Most of The Mandalorian series has been shot in The Volume, which utilizes StageCraft technology to bring the world of Star Wars to life on a soundstage with the use of massive LED screens. It’s a pretty awesome piece of filmmaking tech!
Well, the crew of the series was forced to actually leave The Volume and shoot on location for one episode. That episode was Chapter 14, “The Tragedy”. It was Boba Fett’s first big badass episode. As I was watching it, I thought that scenery looked familiar! That had to be the mountain of Simi Valley in California, and you know what? It was!
In Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian Season 2, director of photography David Klein explained:
“We had to take the show to location for the first time because of its scope really. The Volume’s incredible, but it has limitations. Whenever we’re going to do direct sun we usually go to the back lot, but the backlot wasn’t big enough for this so we ended up in Simi Valley. The terrain was so difficult, everything we wanted to take up onto those rocks we had to hand carry. It’s dry up there in Simi Valley, we couldn’t have any fire, no explosions; except for when Fennec’s running on the rocks, those are practical, those are practical explosions.”
Ming-Na Wen (Fennec Shand) went on to talk about shooting on location and how it made her just want to go back to The Volume to continue the shoot because it was difficult.
“I love doing physical stuff, every day we’re running, we’re jumping, we’re parkouring up these rocky mountain peaks. There was one point where we were really high up in the rocks and I’m watching the camera men carry these fifty pound (rigs) and I’m trying to traverse and we’re trying to avoid poison oaks and we’re trying to avoid rattlesnakes and divots and stuff. I was like, okay, let’s go back to the volume.”
In the end, they delivered one hell of a great episode! The Simi Valley mountain location worked perfectly.