April 14, 2019
‘The Mandalorian’ Footage Description: Sorry, Boba Fett, There’s a New Bounty Hunter in Town
While many would argue that modern science fiction fandom was born thanks to television, live-action Star Wars storytelling has existed solely as a big screen endeavor. Until now.
The Mandalorian arrives this Fall on the new Disney+ streaming service and it will be the first live-action Star Wars story to debut outside of a movie theater. The first footage from the series was shown at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, where /Film got a first glimpse at it. Read The Mandalorian footage description below.
The Mandalorian Footage Description
The first bit of footage shown at the panel opens with a black screen and a faint beeping sound in the background. Fade to a figure walking in a stark snowy landscape filled with fog, remote tracker in hand. The figure pauses for a second before placing his tracker in his belt, and the camera pulls out to reveal the figure to be the Mandalorian, carrying a rifle and walking toward some isolated village as the fog evaporates. The doors of a grimy, dark building open and the Mandalorian steps inside. Aliens within the building, which seems to be a bar of sorts, look on in trepidation, aware that he looking for someone. From above the village, a ship flies toward it.
The clip then cuts to a bunch of behind-the-scenes footage, with flashes of different characters, aliens, the Mandalorian, a crashed TIE fighter, and Scout troopers.
“This series takes place about five years after Return of the Jedi,” executive producer and showrunner Jon Favreau says in the clip. “This is a character you’ve never met before in a period of time that you’ve never seen.”
The aesthetic is grimy, almost steampunk as befitting the seedy underbelly of the outer reaches that this show explores. In one shot, the Mandalorian is standing next to a big laser cannon at a small space station dock. Other shots have the Mandlorian walking out of his ship, the Razorcrest, in a close-up of his dark, shiny armor, and even riding a Dewback at one point.
Concept art also appeared here and there, showing the Mandalorian facing off with aliens, including a Twi’lek, but more on that in the upcoming description of the rest of the footage. Another shot of a run-through with directors on set reveals plenty of new aliens and astromech droids, Jawas, new planets, new races, and ships. A new starship looks like a black and gold X-wing with closed S-foils. Another shot of concept art reveals aliens marching into a forest ahead of a big battle. A Sandcrawler appears in concept art. George Lucas was also quickly spotted on set, and Carl Weathers stand in costume among a group of characters in an open, gloomy landscape, looking like a shot from Seven Samurai. But thankfully, that’s not all we saw.
The end of the panel concluded with an extended sequence of The Mandalorian finding a new bounty and what will likely be the first teaser trailer released sometime down the road. Keep reading for the detailed description of that footage.
Getting an Assignment
The scene begins in a dusty cantina, not dissimilar from the Mos Eisley cantina, but it’s brighter inside. Almost like when you go to a seedy bar in the middle of the day and sunlight is sneaking in enough so the barflys know it’s daytime. Lots of aliens around, some with metal masks, a droid that looks like EV-9D9 from Return of the Jedi is at the bar.
The Mandalorian is sitting at a booth with Carl Weathers‘ character Greef, who is laying out these metal discs that look like jar lids. As he lays them out, he says they’re all bail jumpers, and he has one wanted smuggler (could this be a cheeky reference to Han Solo still having a bounty on his head?). These are jobs for the Mandalorian to take and these pucks, as they’re called, have the information he needs for them.
Mando means business, so he wants them all. But Greef runs a guild of bounty hunters and he needs jobs for them too, so he can’t give them all up. The highest one he has is only worth 5,000 credits, and Mando says that’s barely enough to cover the cost of fuel these days. Greef does have one other job. Obviously he held it back for a reason. It’s from the underworld. It has no puck. It’s a direct commission, and he has to meet the person who’s hiring him face-to-face. Greef hands him some kind of data card with information on how to find him.
Taking the Job
Mando walks through a village that looks similar to ones we’ve seen on Tatooine and Jakku. Tents, people in dusty clothes, and a Kowakian monkey-lizard is being roasted on a fire as another one in a cage watches in terror. The Mando walks slowly with an intimidating swagger, always seemingly ready for a confrontation, observing everything around him.
He reaches a darker alley and walks up to a door and knocks. A droid eye like the one that greets C-3PO and R2-D2 at Jabba’s palace door in Return of the Jedi comes out to greet him, speaks the same droid language, scans the data card Greef gave to Mando, and lets him in. He’s met by a hospitable Gonk droid who makes his signature sound as he guides the Mando to another door. He’s preparing for something bad to happen at any minute, always on his guard.
