailed the old-school Star Wars look in that movie.