The repeating theme of the third episode of Disney Gallery’s exploration of The Mandalorian is the importance of stillness.
Once again, the series distinguishes itself from the Star Wars sequel films, which helped to send the franchise to the small screen. This third episode focuses on its cast, which was best when not barnacled down with a rotating offering of guest stars.
Episode 3 features a few comments from its string of directors, but at the forefront are Pedro Pascal, who plays The Mandalorian; Carl Weathers as Greef Karga; and Gina Carano as Cara Dune. Pascal’s two stunt doubles — one for gunslinging, one for general butt-kicking — appear as well.
Weathers, in particular, focuses on the importance of stillness in this universe of roaring TIE fighters and shrieking blasters. He notes that he signed on to the series because he was so impressed by the script and its arc — “I knew where this was going” — even though his character would be unable to see Mando’s eyes.
He notes that the distinctive Mandalorian helmet is flat, a characteristic which forced him as an actor to “listen to his voice and not just the words.”
“You become a hummingbird,” Weathers said, adding that in such scenes, he would “become even more still.”
This fact is echoed by episode director Deborah Chow, who revealed that her concept of working with a lead character in a mask was “staying very, very still when something significant’s happening… any little gesture would have meant something.”
This series knew how to breathe, a marked contrast to Rise of Skywalker, the final episode of the sequel trilogy, which hit theaters soon after the series began streaming.
While director JJ Abrams had an impossible repair-and-closeout task to perform with this film, its screaming pace amplified its flaws. It prevented a deepening of emotional connection with the plot or characters.
The Mandalorian, on the other hand, allowed time for space and space for time. That meant, as Pascal points out in this episode, the characters and their relationships had an opportunity to flourish.
The first relationship is with Pascal’s title character. In this episode, he highlights Mando’s tendency to become human and accessible. “We’re all kind of covered in our own armor,” he said, “and that’s the thing that crosses him over.”
Director Rick Famuyiwa points out that the featurelessness of Mando’s helmet invites the audience to project its own emotions onto his experience.
This team understands that the iconic helmet and some wrist toys are not enough. A successful Star Wars story requires a multifaceted leading character and well-rounded supporting cast.
To that end, a pleasant surprise in The Mandalorian was the introduction of Gina Carano as former Rebellion Shocktrooper Cara Dune.
This episode reveals that MMA fighter Carano is endearingly soft-spoken and somewhat reserved compared to the burbling Pascal, belying her past as one who has “actually punched people… and been punched” for a living.
Carano is interviewed in the context of Pascal’s stunt doubles, around whom, he says, he shapes his vocal and non-action performance moments. Having worked with all three men, she reveals that she views the combination of them together as The Mandalorian.
She also astutely draws a contrast between her character’s martial spirit and her peaceful homeworld, Alderaan, and that she learned a great deal from Weathers.
Another highlight of the episode is creator Jon Favreau’s discussion of Star Wars’ roots in the Western, specifically The Man With No Name. He connects Mando’s look with Clint Eastwood’s straight-brimmed hat, flowing poncho, and clipped speech.
The apogee of the episode is a peek at Pascal voicing Mando’s few lines. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the process of creating the character, one which includes rewriting lines on the spot.
This part of production focuses on Pascal’s vocal performance, but he throws his entire body into the act. He cradles a pillow while playing a scene holding Baby Yoda (and is also seen screaming with frustration into the pillow).
During a tense shootout scene, he holds both arms out, Doc Holliday-style, and bows head while intoning, “This is the way.”
Seeing the humans behind the elaborate costumes, masks, and makeup boosts appreciation for everything this series got right. We grow closer not only to what makes Mando tick but the character around him as well.
The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney Plus.