Inside is a group of dirty Stormtroopers with armor from the original trilogy. Suddenly Werner Herzog appears and says, “Greef said you were coming.” Mando asks, “What else did he say?” Herzog replies, “He said you were the best in the parsec.”
Suddenly, another blast door opens on the side, the Mando jumps up with his blaster drawn and the Stormtroopers turn and draw on him in return. It’s an Imperial officer played by Omid Abtahi (who voiced a character in Clone Wars and was likely brought in by Dave Filoni for that very reason). The officer is wearing sunglasses and is sorry to have made such a sudden interruption. Herzog says, “Please excuse his lack of decorum, his enthusiasm outweighs his discretion.”
Mando is asked to lower his blaster, but he won’t do it until the Stormtroopers lower their blasters too. One Stormtrooper remarks, “We have you outnumbered four to one,” and the Mando quickly and cockily says, “I like those odds.”
Herzog gets back to business, “He also said you were expensive. Very expensive.” This is the perfect role for Herzog to play. And now he gets down to the job as the Mandalorian sits back down, still not trusting anyone in that room.
The job’s payment is a small, thin brick of beskar, or Mandalorian iron. It’s rare and coveted, and Herzog knows it will entice the Mando. They want the asset alive, but Herzog says if he can only bring them back terminated then they will accept that but for a lower fee. That doesn’t please the Imperial officer, but Herzog knows this job is complicated.
There’s no puck for this job though. Only a tracker that contains their last known whereabouts and the last four digits of their identification number. They’re a 50-year old target, so tracking them down has apparently been difficult. But with the information he’s given to the Mando, Herzog is confident he can pull it off.
As the Mando leaves, he says the beskar belongs back in the hands of the Mandalorian people. He says it would be good to restore the order of things after a period of such disarray. He seems to be hinting at the Mandalorians coming back to glory after the Empire was in control for so long.
The Trailer Montage
The Mando’s ship, the Razorcrest, blasts through space. He walks out on a planet different from the one seen in the opening moments of the first sizzle reel shown during the panel. He sees Gina Carano’s character Cara Dune sitting at what appears to be some sort of outdoor cantina. Mando asks, “What’s her business here?”
A series of shots has Mando sparring with Cara, trading blows until they both land flat on the ground, pistol blasters drawn and pointing at each other’s heads.
Next, Giancarlo Esposito is wearing a black cape and black Imperial armor with a small group of Death Troopers behind him. Blaster shots have riddled the small desert dwelling he stands in front off as voiceover from Werner Herzog’s character says, “The Empire has improved every planet it touches.”
We see that improvement first-hand as Giancarlo Esposito says, “Burn them out.” Suddenly a Stormtrooper with red paint accents on his armor and a flamethrower comes in and starts torching the exterior of the building.
The voiceover continues, “Judge by any metric. Safety, prosperity, peace.” During this, we see shots of other bounty hunters, perhaps ones that Mando will either work with or end up facing off against. One of them includes a fuschia colored Twi-lek, and another certainly appeared to be comedian Bill Burr drawing two blasters and shooting them at an unseen target. Another had reflective eyes and resembled 4-LOM from The Empire Strikes Back, but it wasn’t him.
A montage ran through new aliens, warriors, jawas drawing their blasters, the Mandalorian blasting away at enemies. Then a money shot comes with IG-88 standing in the middle of a desert village square and laying waste to Stormtroopers, his body spinning with precision as he blasts. Then the Mando comes out and joins, blasting a Stormtrooper in the head as he walks out of a dwelling door.
Herzog continues his voiceover. “Since the revolution, I see nothing but death and chaos.” We see that chaos as the Mando takes his big rifle and uses the prong side of it to electrocute a Stormtrooper. Giancarlo Esposito’s character flies a TIE Fighter. And the most crushing blow comes when the Mando takes a weapon in his hand, hits a Stormtrooper across the face, and the lower half of their helmet just shatters into pieces.
The final shot features the Mandalorian drawing his large rifle and pointing off camera before the title appears.
This show looks better than I ever anticipated. It doesn’t feel like a cheap Star Wars show. It feels like a series that easily and seamlessly takes place in the worn Star Wars universe of the original trilogy. It has the feel of a sci-fi western, right down to the dusty setting and the gritty look. The Mandalorian is truly a badass who blows Boba Fett out of the water. Sabine Wren has become a more prominent Mandalorian in recent years, which is awesome, but this character will become the new face of Mandalorian warriors and the fans who love them. I can’t wait to see it when it hits Disney+ on November 12, 2019.
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