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The Internet’s favorite father-son pairing is back. The Mandalorian returns for its third season Wednesday, as masked warrior Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and baby Grogu embark on a new journey together — this time, to the Mandalorian home planet of Mandalore, where Din hopes to be forgiven for his transgressions.
Last year, Din and Grogu made a surprise appearance in crossover episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, where big developments took place for the duo. When presented with the choice to dedicate himself to his Jedi training or return to a life with his father, Grogu chose to reunite with Din. While some audience members may have missed those key moments if they skipped Boba Fett, Mandalorian creator and showrunner Jon Favreau said the decision for the crossover came from “the freedom of storytelling” that comes with the multishow Mando-verse.
“We have characters that exist in both sets of stories, so we can use the opportunity of The Book of Boba Fett to check in on where these characters are,” Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter at the series’ Hollywood premiere on Tuesday evening. “I knew that I didn’t want to dedicate a lot of screen time within The Mandalorian to a period of time where there wasn’t a lot of character progression. Both [Din and Grogu] were kind of stuck, as far as character progression goes, until they were reunited. So, my feeling was that it would allow me to do both of those things and freed me up now two years later to have a whole new context for these two characters to have a relationship and move forward.”
In addition to playing the title role of The Mandalorian, Pascal is currently taking the Internet by storm, as he simultaneously stars in HBO’s The Last of Us, the apocalypse-set series based on the video game of the same name. As pointed out in a sketch during his recent hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, Pascal fans across social media have dedicated themselves to creating “fan-cam” edits of the actor’s work. However, when the Mandalorian team initially cast him, Favreau said they didn’t fully anticipate the budding superstar that the veteran actor would become.
“We just hired him because we were fans of his work [in] Narcos and Game of Thrones,” Favreau said. “He’s been at it for a while, and what we really liked about him was that he was a journeyman actor who always did a great part. He really picked great projects to be a part of, he always stood out. We knew that he could ground and add humanity to a character that was otherwise a mask, somebody that we knew you wouldn’t see his face, and if and when you did that, it had to mean something. He had to deliver a lot in a few moments.”
Favreau said he is not surprised The Last of Us and his post-Mandalorian projects “are all adding up.”
Said the director: “People are starting to associate his name with his performances and his face. Of course, now as he’s doing talk shows, people are getting to know the person, as well as the characters. So, he’s having a moment, and I’m glad that we’re able to be a part of that.”
Season three comes over two years since the show’s last run in 2020, and the cast are ready for the story to finally continue on.
“It is about time,” said Giancarlo Esposito, who plays villain Moff Gideon. “We have all this time to imagine and have this great wonder and expectations surrounding what could happen. The moment has finally come where you’re going to see it.”
In addition to appearing as High Magistrate Greef Karga in the series, Carl Weathers returns as a director on the show, helming the season’s fourth episode. With high expectations for season three, Weathers said the creative team’s greatest priority was to deliver for the fans.
“The gauntlet was thrown down in season one, we had to top it in season two,” the actor-director explained. “And here we are in season three, again, we have to top season two. Jon Favreau is not going to let things down. I got a feeling we’re gonna get there.”
And in a franchise that strives to keep spoilers tightly under wraps, executive producer and series director Rick Famuyiwa shared his surprise when Star Wars fan theories ultimately come to fruition in the show.
“They are very passionate,” Famuyiwa said of the fan base. “I’m one of those fans, so I can’t complain. I love to see it, especially the level of forensic detective work that goes into every little image or piece that’s revealed. Our fans just find ways of diving in and finding theories that I never quite knew existed. But then a lot of them are like, ‘Oh, wow, they were kind of on the money. How did they know that?’”
Joined by fans decked out in Star Wars cosplay, the cast and crew celebrated the season three premiere at Hollywood’s El Capitan theater, where they treated fans to not one, but two new episodes.
“I can’t wait until you see what happens, and what she does to me,” Pascal said to the audience, referring to co-star Katee Sackhoff, who plays Bo-Katan Kryze in the series.
New episodes of The Mandalorian release on Disney+ every Wednesday.
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