“The Mandalorian” and “Ahsoka” will definitely be delighting Star Wars fans soon. On May 28 at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA, series creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni spoke about their hit Disney+ Star Wars series, “The Mandalorian”: where it’s been and its future, plus some major details about the new “Ahsoka” show. POPSUGAR was on hand for the discussion, which featured a host of surprise guests including Pedro Pascal, who plays the title Mandalorian, Din Djarin, and Rosario Dawson, who will star in “Ahsoka”‘s first season in 2023.
Favreau said of leading the new world of Star Wars television on Disney+, “To me it’s been a dream come true.” He said his interest was in telling “personal stories” fit to the small screen, which would then be able to bring in people who don’t necessarily know everything Star Wars already, but become interested in the world.
“When I first saw Star Wars, it was the continuation of a serialized story,” Favreau said, harking back to George Lucas’s original idea for the series. To Favreau, making Star Wars television, full of set pieces, creatures, and major cliffhangers, is exactly in the spirit of Lucas’s vision.
“It’s the closest I’ve come to being a dad — so far, anyway. You watch the show, and to see a child love a father like that, you get it.”
The pair also talked about the stress of keeping the secret of Baby Yoda — aka Grogu — when they made the first season; fans didn’t know that character existed at all until the first episode of the show aired. “I’m just glad it was in the first episode,” Filoni said with a laugh. The harder secret to keep, the pair agreed, was the appearance of Luke Skywalker in the season two finale.
When Pascal entered, the crowd erupted. “My heart just exploded inside my body,” Pascal said with a laugh when he took his seat. “It’s a good last day of my life.”
Pascal reflected on what it was like for Din and Grogu to be apart in season two and most of “The Book of Boba Fett.” “It’s very hard to be separated,” he explained. “It’s the closest I’ve come to being a dad — so far, anyway. You watch the show, and to see a child love a father like that, you get it.”
Pascal introduced Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder, who are Din’s stunt doubles. Because Din is always wearing a mask, it’s usually not Pascal in the suit, so making the character come alive is a collaboration between the three men. “The way that we work is so inclusive, and so fun,” Wayne said. “I mean, we get to play cowboys in space.”
“They’re some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” Crowder said.
Next, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, and Emily Swallow joined the panel. Esposito, who plays Moff Gideon, joked about his character’s desire to “crush” Grogu, though he personally loves the little guy. “I want the child within me to come back through the child in Grogu,” Esposito said. He explained that he’s made up his own backstory for Gideon — even if it’s not the actual canonical backstory. He gets “hints” from Favreau and Filoni, looks at the script, and lets his imagination soar to fill the character in.
Swallow, who plays the extremely mysterious The Armorer, said she “loves” to inhabit the space of her character because she’s smart, patient, and grounded. “She really reminds us of those heart, soul themes, and I appreciate that about her,” she explained.
Weathers joined the cast as Greef Karga in season one and also directed an episode in season two. Weathers seemed to confirm that he would be directing another episode in the new season, and he gave ample credit to the people behind the scenes for crafting the “magical world that we get to walk through.”
Then Temuera Morrison, who plays Boba Fett, joined the group to another standing ovation from fans. Morrison revealed that while filming “The Book of Boba Fett,” he would watch “The Godfather” and try to channel a little bit of Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone. It seems both Boba Fett and Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand will be back for season three of “The Mandalorian.”
Next, Katee Sackhoff, who portrays Bo-Katan Kryze, and Rick Famuyiwa joined the panel to talk more about where “The Mandalorian” is going in season three. Famuyiwa directed multiple episodes of the first two seasons and is an executive producer on the third.
“It was an honor,” Famuyiwa said of being asked to work on the show. When asked if he could reveal anything about the focus of season three, he answered simply, “No.” Sackhoff was also tight-lipped about Bo-Katan’s role in season three.
Sackhoff originally voiced Bo-Katan in the “Clone Wars” animated series. She said, “To be able to start with her 10 years ago, and that [Favreau and Filoni] trusted me to take her into live action, I’m still pinching myself.”
Favreau and Filoni introduced an expanded teaser for the new season of “The Mandalorian,” longer than the one that premiered at the Lucasfilm panel on May 26. One of the characters who seems to return in the new footage is Babu Frik, an adorable and funny little alien who appeared in “The Rise of Skywalker.” In the new footage, there were also shots of a fallen star destroyer, new characters, and our first glimpse of the Mandalorian home planet, Mandalore.
Then “Ahsoka” star Dawson made a surprise appearance straight from the set of the series, which is currently filming. “It’s a thrill and honor to bring this character to life and to feel the energy of everyone wanting to see her,” she said. Dawson also brought out Chopper, the droid from “Star Wars: Rebels,” who spun around on stage.
Filoni introduced a short “Ahsoka” teaser. The footage included appearances by “Rebels” characters including Hera Syndulla, Ezra Bridger, and Sabine Wren. Then Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who will play Sabine, joined the panel.
Filoni, who worked extensively on “Clone Wars” and “Rebels,” reflected on the experience of taking these characters to live action. “You write these stories and all of a sudden you’re looking through a character and see the environment and there they are,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve just been adopted into a new family,” Bordizzo said about joining “Ahsoka.” She said that fans will be “really excited” about the journey Sabine will have.
At the end, Favreau brought out the true star — Baby Yoda himself. He waved to fans and sat on the table.
The third season of “The Mandalorian” is set to premiere in February 2023. The first season of “Ahsoka” is also scheduled to hit Disney+ sometime next year.