Some fans of The Mandalorian may not have even known that newly minted Oscar nominee Taika Waititi voiced the character of IG-11 in The Mandalorian Season 1. The bounty hunter-turned-nurse droid became a fan favorite on the new Disney+ show, and Waititi argues he was the true hero of the entire season.
Taika Waititi directed The Mandalorian Season 1's finale, "Chapter 8: Redemption," in which IG-11 made his great sacrifice. The Thor: Ragnarok director just talked to Variety in reaction to his own Oscar nominations for Jojo Rabbit -- including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the same time, he was asked if he'd be directing a Star Wars movie someday. Here's what he said:
Oh, I don’t know anything about that, but Mandalorian was my chance to work with some stormtroopers.
Variety continued, asking if he'd want to direct a Star Wars movie:
Yes. Obviously I would, but I’m going to just settle for IG-11 being the hero of the entire season.
First of all, it's good to get confirmation that he'd be willing to direct a Star Wars movie. (Would it even be a downgrade after directing The Mandalorian finale?) Second, is he right about IG-11 as the hero of the season? Taika Waititi went further, joking (probably) to TheWrap that fans should start a petition to bring back IG-11 in The Mandalorian Season 2:
I feel we just need to start a petition because I think that character, really, he held up the entire season, didn’t he? From episode one all the way through, he was the hero.
That's probably not going to happen, but you never know. IG-11 certainly did have a strong arc across the eight episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1. He started as Mando/Din Djarin's rival to find a highly coveted asset, which turned out to be The Child/Baby Yoda. IG-11 tried to kill Baby Yoda, but Mando (Pedro Pascal) stopped him, destroying the droid -- or so we thought. Turns out, Kuiil (voiced by Nick Nolte) reprogrammed IG-11 to be a nurse droid to protect Baby Yoda, and he really took to that task. IG-11 was so good at it, he even won over droid-hater Mando.
Remember IG-11's amazing final scene in The Mandalorian Episode 8/Chapter 8? Here's how his conversation with Mando played out:
IG-11: Sadly, there is no scenario where The Child is saved in which I survive.
Mando: Listen, you're not going anywhere. We need you. Let's just come up with a --
IG-11: Please tell me The Child will be safe in your care. If you do so, I can default to my secondary command.
Mando: But you'll be destroyed.
IG-11: And you will live.
Mando: No, we need you.
IG-11: There's nothing to be sad about. I've never been alive.
Mando: I'm not sad.
IG-11: Yes, you are. I'm a nurse droid. I've analyzed your voice.
IG-11 then touched Baby Yoda one last time before going full T2 in a heroic act of sacrifice.
Who would you call the hero of The Mandalorian Season 1? Mando himself, whose name was revealed to be Din Djarin but I still plan to call him Mando? Or maybe Baby Yoda/The Child with his "magic hand thing"? Or the ill-fated Kuiil, the farmer who reprogrammed IG-11 from a bounty hunter to a nurse droid? What about Gina Carano's Cara Dune, who really went Method in that choking scene? Or is Taika Waititi right to call out his own character IG-11 as the hero of the season?
As far as we know, both IG-11 and Kuiil are gone and won't return for The Mandalorian Season 2. However, adventures do await Mando and The Child -- and we may even learn the true name for "Baby Yoda." Jon Favreau -- who scared Baby Yoda-punching actor Adam Pally with the news that the puppet cost $5 million -- confirmed that The Mandalorian Season 2 will premiere on Disney+ this fall. The exact date is to come, possibly with a trailer and more details about new characters and adventures.
I do hope Taika Waititi makes time to direct another episode, and maybe he could join the many A-list cameo stars of The Mandalorian for another voice role? In the meantime, he has acting roles ahead in Ryan Reynolds' Free Guy and The Suicide Squad, as well as returning as Korg for Thor: Love and Thunder, which he will also direct.