Beginning with the very first episode, The Mandalorian proved what was possible for live-action Star Wars storytelling in an episodic television format. While the sequel trilogy has often divided fans, most fans seem to be united in their affection for the story of Mando and his fierce loyalty to and protection of baby Grogu. This love was all the more amplified with the totally badass appearance of post-Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker in the season 2 finale episode. And all of it was was possible because of experienced writer, actor, and director Jon Favreau.
Favreau recently sat down with the Writers Guild of America West to talk about his approach to writing The Mandalorian. From developing the concept on spec to making Baby Yoda work to finding both challenges and joy in writing, Favreau shares some important insights into his process and decision-making on the show.
Learning from George Lucas and Dave Filoni
Creating a story within the Star Wars universe carried a lot of pressure, and Favreau credits George Lucas and the influences he drew from to create a show that would integrate well within the existing story while also blazing a new trail. Favreau said, “I had a pitch for a concept of following the archetypes that influenced George Lucas whether it was the Western, the samurai film, the World War II film, earlier space operas, cliffhangers, Flash Gordon—looking at the films and the archetypes that influenced George was a way for us to make a smaller story that would work for the scale of the small screen and get back to the basics.”
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He also credits his partnership with Dave Filoni, who worked closely with George Lucas in developing and running The Clone Wars animated series.
“[E]ven though I was actually writing the episodes,” Favreau said, “there were many, many hours of conversations, and I would show him things I was writing, and he was giving me a tremendous amount of feedback and helping guide me through the world of Star Wars. He had studied under George for I think a decade working on the animated shows, so I felt like I had a direct connection to the source code of this whole world with him.”
On Luke Skywalker’s appearance
When asked if the arc leading to Luke Skywalker’s appearance was originally in the plan, he shared the way he allows the already established stories and Star Wars’ story-world to help influence what’s possible and likely to happen in a Star Wars show. For him, the twist ending unfolded naturally as he wrote, and he didn’t think knowing Luke’s fate in the other movies stopped him from telling this specific story in Skywalker’s history — adding that he and Dave Filoni have a lot of freedom to play with Skywalker’s story during this time period.
For more about Favreau’s writing process and approach to The Mandalorian, check out his interview with the Writers Guild of America West. And for more The Mandalorian news, keep up with The Mandalorian category on Dork Side of the Force.