August 21, 2019

How 'The Mandalorian' Will Make Star Wars 'Darker, Freakier'

Jon Favreau has become Disney's go-to guy for huge projects because of his steady hand. Now he wants to get weird with Star Wars.  

If you told me in 1996, that the guy who wrote and starred in Swingers would become the most important voice in the evolution of Star Wars from the big to the small screen, I would have asked you to leave my third-grade classroom and then had you arrested. 

But now that I'm an adult, I am wildly excited for the guy. 

I know that being a humungous fan of The Chef Show has no bearing here. But I am one. If Favreau can reinvent the cooking show, I am sure he can bring his trademark disruptor feeling to The Mandalorian and give us the twist on the franchise that has not come across within the films. Recently, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Favreau for an all-encompassing interview. I pulled some quotes out to show you all just what he has planned for the spin-off. 

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

The Jon Favreau Interview 

One of the coolest things outside of the story within Favreau's vision is the technology he's using to make it happen. We've seen Favreau do photorealistic CGI for Jungle Book and Lion King but the scope and scale of Star Wars is somehow even bigger than those two titles. 

There's a lot of pressure on him, but Favreau seems to be pretty confident with his expertise. 

In fact, he says he owes a lot to Lucas' prequels. 

Jon on the tech that Lucas used in the prequels being used for The Mandalorian 

"This is 20 years later, and also there's been a democratization of the skill set too. It's no longer a few vendors innovating in ivory towers, that information has been expanded and disseminated and democratized so that effects that would cost you millions of dollars, you can do it on a PC now, with consumer-facing filmmaking tools. When George came to our set and visited The Mandalorian, he said, "Oh, we did this," and what he meant was, “We had green screen and we were building small sets and expanding upon it.” Now, we have video walls, NVIDIA video cards that allow a refresh rate that allows you to do in-camera effects, we're in there taking advantage of the cutting-edge stuff."

The blend of live-action and CGI makes me really excited. One of the coolest things about Star Wars was how the practical effects always make the worlds feel fresh and full. We're at a point in history where we can now seamlessly blend this stuff together. 

Still, the best versions we've seen of this on TV are maybe in Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead

Knowing that Disney is seriously investing in this software and style for their flagship series on Disney+ makes me excited. And knowing they automatically greenlit the show for two seasons means they must be pretty excited with the results. 

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Jon's Style vs. JJ's 

"Every film is a puzzle, and there's a freedom that you have as a storyteller if you go to the real environment; it affects you and the human element. When you see Lawrence of Arabia, how much of that is informed by really being there and not shooting it in Calabasas — I think you get a different movie. The way I work and the stories I'm telling are geared specifically toward what this technology has to offer, so I could not make Episode IX using these tools. If you notice, there's a certain look that the Mandalorian lead character has, there's a size that the spaceship is, there's a scale that lines up with the original trilogy. I'm trying to evoke the aesthetics of not just the original trilogy but the first film. Not just the first film but the first act of the first film. What was it like on Tatooine? What was going on in that cantina? That has fascinated me since I was a child, and I love the idea of the darker, freakier side of Star Wars, the Mad Max aspect of Star Wars."

The look and feel of Star Wars has changed since 1977. Back then it was all practical. Now, we have to find a balance. Still, while we know JJ heads to Jordan to shoot in the desert, it;s interesting to see how much of a leash Disney gave Favreau to explore doing things primarily with computers. 

Disney obviously can afford any budget, and they anticipate millions of users on their new platform, but this is almost a Cameron level of trust. 

What I love about his answer is how he relates the look and feel of the story. He wants to keep traditional aesthetics but he has has ideas about how to broaden the story with new visual elements.  

The Mandalorian focuses on the Outer Rim in the years after Return of the Jedi. The Mad Max reference makes me think the world has slipped into some kind of dystopia. We don't usually get to see the gritty side of this world, and I am excited to dig into the darker parts of this galaxy far, far away. 

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

What's next? What's up with Rose in The Last Jedi

When it comes to character studies, Rose in The Last Jedi is a fun one. Let's go over her arc and see what we can learn. 

Click the link to learn more!

 

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