During the ATX Television Festival, the creator of Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau, showed up via a pre-recorded video chat with series directors Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi to talk about the first live-action Star Wars series that was a huge hit with the fans.
They discussed a variety of things that included what they wanted to accomplish with building on the Star Wars franchise. They also talked about Baby Yoda and what went into keeping him a secret. Favreau started off with what he was looking to bring to the series, saying:
“It was specifically doing a version of Star Wars that felt small and felt like it reflected the genres that influenced George [Lucas] originally: space adventure, westerns, samurai films, WWII adventure films — those are the genres that inspired the tropes. These were at once original, but also a reflection of our cinematic past.”
Favreau went on to talk about how Boba Fett inspired The Mandalorian. and explained he used the character as a launching point but struggled with it at first because the character only has so much screen time in the original movies. He ended up teaming with Dave Filoni, because of his experience writing about the Mandolorian world in The Clone Wars animated series. The Mandalorian provided “a good opportunity to delve into this world.” Favreau went on to say:
“We all loved Boba Fett, but we never got as much of him as we all wanted. He came to unceremonious and in ‘Return of the Jedi.’ We wanted somebody that could kind of live up to what we had hoped to see when we were younger.”
It totally worked! Then, of course, there’s The Child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda, the big surprise and break-out star of the series. When talking about what this character adds to the story, Famuyiwa explained that “Baby Yoda as a reflection of Mando (Pedro Pascal), who is masked for the majority of the series.” He added:
“To me it was all about this young child’s face and his discovery of the world along with Mando re-discovering who he was.”
Baby Yoda is a mix of impressive puppeteering and digital work, but they treated him as an actor on the set of the series, which is kinda cool. As for keeping Baby Yoda a secret, it wasn’t easy. Howard said that her kids were on the set of the film every day, and with their fascination with the Child, it’s kind of a miracle that they never went out and told their friends. Favreau says:
“What a miracle that with all the kids on the set and how fixated they were, that the secret never came out that the baby was in the series at all. It was a real testament to Bryce that somehow she got her kids not to tell every single person they’d ever met about meeting him. I remember you used to have like a whole ritual that you’d go through with the kids right to help reinforce.”
Howard chimed in, adding:
“I would remind my kids every day once they were going to school, ‘What do we not talk about? Baby!’”
Favreau also talked a little bit about what to expect from season 2 of The Mandalorian, which finished shooting before Hollywood locked down.
“We are building what people loved about the first season. It doesn’t feel like the next season, it feels like we’re continuing.”
That’s great to hear and we’ll get to see the story continue later this year in October!