Why Filming The Mandalorian Was So Challenging For Carl Weathers

Carl Weathers as Greef Karga on The Mandalorian (2019)

The Mandalorian introduced more than a few major characters to Star Wars canon, including Pedro Pascal’s Djn Djarin and Gina Carano’s Cara Dune. One of the shadier new faces to enter the galaxy far, far away is Greef Karga, played by the incomparable Carl Weathers. The veteran actor has been around the block more than a few times in his career, having taken on some physically challenging roles. But nothing could quite prepare him for what he would take on in The Mandalorian.

Carl Weathers revealed that, while filming, he had a difficult time communicating with the titular character, who wears a helmet most of the time. While Weathers obviously had dialogue to respond to, it was hard for him to gauge whether his own reactions were correct due to his inability to read his scene partner’s eyes:

I found it, really a challenge. When you’re across from somebody they’re throwing all kinds of body language at you. And these two things here [points at eyes] you can be saying one thing, but these two things tell me something completely different. And what am I responding to? I’m responding to what you’re throwing.

During his appearance on Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, a docuseries on the making of the show’s first season, Carl Weathers also stressed that the actor’s voice was his guiding light during his scenes:

And in that helmet, it is flat. There is nothing. I have to listen so acutely to the voice and hope that that voice is going to cue me to what this person, not just the words, but what they’re really saying.

Having to act with someone without being able to see their face is certainly a challenge. In a case like this, an actor mostly has to rely on body language. But he fact that Mando is a character that sometimes comes off as cold and emotionless could have made things even trickier.

Greef Karga serves as the head of the bounty hunter’s guild who provides hunters with assignments. Through Karga’s recommendation, Mando takes the job that leads him to discover The Child, which sets him on a lifechanging journey. Although Karga and Mando go through a rough patch, the two become allies, and Karga survives the season -- which wasn’t always the plan.

Weathers will reprise his role for the upcoming second season, and he reportedly helmed an episode himself, alongside a host of other talented directors. This surely provided a new kind of challenge for him. Although he’s directed for television before, Star Wars is a different kind of beast.

Going into the new season, one can assume that Carl Weathers probably felt a lot more comfortable and had a better understanding of how to act alongside someone he can’t look in the eyes. Fans will be waiting intently to see what he does in front of the camera as Karga and behind it as a director.

The Mandalorian Season 1 is now streaming on Disney+, and the second season is slated to premiere on the service this fall.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.