the mandalorian

Fans who were lucky enough to attend Star Wars Celebration last month were treated to a bunch of footage from the upcoming live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian. The new show will be debuting with the Disney+ subscription streaming service in November, and it’s taking us back to the style of the original Star Wars trilogy in many ways. In fact, that’s one of the things that excited filmmaker Werner Herzog while working on the show as an actor.

While Werner Herzog is known for his thoughtful, often existential documentaries, when it comes to his acting career, he’s taken on an interesting array of roles, including a villain in Jack Reacher, a poker player called The German in The Grand, and a house caretaker in Parks and Recreation. But soon enough, fans will see him as a gangster in The Mandalorian, and even though Herzog has somehow never seen a single Star Wars movie, he still felt up to the task of starring in it. Plus, he also has some kind words for how this Star Wars production was executed.

Speaking with The Associated Press, Herzog explained how he came to land a role in The Mandalorian:

“I was invited by Jon Favreau, who started this whole series, to act. I looked at the screenplays, and I had the feeling, although I know very little about Star Wars, that yes, I could do it. It’s a character in whom you cannot trust. And I said, yes, I can do that.”

Herzog’s unique cadence and screen presence makes him the perfect kind of personality to put in a show that looks at the darker, seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is a show about bounty hunters, shady jobs, and survival at any cost. Herzog makes for the perfect crime boss, the kind who is eager to hire a skilled bounty hunter like The Mandalorian.

But Herzog’s perspective of sci-fi saga is a little different than most. That’s because he’s never seen a single Star Wars movie. He explained to The AP:

“I have to confess, I never saw a single [Star Wars movie]. I’ve seen some trailers, I’ve seen some excerpts here and there. I know about the whole franchise and about the toys for the kids.”

I love the way he talks about Star Wars like it’s this cute little thing (and you get a better vibe for that in the video interview). It’s not in a condescending or pretentious way, but it comes from a place where he’s been too preoccupied with his own work and different kind of films to experience the Star Wars movies himself. But he’s still very much aware of their cultural relevance, and his lack of knowledge in the Star Wars arena didn’t keep him from getting caught up in the experience, especially as a filmmaker:

“The Mandalorian was filmed not like all the other Star Wars or other big event films [with] green screen, green screen everywhere, in the camera, motion control moving there. All of a sudden, you have a phenomenal step forward. As an actor, you see the entire planet on which you are. You see the landscape, you see the formation. The camera could even be handheld and move in between us, seeing the same landscape. It’s not green screen and artificiality. It brings moviemaking back to where it should be. It’s a phenomenal, phenomenal achievement.”

Having seen the footage from The Mandalorian (check our my extensive recap), I can tell you that the aesthetic of this Star Wars series also calls back to the visual style of the original series as well. It’s dirty, lived in, and has a tangible quality to it. Since the series is set a few years after Return of the Jedi, it needs to fit into that same style. Hopefully you’ll get to see some footage soon so you can get a glimpse of what appears to be a promising expansion of the Star Wars universe.

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