Director Jon Favreau has just dropped the bomb. Favreau (known to SW fans as the voice of Rio – the four-armed pilot from Solo, or of Pre Viszla from The Clone Wars) is currently tasked with directing the live action series that should appear on Disney’s own channel sometime in 2019. The filming was supposed to start this week, and Favreau has just posted the following text on his instagram (this is a transcription, you can see the original picture Favreau posted in the headline of this article):
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic…”
So we have essentially the outline of the series’ plot, or at least some of it. With the reports of Dave Filoni (Clone Wars, Rebels) joining the production team for some external help, we can assume that this is the “story set in yet unexplored part of the Galaxy” Filoni himself had been hinting at in the past. We can also assume that Filoni will make sure that the portrayal of Mandalorians is consistent with their appearance in his stories, where they had received quite a bit of space.
Who Are The Mandalorians?
As mentioned in Favreau’s teaser, the most famous (and only) Mandalorian characters from the films are Jango and Boba Fett. Objectively however, their Mandalorian identity is somewhat questionable, and for most, the Fetts are just mercenaries (their Mandalorian origin is also not directly mentioned in the films). It however makes sense for Favreau to refer to them in his preview, since they are the only ones the wide audience would know about. It should be also noted that in The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata’s castle holds a Mandalorian flag among the others displayed.
Mandalorians are the warrior-culture hailing from the fringes of the Republic. They were introduced for the first time in Knights of the Old Republic video game (2003), as enemies of the Jedi and invaders of the Republic. Thanks to the efforts of a faction of Jedi, led by the famous Revan, they were beaten back and later, throughout the centuries, became integrated into the Republic. Well, sort of. Mandalore had always retained its somewhat independent streak, with groups such as the Death Watch resurfacing every now and then with dreams of reclaiming their wild, warrior past.
Mandalorian culture and lore were further enhanced in the Republic Commando novels written by Karen Traviss. There, some of the clones – being the clones of Jango Fett, after all – are dealing with Mandalorian culture as part of their struggle to claim their own identity beyond being just numbers. Indeed, Karen Traviss can be credited with inventing the Mandalorian language as well as many customs that are part of Mandalorian lore, which includes things like the meaning of colour of armour or various concepts of honourable combat. The Mandalorian story got its revival – and its inclusion into the Disney canon – with their appearance in The Clone Wars and newly also Rebels animated series. One of the Rebels‘ protagonists, Sabine Wren, is a Mandalorian.
Honourable Warrior on Lawless Planets
Making a live action story about Mandalorians is a move that’s been long expected. Mandalorian lore is incredibly rich, the culture has a lot of detail and it would be a waste not to use it. At this point, we can only guess what the planned series will be about. The last lines of Favreau’s teaser give off a bit of “Wild West” vibe (gunslingers, lawless territories…). I would, however, assume (and hope!), given the amount of Mandalorian lore piled up during the years, that the series would be much more than just a “Wild West” story inspired by Boba Fett. The Mandalorians are a strong, honour-bound culture, perhaps we could equally liken them to the samurai (at the risk of terrible generalisation). I would be three hundred percent happier if “the Mandalorian” in question was actually Sabine Wren herself, or perhaps (and that may be better, as a fresh character) some sort of disciple of hers. Bonus points if it isn’t a white male dude. That being said, an unconfirmed rumour has been circulating that the actor Pedro Pascal (recently most famous for the role of Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones) might appear in the series. The Red Viper as a Mandalorian does not sound at all bad, but we’ll have to wait for any further confirmed information.
Will there be more than one Mandalorian, or will the protagonist wander unknown worlds and face challenges, while being bound by her/his honour code? Will s/he be one of the many participating in the renewal of Mandalore after the Imperial era? Are we going to see characters related to Mandalore from elsewhere – Bo-Katan Kryze, Sabine Wren and her family, maybe even Ahsoka Tano? There is a lot of time for these questions, but whatever the answers, I believe Disney is taking the right direction here.