As we draw closer to the season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian, Disney fans grow extremely excited to see what the next chapter holds. In anticipation of the release, show creator Jon Favreau and director Dave Filoni sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss Din Djnarin’s–and the Child’s–upcoming return.
According to EW, we should expect the Outer Rim to get a lot more crowded in season 2. While Disney has not confirmed any new cast members or their characters, there’s a rogue’s gallery of actors who seem optimized for a Comic-Con panel reportedly coming on board: Rosario Dawson (Sin City) as Clone Wars fan favorite Jedi apostate Ahsoka Tano, Temuera Morrison (who played Jango Fett in the prequels) playing presumably some version of a clone trooper or iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett, Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as a live-action version of Bo-Katan Kryze, and also Michael Biehn (The Terminator) and Timothy Olyphant (Justified) as unknown characters.
Favreau says, “The new season is about introducing a larger story in the world.” “The stories become less isolated, yet each episode has its own flavor, and hopefully we’re bringing a lot more scope to the show.” Adds Filoni, “Everything gets bigger, the stakes get higher, but also the personal story between the Child and the Mandalorian develops in a way I think people will enjoy.”
And while the first season’s episodes very strictly focused on Mando, season 2 adds new storytelling angles. “As we introduce other characters, there are opportunities to follow different storylines,” Favreau says. “The world was really captivated by Game of Thrones and how that evolved as the characters followed different storylines — that’s very appealing to me as an audience member.”
As Mando and the Child continue their quest, expect the bounty hunter to face a series of obstacles that will increasingly challenge his paternal loyalty to his ward. “We start very directly after the first [season] and he’s going into very dangerous territory,” says Pascal. “He is very much a passenger to the experience in unexpected ways — not knowing what’s to come, not knowing how much or how best to protect the Child. We don’t know how far he will go to do that, and they’re finding new ways to push the envelope.”
In addition to wearing a helmet nearly all the time on screen, Pascal points out that Mando’s motivations are largely obscured as well. “On a moment-to-moment basis, he’s discovering that question: ‘What do you want?’” the Game of Thrones veteran says. “That isn’t clear to him, or to me.” Adds Filoni, “We think we know how the characters are going to react, and it can be surprising how they do react.”
Mando and the Child are pursued by Gideon, who will serve as a source of temptation, in the classic tradition of Star Wars villains trying to lure heroes down darker paths. “I’ll be going toe-to-toe with Mando,” says Esposito, who was nominated for an Emmy for his first-season performance. “It’s an iconic battle. I want to disarm him mentally as well. Who knows? Maybe there’s an opportunity to get him to fight some battles for me. You may think I’m a villain, but I’m trying to harness some energy and some powers for a path that could be best for all. You’ll get to see him be somewhat diplomatic and more of a manipulator.”
Favreau’s original mad-brilliant conception of the Child as a key character was one of his earliest discussions with Filoni, and the idea at first seemed like a truly radical and perhaps heretical notion. “When he brought up in the very beginning of doing this child and having it be of Yoda’s species, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s very tricky, because there’s never been this before outside of Yoda, and then Yaddle in the prequels on the Jedi Council. It’s kind of a sacred thing … We just have to be responsible when we’re telling a story with what we’re deciding to do. The fans want to know things are a calculated, careful decision. Then if you tell a good story, most of the time they go with it.”
Season 2 will also separate itself from Season 1 due to the increased presence of George Lucas on set. The Star Wars creator apparently pushed Filoni to be faster and more intense.
“He would be giving Dave a hard time about how many setups he was getting and how fast he was shooting and urging him to go faster,” Favreau remembered. “He was like a boxer’s corner man coaching him, but always with a twinkle in his eye.”
Lucas’ “coaching” was not the only challenged Favreau and Filoni faced this time around. They also had to navigate the global coronavirus pandemic.
“We had to have people either recording remotely, or in much smaller groups, distanced very far apart,” Favreau says. “I’m hearing the music now as we’re mixing episodes, and it’s remarkable what they were able to achieve under the circumstances.”
There is also the challenge of the audience. Both filmmakers admitted that part of Season 1’s success came from a lack of high expectations. They now face those new expectations holding them themselves.
“I have no question fans are going to like this season even more — everything’s in there,” Carano says. “If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re going to get to see things you’ve always wanted to see.”
As Filoni reliably puts it: “You want The Empire Strikes Back to be better than A New Hope.”