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The Mandalorian was an incredibly popular show from the moment the first episode aired. Although, if we're being honest, we all know that the main reason everybody was talking about The Mandalorian at the outset had less to do with the helmeted protagonist and more to due with a little green alien that was cute as all get out. Baby Yoda stole the show and, according to Mandalorian director Deborah Chow, that extended beyond the final show itself and into the actual production. Most of the cast and crew was as taken with The Child as viewers became, and that's especially true for one Werner Herzog.
In the newest episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, which takes a look at the practical effects of the series, a lot of time is spent talking about everybody's favorite meme-worthy little green guy. Deborah Chow reveals in the episode that the puppet of The Child was so incredible that at one point it even appeared Werner Herzog, who played "The Client," thought he was acting against something real. According to Chow...
I was doing a scene in the safe house with Werner and the baby and it was one of the weirdest and best things that ever happened where Werner. He was acting against the baby which was the puppet, obviously, and I think at some point he forgot that it was a puppet. And he got so into the baby that he started directing the baby directly as though he was talking to a person. And so, I’m trying to direct Werner, who’s trying to direct the puppet.
It's certainly not uncommon for actors to discuss a scene between themselves to make sure everybody's on the same page. However, in this particular case you would expect that Werner Herzog, the human actor, would be directing his thoughts toward the humans responsible for controlling The Child. Instead, he was apparently addressing The Child directly as if the thing was capable of understanding him.
Clearly, the actor and filmmaker was especially taken with Baby Yoda. and he doesn't even try to hide it. In another part of the episode, Herzog sings the praises of the technology that brought The Child to life. At least in that moment, he knew the creature wasn't real, but he wasn't any less impressed with it. Herzog says...
Filmmaking now, all of the sudden is back to almost ‘old school.’ Technology becomes invisible and that’s a great thing. [Baby Yoda is] beautiful, and it moves, the guys that are moving the eyes and the lips and the facial expression, phenomenal. And they filmed it one-on-one. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. Fantasy has no bounds. There’s no boundaries in what you can do here with the new technologies. It’s simply extraordinary. Very much to my liking.
Movie making has made great strides thanks to progress in digital effects. Essentially anything can be created for the screen now. The catch is that while it all looks amazing and lifelike on the screen, the actors have to essentially act against empty space.
But now, even further advances in technology have, as Werner Herzog says, made the technology invisible. Baby Yoda is an actual physical presence on the set, but the fact that it's mechanical is essentially invisible. The puppets and other physical props, combined with the digital screens that created The Volume, seen in the previous episode, allow technology to create whatever it needs to, but in a way that the actors can still see and experience it.