The Hollywood Reporter released another Mandalorian related article this morning, this time an interview with the series show-runner, writer, and creator Jon Favreau. While the article takes a wide angle to celebrating the incredible success Favreau’s had over the last few years in working with Disney, they do cover some interesting bits about The Mandalorian. Oh yeah, and Baby Yoda, anyone? Yeah, I thought so.
The interview kicks off with Favreau discussing his new project, Golem Creations, which is a technology company hoping to push the boundaries of filmmakers abilities to shoot digital locations on a soundstage. Favreau employed this technology in The Mandalorian (and most notably, The Lion King). Favreau mentions a lot of other studios in Hollywood, Marvel Studios included, have taken notice and he feels obligated to work with most people who show interest, because he notes Gollem Creations wouldn’t be where it is “without people like James Cameron or George Lucas being very inviting to people who want to follow and learn from what they’ve done”. Favreau definitely seems to be looking at the big picture when it comes to the future of filmmaking.
The Hollywood Reporter writer Carolyn Giardina then gets right into questions about The Mandalorian‘s biggest star – Baby Yoda. When asked about the creation of Baby Yoda, Favreau notes the combination of puppetry and digital animation existing in balance with one another, so the performance is consistent.
Favreau, on the elements going into Baby Yoda’s onscreen performance and appearance:
He’s mostly a puppet. When it’s CG, we try to make him obey the same physical laws that he would if he were a puppet. I think a lot of times CG makes itself too obvious where you don’t create parameters creatively that allow the character to keep the same identity and charm
He also notes that more about Baby Yoda and where he came from will be revealed over the course of the season. Favreau muses that a big part of the draw to Baby Yoda has to do with George’s past intentions to keep Yoda’s species a mystery. One of the biggest surprise to many fans was the fact nothing about Baby Yoda leaked into the mainstream fandom leading up to the reveal at the end of the first episode. While collectors and holiday shoppers anxiously await the imminent arrival of Baby Yoda toys and merchandise, it’s also surprising to some that Disney and Lucasfilm didn’t include Baby Yoda in any of its marketing and delayed merchandise to protect the secrecy of the character.
Favreau, on working with the studios to keep Baby Yoda under wraps:
I think that part of what people really value is to be surprised and delighted, and I think that’s becoming all too rare. It’s very difficult to keep secrets about projects you’re working on. By holding back on that one product, we knew that we may have had the disadvantage of not having toys available day and date, but what we got in exchange was an excitement surrounding the character, because everybody felt like they discovered him together. That emulated more what my experience growing up was like.
On Disney having the final say:
Yeah, they understood the value of it. I felt that if we really wanted to connect with the Star Wars fans, we had to let them discover the story as it was unfolding.
Favreau also notes he’s directing an episode of the second season and is still working closely with Lucasfilm veteran Dave Filoni to try and establish where The Mandalorian fits into the bigger picture of Star Wars. He’s uncertain when and if these characters will show up in future films or Disney+ series, but acknowledges there is certainly an opportunity, especially since the landscape for storytelling between the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy is still wide open.
Favreau, on the vacuum of stories between the latter trilogies:
We have a good 25-year patch of road [in the Star Wars canon] that nobody is exploring right now, and it’s the most interesting time for me as a storyteller to explore — the time after the fall of the empire and before the resurgence of the darker forces.
Make sure to head over to The Hollywood Reporter for the full article, where Favreau also discusses his work on The Lion King and the future of storytelling via streaming services. After reading this, I’m again reassured we are very lucky to have someone as thoughtful and gifted as Jon Favreau lending a hand in Star Wars storytelling.