the mandalorian

Giancarlo Esposito was on a Television Critics Association panel Saturday for the new Epix series Godfather of Harlem. Esposito plays Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to Forest Whitaker’s Bumpy Johnson in the gangster series. Of course, Esposito’s Breaking Bad character Gus Fring was a memorable gangster, and he lives on in Better Call Saul and he has a brief role as a very different kind of shady character in the first season of Amazon’s The Boys. He’s a busy man.

Esposito is also part of the cast of Disney+’s Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, and did an episode of the Shudder reboot of Creepshow. After his Gangster of Harlem panel, /Film was able to ask Esposito about his other two upcoming series. 

Giancarlo Esposito’s Mandalorian Character Could Go Either Way

Disney is not revealing who many of the supporting characters in The Mandalorian are, and neither is Esposito. However, given his success playing criminal characters, he did concede that he may be playing another underworld character in a galaxy far, far away.

“In a way, you might call him an underworld character,” Esposito said. “You may also look at him as a savior, as someone who might bring back some order to the world after it’s all collapsed.”

That’s a great quote, but I wouldn’t get too excited that he’s playing a good guy. Most villains see themselves as heroes, so it sounds like juicy backstory for a very memorable antagonist.

Will We Recognize Giancarlo Esposito on The Mandalorian?

Esposito has been filming in “The Volume,” the space that allowed Avatar to create its Navi and Pandora, and how Robert Zemeckis filmed his performance capture films. There are also physical locations for The Mandalorian, so filming in The Volume suggests that it’s possible Esposito won’t look like Gus Fring, or any human, when it’s finished.

“It could suggest that,” Esposito said. “We are working in The Volume. It’s a very specific atmosphere and quite fascinating to work in. I don’t want to spoil anything for you but that does suggest I might have a different persona. Who knows?”

Even Esposito hasn’t seen the finished footage.

“I have not, so I’ll be as surprised as you, man,” Esposito said.

The Mandalorian Strives For Galactic Diversity

The Mandalorian has cast a diverse lot of actors, including Pedro Pascal, Omid Abtahi, Gina Carano, Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte, Carl Weathers, Taika Waititi and more. Just like Godfather of Harlem represents a diverse cast in a black gangster story, The Mandalorian casts a wide net for diversity in the galaxy.

“It is a diverse cast, very different people but yes, diverse cast completely,” Esposito said. “That’s what Jon [Favreau] does. I’m so honored to be working with Jon Favreau who’s having such great success now and has always been one of my favorite people. I’m really happy that he is at the helm of this particular show.

Esposito expects D23 to reveal more about The Mandalorian.

His Creepshow Episode Adapts a Stephen King Novella

Creepshow is an anthology series with a new horror tale each episode, and Esposito will appear in one. He says his is an adaption of Stephen King’s short story “Gray Matter,” which was first published in 1973 and ended up in the Night Shift collection. 

“The one I did is based on a novella by Stephen King, so if you’re a reader you may have been familiar with it,” Esposito said. “However, it comes out of a relationship that Stephen King had with George Romero for many, many years. They wrote it together when they were both very young. Greg Nicotero is someone who really has done a great job in bringing that back to life with Adrienne Barbeau does my episode. I’m so happy. She was in the original [Creepshow movie].”

Stephen King short stories have been dense enough to adapt into feature films, although admittedly Graveyard Shift, The Mangler and The Lawnmower Man were a stretch. So an episode of Creepshow sounds about right for it. The story is about a group of locals who visit an old work friend in a snow storm, only to find he’s turned into something else.

Creepshow premieres September 26. The Mandalorian premieres November 12 on Disney+.

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