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The Mandalorian Will Feature Things Fans 'Have Never Seen Before'

The Mandalorian wants to show us never-before-seen corners of a galaxy far, far away.

Entertainment Weekly recently sat down with the cast and crew of the upcoming Disney+ series, who revealed that it's their intention to tell a different kind of Star Wars story: one focused on characters who don't play a pivotal role in the fate of the galaxy.

The series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi but before The Force Awakens, meaning that we'll find ourselves in a bit of a gray area as far as the Star Wars universe is concerned. Sure, there's no Galactic Empire (anymore) and no First Order (yet) laying down the law — but this simply means that there is no law to be laid down, which should lend a Wild West vibe to the show. The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) in the title role, a soldier turned bounty hunter with a complicated moral code; also among the cast are Gina Carano (Deadpool), Carl Weathers (Arrested Development), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Nick Nolte (Angel Has Fallen), Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), and the great film director Werner Herzog.

Showrunner Jon Favreau knows a thing or two about working with guys behind intimidating metal masks; he directed the first two Iron Man flicks and also appeared as Tony Stark's right-hand man Happy Hogan, a role he has reprised many times in the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He and producer Dave Filoni, who has also served as a producer on animated series Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance, described their approach to The Mandalorian in terms that anyone who has been a fan since childhood could understand: they were keen to dig out some of the lesser-used toys in the toy box, and give them center stage.

"I've always been curious what the other people in the cantina are up to," Favreau said, calling back to the iconic Mos Eisley cantina scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. "We're digging really deep in the toy chest and pulling out the action figures that people were always curious about and were not quite in the center frame, but have a lot of potential."

Filoni agreed, saying, "These are the [action figures] you got. Your older brothers have had 'good' ones. Somehow you got Boba Fett. And if you have Boba Fett, you could always tell a good story."

We catch his drift, even though Pascal's Mandalorian is not Boba Fett — in spite of his cool armor, Boba isn't even Mandalorian, he's a clone of a mercenary who happened to appropriate the Mandalorian style of dress in order to look scarier (presumably). Actual Mandalorians live by a warrior's code, which means that the series will be giving us something else besides deep dives into the lives of the Star Wars riff-raff that we haven't yet seen: a highly morally ambiguous lead character.

"Unlike Boba, he's operating in a much more unforgiving landscape where survival is difficult enough, let alone flourishing," Favreau explained. Pascal elaborated on this, saying that while his character would be inclined to at least try to do the right thing in any given circumstance, "his duties could very much be in conflict with that — and doing the right thing has many faces."

In addition to this, The Mandalorian will give us a Star Wars protagonist who remains largely faceless; when you have a helmet that cool-looking, apparently, you're only going to take it off when you have to. But even though Pascal's expressive mug will be hidden for much of the series, Favreau indicated that audiences should have no trouble relating to the character on an emotional level — and that, in fact, he saw the decision to make his main character mostly expressionless as being part of a time-honored Star Wars tradition.

"What's remarkable is, when you see the whole stretch of the first season, how engaging the character is," he said. "It's amazing how many Star Wars characters are emotionally engaging that aren't even anthropomorphic. R2-D2 is my favorite character, and he barely has an eye."

Yet another new wrinkle: the presence of IG-11, the assassin droid voiced by Waititi. The droid is obviously the same make as the infamous IG-88, which made its first wordless, menacing appearance in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and has since popped up in various graphic novels and animated series. Waititi's take on IG-11 is a very different one from the way the droid's forebear was presented, and it is exactly what you would expect from the guy who portrayed the hulking, ever-personable rock monster Korg in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame.

"[IG-11 is] very innocent and naive and direct, and doesn't know about sarcasm and doesn't know how to lie," Waititi said, all but openly inviting comparisons with Guardians of the Galaxy's Drax the Destroyer. "It's like a child with a gun."

The more details that trickle out about The Mandalorian, the more excited we get, because the first live-action Star Wars series is shaping up to honor its cinematic roots in all the best ways. There's probably no bigger Star Wars geek than Filoni; the bulk of his professional life has been consumed by the property, and it's heartening to know that he's just as pumped as we are.

"I've seen a lot of Star Wars," Filoni said, "and what's most exciting to me is that I am very confident we did some things — and fans will see things — that have never been seen before."

Fortunately for us, we don't have very long to wait to discover exactly what these things are. The first episode of The Mandalorian will be available for streaming when Disney+ launches on November 12, with the rest of the first season's eight episodes dropping weekly thereafter.