The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau has revealed the battle he and his team had to create a new world in the Star Wars universe without showing disrespect to the George Lucas classics.
It was the same battle many filmmakers had in today’s industry, where so much content was derived from iconic originals.
Favreau appeared on Deadline’s virtual Contenders’ Television panel and said: “To have a way to create a freshness, while still being respectful of what came before, I think is one of the challenges of storytellers in this moment, because we’re inundated with so much content.”
He continued: “Now, everything’s at the touch of a finger, so everybody has a tremendous cultural context…You know, everybody’s checking your work.”
The Mandalorian is Star Wars’ first live-action television series, streaming on Disney+, and has been such a success it earned 15 nominations at September’s Emmy Awards.
Favreau revealed he was clear what he wanted to achieve with the show. “This was an opportunity to prune everything back to the beginnings again. And having new characters allowed us to do that.”
The new characters he referred to included Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), a lone bounty hunter chasing criminals in the outer reaches of the galaxy, and The Child, otherwise known as Baby Yoda.
Favreau returned to Star Wars’ original 1977 classic, now known as A New Hope, and hoped to find the inspiration from genres like Westerns and samurai films which had lit Lucas’ fuse.
“What was really mind-blowing is there’s so much to trying to create that authenticity, to make it feel akin to what George had done,” he said, “and then you realise that George was doing it without a road map.”
In explaining the pressure of living up to the original movies, Favreau likened Lucas to The Beatles, while he and other producers in the Star Wars family were merely “DJs, playing Beatles songs”.
Favreau gave an example of how the team produced The Mandalorian when he revealed how director/executive producer Dave Filoni came up with the character of The Child.
He drew parallels to Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam and Steven Spielberg’s alien creation. “Dave had done a sketch of kind of a Michelangelo/E.T. moment, and that was a source of inspiration,” he said. “Then, Doug Chiang and the whole art department started generating drawings of it, and the Legacy [Effects] people built it.”
Season two of The Mandalorian will stream on Disney+ some time in 2021.