Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Weird Thing Werner Herzog Did On The Mandalorian Set

It's easy to get lost in a galaxy far, far away.

The Disney+ original documentary series Disney Gallery has been a fantastic source of inside information and interesting anecdotes about The Mandalorian, the hit Star Wars series which is the focus of its first batch of episodes. In the latest installment, "Practical," director Deborah Chow — who directed the third and seventh episodes of The Mandalorian's debut season — told a hilarious story about working with Werner Herzog, the legendary German director and actor who portrayed the mysterious Client.

You'll remember that it's the Client who sends the titular bounty hunter on the fateful mission that kicks the events of the season into motion, hiring "Mando" to retrieve the little womp rat known in-universe as "the Child," and to the entirety of Star Wars fandom as "Baby Yoda." Even after the tiny Force user saves him from a rampaging mudhorn, Mando still sticks to his end of the bargain, delivering the little guy to the Client and dooming him to a fate unknown... until he has a change of heart, and decides to stage a rescue.

This happens in the third episode, and it was while directing the scenes in which Baby Yoda is in the custody of the Client that Chow ran into a bit of trouble. Herzog, you see, is an accomplished actor, but he's also widely considered to be among the greatest directors of all time, being responsible for such arthouse classics as Where the Green Ants Dream, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Aguirre: The Wrath of God. It was while shooting scenes with Baby Yoda — in actuality, an extremely lifelike and expensive puppet — that his directorly instincts took over, and he got just a bit lost in his performance.

Werner Herzog lapsed into directorial mode with Baby Yoda

Chow told the story during a roundtable discussion with The Mandalorian creator and showrunner Jon Favreau, executive producer Dave Filoni, and the rest of the first season's directors: Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Taika Waititi. "Probably the best and the weirdest moment was when I was shooting [episode] three, and I was doing a scene in the safe house with Werner and the baby," she recalled. "And it was, like, one of the weirdest and best things that ever happened, where Werner... he was acting against the baby, which was the puppet, obviously."

Yes, obviously... to everyone but Herzog. Chow continued, "I think at some point, he forgot that it was a puppet. And he got so into the baby that he started directing the baby, directly, as though he was talking to a person. So, I'm trying to direct Werner, who is now directing the puppet... he doesn't realize the puppeteers are actually the ones [he should be addressing]... he fell in love with it."

Of course he did — we all did, really. For his part, Herzog offered comments that went at least part of the way toward explaining how he ended up attempting to offer direction to a prop. "Filmmaking now... is back to almost 'old school,'" the director said. "Technology becomes invisible, and that's a great thing. Yoda baby [is] beautiful, and it moves in there, too! The guys who are moving the eyes and the lips and the facial expressions, phenomenal."

We understand completely, Mr. Herzog. Nobody wants Baby Yoda to be real more than we do; heck, if we had been in your position, we wouldn't have stopped at offering the little guy direction. We would have been asking him if he could help with that nagging knot in our back, and trying to feed him lizards.

Season 2 of The Mandalorian will drop on Disney+ in October 2020.