Disney may be slowing down the Star Wars movie production line after the commercial flop of Solo: A Star Wars Story, but things on the television side are just starting to rev up. On Thursday, director Jon Favreau revealed on Instagram the first details and title of his live-action Star Wars series, set to debut on Disney’s forthcoming streaming service.
Favreau’s show will be called The Mandalorian and take place “after the stories of Jango and Boba Fett.” “The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order,” Favreau added in his post. “We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.” In a separate post that evening, he also shared a first look at a character who is, ostensibly, the “lone gunfighter” who will serve as the show’s lead.
The TL;DR version of this is that this guy looks a lot like Boba and Jango Fett, two of the universe’s most prominent bounty hunters—though it’s important to note they were not Mandalorians. Jango wore Mandalorian armor, but he wasn’t from the planet Mandalore; Boba, meanwhile, was Jango’s clone son and the most overrated character in a major franchise (don’t @ me). The protagonist of The Mandalorian might have a similar aesthetic to those characters, but this is new ground for the live-action Star Wars universe. As for who will play the character, Pedro Pascal—whom you probably know from Game of Thrones and Narcos—has been floated in rumors.
But for now, that’s just speculative. What we do know is who will be taking turns directing the new series’ episodes. In announcing the beginning of production for The Mandalorian, Star Wars’ official website also revealed that Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Rick Famuyiwa will all direct episodes. This is, admittedly, a pretty eclectic group, ranging from the guy who just directed a Thor movie that made over $800 million worldwide last year to, well, a woman you’re more likely to recognize from her acting in Jurassic World and Black Mirror.
To give a better understanding of each of the filmmakers behind this series, let’s break them down one by one, covering where they’ve been and what they might bring to the table.
Résumé Highlights: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels
Filoni is set to direct the first episode of The Mandalorian, and is essentially the Star Wars veteran on staff. His name might not ring a bell to casual fans, but Filoni was the showrunner behind the animated series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which have both been warmly received by fans for what they added to the Star Wars mythos.
In short: Filoni knows a thing or two about creating a Star Wars show, and while having him direct the pilot might not be the flashiest pick, it’s a safe bet to make sure The Mandalorian sticks the landing from the onset.
Résumé Highlights: Better Call Saul, Jessica Jones, Mr. Robot, Fear the Walking Dead, Reign
Chow is a TV veteran who has helmed episodes of Jessica Jones, Lost in Space, Mr. Robot, Fear the Walking Dead, and The Man in the High Castle. Her directorial résumé leans heavy toward sci-fi and genre work, though the biggest reason I’m excited she’s included on The Mandalorian roster is the work she did on Better Call Saul this year.
Chow directed “Something Stupid,” the seventh episode of the AMC series’ fourth season. It was the best episode of the season—and one of the best TV episodes of the year—punctuated by a stunning opening montage that deconstructed the deteriorating relationship between Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler, while also serving as a monthslong narrative time-jump. The sequence was heartbreaking and delicately handled—and while it might not seem like an indicator of what she’ll do on The Mandalorian, it’s proof that Chow is capable of imbuing her work with moments of pathos, which all good shows require.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Résumé Highlights: Jurassic World (as an actress), Black Mirror (actress), The Help (actress), The Village (actress)
This one is a bit of a wild card. Howard obviously has the family pedigree—two-time Oscar-winner Ron Howard is her dad—and a handful of short films to her name, but going from that to a Star Wars project is a massive leap for any filmmaker to handle. This is perhaps where it’ll help to have someone like Favreau overseeing the whole enterprise—he’s a proven director of massive properties like Iron Man, The Jungle Book, and the upcoming live-action Lion King. If nothing else, he’s a steady hand whom Howard could lean on in directing her first episode of television.
But Favreau’s hiring of Howard is proof of the showrunner’s intentions for the new series, prioritizing a diversity of perspectives behind the camera—and possibly in front of the camera as well. It’s a far cry from the directors of the Star Wars films, in a good way.
Résumé Highlights: Dope, Confirmation, Our Family Wedding, The Wood
Famuyiwa might not be a household name, but the director has been a consistent fixture in the past half decade. His 2015 indie film Dope earned nominations at Cannes and the Sundance Film Festival; he also proficiently directed the 2016 HBO TV movie Confirmation, which feels suddenly (and frustratingly) culturally relevant in the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearings.
Still, Famuyiwa has mostly traded in low-budget romantic comedies and coming-of-age films, so it’ll be interesting to see how his style meshes with a blockbuster-type show set in outer space, one that’ll likely have a bit of a Western vibe. Consider me intrigued, and optimistic.
Résumé Highlights: Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do in the Shadows, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
What a difference a year and one film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes. Waititi, once an indie darling behind one of my favorite comedies ever (please stop what you’re doing and watch What We Do in the Shadows immediately), is now an auteur who will have dipped his toes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars, two of the biggest pieces of IP on the planet.
However, going mainstream with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok didn’t erase Waititi’s signature, quirky, improvisational comedy—Ragnarok turned the God of Thunder from a self-serious Shakespearean bore to an out-of-place dudebro, utilizing the best of Chris Hemsworth’s natural charisma. I don’t expect The Mandalorian to take itself that seriously—Waititi’s hiring attests to that—and hopefully, the director’s episodes will have some delightful moments of outer space comedy. And perhaps even a rockman.