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When it comes to a landmark franchise like Star Wars, there’s always a degree of control that’s exacted by the folks in charge of its stewardship. It’s something we’ve seen executed through Lucasfilm Ltd’s president Kathleen Kennedy, as her decision making has steered Star Wars’ course through its many cinematic installments. Yet when it comes to the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, Kennedy hasn't been alone in making those decisions.
The Mandalorian's executive producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have been a creative force in bringing to live the first live-action streaming entry into the Star Wars canon. And through their tutelage, the various episode directors that joined The Mandalorian have been allowed to not only serve this overall vision of the universe, but to also add other personal ideas and elements to this long and storied canon.
One such party with first-hand experience in the matter is Jurassic World vet Bryce Dallas Howard, one of the many directors bringing The Mandalorian to life for its November debut on Disney+. When Howard spoke with CinemaBlend to discuss her role in the film Rocketman, I asked her what made this particular Star Wars experience unique, and the answer she gave me was pretty surprising. Here's what Howard told me about her creative process in the Mandalorian camp:
There were so many unexpected surprises, and in the best way. I’ll explain what I mean by that, because I kind of assumed, ‘It’s a series, I’m gonna go in there, and I’m gonna just absorb what Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau’s vision for this show is, and I’m gonna be their soldier.’ And I was shocked, because so early on it was Dave and Jon who were saying, ‘What do you think? What are you envisioning? What notes do you have for me? We’re your writers, what do you want us to do?’ It was so, so, so remarkably collaborative. It was wild, absolutely wild, how much it was Jon and Dave allowing us to really actually make every single episode feel very personal to us.
As the public has grown accustomed to a sort of gatekeeping being instituted with each of the Star Wars feature films, the fact that both Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau looked to their directors for that sort of input is exceedingly refreshing for the franchise's push into live-action TV.
Then again, when it comes to an eight-episode series that plays out on a weekly basis, one would assume that there would be more room for the unique flavors of the kinds of directors The Mandalorian is boasting. Filmmakers like Thor: Ragnarok's Taika Waititi, Dope's Rick Famuyiwa, and Howard herself will all be adding their signature instincts to form one cohesive whole known to us as The Mandalorian.
Even with this varied roster of helmers bringing this episodic vision to life, there’s a sort of camaraderie that unifies all involved with this rough and tumble trip to the edges of the Star Wars galaxy’s legal code. And it’s all thanks to the franchise's well-known issues of tightened security and resource conservation. Bryce Dallas Howard made those points as she followed up her initial remarks as follows:
And all the directors, we shared an office, so we were like a squad. Because it was so intimate, because these sets are really locked down. If you’re on set, it’s because you have a job to do. There’s not a lot of access, so it actually ends up feeling like a very tight group of almost indie filmmakers doing this together. And to see the strides and advancements of technology, what Jon [Favreau] was really pushing for in those terms, there’s just so much discovery and so much creativity.
It would seem that Jon Favreau’s extensive experiences as both a Marvel and Disney company man have helped him and his fellow executive producers find a balance between order and vision when it comes to The Mandalorian. After all, Iron Man may not have been the game-changer it was had he not been allowed to bring his ideas to life.
With what amounts to a miniature cinematic universe under the watchful eye of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, the man who helped make the Star Wars TV universe what it is today, it sounds like not only will The Mandalorian uphold the tradition of the series at its best, but it will also help forge a path into an impressive future.
We’ll get to see the results for ourselves in the very near future, as The Mandalorian premieres on Disney+’s launch day, November 12. Stay tuned for more info on what we can expect to see from Bryce Dallas Howard's episode and more!