The Dolby Theater became home to the Star Wars fandom on Friday night, with viewers gathering for a screening of episodes of “The Mandalorian” along with a panel at the 2023 PaleyFest Los Angeles. Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff, stars of the Disney+ live-action series, and executive producers Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Rick Famuyiwa joined entertainment Tonight’s Ash Crossan to talk everything Mando.
Filoni took the stage wearing his iconic black cowboy hat, while Pascal giggled at heckling fans who shouted “papi chulo!” and other comments pertaining to his good looks.
Since its premiere in 2019, “The Mandalorian” has shocked “Star Wars” fans, starting, of course, with the reveal of the oh-so endearing Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) in Season 1, followed by the appearance of Luke Skywalker in Season 2. The show is set after the fall of the Empire and follows Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pascal) as he protects Grogu and tries to reunite Mandalorians alongside Bo-Katan Kryze (Sackhoff).
Over the last five years, Favreau, Filoni, Famuyiwa, Pascal and Sackhoff have worked hard to create something that would delight “Star Wars” fans over and over again. Here are three key takeaways from their “The Mandalorian” panel.
The fan experience is king, so it’s important to keep details under wraps.
A tight-lipped Filoni sunk deeper into his cowboy hat as he tried to dodge questions about upcoming episodes and seasons. “There’s so much you don’t know,” he told the moderator.
It was clear that secrecy over plot and character details was extremely important to the integrity of production. Prior to the Season 1 premiere, no merch was created for the show in order to keep Baby Yoda a secret until fans saw him on screen. Favreau and Filoni also revealed that two separate shoots occurred to keep the Luke Skywalker appearance under wraps in Season 2; even Pascal and Sackhoff had no idea about the matter, though Pascal joked he had an intuition it was happening.
The producers emphasized how important it was to make sure all fans were on the same page to keep the collective spirit of the Star Wars fandom alive.
“’Star Wars’ is about the community of ‘Star Wars’ as much as it is the story,” said Favreau. Therefore, it was crucial that everyone working on “Mandalorian” made sacrifices for the sake of joint fandom celebration.
Seeing the story come to life can get pretty surreal.
There was a moment when the moderator asked Pascal a question, to which the actor replied, “Was that question for me?”
He admitted that he had spaced-out while thinking about the creation of the show. “There’s a moment when you think, ‘Well, yes, this comes from George Lucas, but you guys created this,’” he said to the producers sitting next to him. “I forget that it doesn’t all come from an encyclopedia.”
Sackhoff said she actually didn’t really believe Filoni the first time he pitched a live-action Star Wars series to her. “At the time, I thought you were drunk,” she said. When she finally stepped on set for the first time, she said the experience was “surreal.” Filoni concurred and explained how strange it is to watch his ideas jump from page to screen.
“I see them all the time in my head,” he said. “And then they’re just there.”
There’s always more to come.
Despite doing their best to keep future episodes under wraps, everyone on the panel expressed enthusiasm towards the continuation of “Mandalorian.”
“There’s so much left to do,” Sackhoff said about her character, revealing that she wants to see a lot more development of Bo-Katan.
“We really enjoy making it so we’re going to keep doing it,” Filoni said. “Something that I’ve thought about that I think is interesting is that, probably, people will tell stories with a lot of these characters well after I’m gone.”
From somewhere in the balconies, an audience member in yelled down to him: “Clone yourself!”
Originally published at variety.com