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Will The Mandalorian Season 2 Be Postponed Because Of The Coronavirus Pandemic?

The end of 2019 brought the arrival of Disney+ and, with it, the smash-hit first season of The Mandalorian, Star Wars' new experiment in live-action series television that has set the tone for the post-Skywalker saga landscape. Its few episodes set off a global pop culture phenomenon with the introduction of the adorable Baby Yoda, and the delicately-paced storyline introduced a new, grayer hero to the pantheon in Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), the titular Mandalorian. Anticipation is high for the second season, which was announced by Executive Producer John Favreau as entering production even before the first series ended.

That filming announcement was in November 2019, and a whole new paradigm has come to meet us in 2020. The coronavirus outbreak that has swept the globe has effectively shut down almost all media production in the first quarter of the year as everyone, from the most minor actor to gilt studio executives, must assess how to continue working in the entertainment industry and keep everyone healthy and safe. Even Disney is not immune, as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had to cease filming in Prague, and the entire MCU film lineup has had to shift release dates as theater chains remain closed for the foreseeable future.

What does this mean for The Mandalorian? Will its small episode count, direct-to-streaming distribution, and unique production pipeline keep it on target for the previously-announced release sometime in October? No official word has come down from The Mouse, so here's the likelihood as it stands heading into the summer of 2020.

The good news about The Mandalorian

The most encouraging news is that principal photography has wrapped on The Mandalorian as of the beginning of March, just a couple weeks before other productions first began slowing and ceasing their own operations all across the western hemisphere. Both Gina Carano (who plays Cara Dune) and cinematographer Baz Idoine confirmed as much through postings on social media. Filming is the most delicate part of production in terms of viral concerns, since it requires the most people operating in a relatively small space and traveling back and forth between sets and other secondary businesses to do it.

This fact is even more encouraging when you take into account The Mandalorian's unique method of filming, which includes a lot of work that would usually be completed in post-production being, instead, done in tandem with the director, cinematographer, and specialized VFX staff on-set. Simply put, pre-production takes extra time to render digital backgrounds and effects before an actor steps foot on set, and those pre-made digital assets are rendered onto a special screen stage used for filming that the director and cinematographer can manipulate to their preference. This means that a large part of visual effects work is already completed along with filming, which is important considering that even VFX studios aren't spared from challenges brought by the outbreak.

The Mandalorian's complicated news

All that good news does need to be tempered with some caveats. This aforementioned groundbreaking method doesn't eliminate the need for post-production VFX – it is used, and it's impossible to know which studios are employed to finish that work and how heavily they've been affected by the situation at hand. And, of course, digital work isn't the only part of post-production. Music is a big part of the equation, too, and while composer Ludwig Goransson may have begun scoring during filming, he likely had not finished when it wrapped, since composers often utilize dailies or other unfinished footage to begin recording. Since Goransson employs a large orchestra out of L.A. for his instrumental work, that might be difficult to put together right now.

Beyond that lies editing. If the standard from the first season holds, some episodes will be directed by someone other than the executive producers, Dave Filoni and John Favreau. All of those (likely plural) directors will need to be in touch with both those men for the editing process – this can be done remotely, as was famously employed by Peter Jackson while filming Lord of the Rings, but that does make it more challenging, laborious, and, probably, time-consuming.

For now, Disney is keeping developments close to the vest and, in all honesty, no news is, in fact, good news in this case. There are plenty of reasons to be bullish, but the summer may offer a clearer picture and perhaps even an announcement from on high when everything is in the can.