The first season of The Mandalorian had a veritable who's who of Hollywood both in front and behind the camera. While a number of big names were announced to be appearing alongside Pedro Pascal's title character, most of them played the role of little more than guest star, appearing for an episode or two, and then disappearing. Some, like Carl Weathers' Greef Karga, appeared early in the series, vanished for a while, and then got to come back for the big finale. But it turns out that wasn't always the plan.
In the new episode of the DIsney+ series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, showrunner Jon Favreau reveals that the initial plan was only for Carl Weathers' character to appear in two of the first three episodes, at which point he would be killed off, but that wasn't the only difference. According to Favreau...
Carl wasn’t supposed to be in the whole show. Carl was in Episode 1 and then got knocked off in Episode 3. That was it. He was gonna be in full prosthetics, as a different alien race, and then we switched it up. So it was like a favor, I said ‘just come and do one of these’ He said, ‘fine, I don’t really act much more, but fine.’ So Carl’s supposed to come in and he’s gonna be in 101 and then 103. He gets shot, he’s out.
We meet Greef Karga as a member of the bounty hunting guild who hands out the bounties to the interested hunters. He gives Mando the bounty for The Child in the first episode, and in the third episode, after Mando makes the decision to rescue the little green alien, Karga is one of the hunters trying to catch the Mandalorian and get the child back. It seems that the original plan was for Karge to get shot by Mando while he made his escape. That's actually exactly what happens in Chapter 3 of the series, though in the version we saw, we learn that Karga survived being shot.
It's never specifically stated in Disney Gallery why the decision was made to keep Greef Karga around, though it seems that a lot of that reason was simply that Weathers liked what he read of the show, and might have been more willing than initially thought to hang around. Also Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni clearly realized that when they had Carl Weathers on the show, they had something special.
That's why the decision was made not to turn the actor into an alien covered in prosthetics. Because if you have Carl Weathers on your show, you want to show off Carl Weathers. Jon Favreau goes on...
The first thing was, he can’t be an alien, like, how ya gonna cover that? They did a drawing with Carl with the makeup on, I said to Carl ‘We can’t cover you up.’ And he’s like, ‘ I figured as much’
With the decision having been made to keep Greef Karga around, we're left to wonder if we might see him again when Season 2 of The Mandalorian drops later this year. The show could easily go off in an entirely different direction, and with all the new characters that we know are on the way, there might not be a place for Carl Weathers' character, but Weathers himself has certainly implied Greef will be there, and if nothing else, Weathers will be part of the new season as a director of one the upcoming episodes.