Mandalorian Episodes

Jon Favreau really wanted in on that Star Wars action. So much so that he went ahead and wrote four episodes of his upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian before Disney even approved the show. Favreau wasn’t just jumping the gun – he wanted to ensure that he and Disney were on the same page regarding his specific vision for the Star Wars series.

the mandalorian technology

A Specific Vision

We still haven’t seen any footage of The Mandalorian, but that might be about to change. A trailer for the series will hit D23 this Friday – which means it might arrive online, too. Keyword being might. For now, though, all we have to go on is Jon Favreau’s word. In a wide-ranging interview with THR, Favreau dishes some dirt on The Mandalorian, and reveals that he was so committed to realizing his specific vision for the show that he started writing it before Disney even gave him a firm “yes.”

“I wrote four of the episodes before I even had a deal,” Favreau says, “because I wanted to do this but only if they wanted to do the version that I wanted to do.” The filmmaker added:

“I had been thinking about Star Wars since Disney acquired Star Wars. When I was working on Lion King, it was a full-time job for a few of the years, but there was a lot of time when I just had to be available for three very focused hours a day. The TV model allowed me to be an executive producer [on Mandalorian], which allowed me to, on my own time, write everything.”

the mandalorian details new

No Direction 

As you may have noticed above, Favreau only mentions writing the series – not directing. When the project was first announced, it was assumed that the filmmaker would direct at least some of The Mandalorian. But when the list of director’s names arrived – a list that includes Taika Waititi, Dave Filoni, and more – Favreau’s name wasn’t among them.

“It’s a lot like being a chef,” Favreau says. “You write the menu, you staff up with people who are great at what they do, you oversee and help guide the people who are actually cooking the food, working the line, and then at the end, you plate.” He added that the “type of Star Wars” that he’s “inspired to tell is a smaller thing with new characters.”

George Lucas Advice to Jon Favreau

George Lucas Influences

You can’t be involved with Star Wars without someone asking you about George Lucas. And that’s fine with Favreau because he says Lucas’ push for new technology in filmmaking is a big part of Star Wars. In Favreau’s words, Lucas is “the bedrock that all of this is built on. He is the first person that had digital photography, he was the first person to do completely CG characters. The whole notion of not having even a print [version of the film], of having everything be 0’s and 1’s, was all George. Not to mention EditDroid, which turned into Avid, Pixar was spawned out of their laboratories at LucasFilm, so he is arguably the center of the Big Bang for everything that I’m doing. It’s building on the shoulders of what he was able to innovate.”

live-action Lion King shot

Hands-On Digital

The Mandalorian is going to be employing plenty of cutting-edge digital tech, and Favreau’s recent film The Lion King inhabited an entirely digital world where nothing was real. One could argue that all this digital cinematography leaves very little for a filmmaker to do other than sit back and gaze a computer screen. But according to Favreau, his hands were all over The Lion King

“Either you have an animator making choices or you have an actor making choices, but it is a human being; it is not a computer,” he says. “Lion King is the most handmade film I’ve ever done. There are thousands of hours of human attention being dedicated to every shot of that film.”

When THR points out that some of the actors on The Lion King didn’t even meet until the premiere, Favreau counters:

“But Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen were in my editing room and on that stage for dozens of hours working on every scene with me. It allows people to engage. It allows Donald Glover to work with Beyoncé in a way where Donald Glover is in London working on Solo and Beyoncé is having twins. They would have not been able to participate in this film had it not been for this technology. However, if you wanted to take this and push people out of the equation, technology can always be used to do that. So when does technology end up enriching the human experience and when does it end up isolating us or replacing us? That’s why I want to be in the middle of this conversation.”

The Mandalorian premieres November 12, 2019.

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