Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni Talk Season 3 of ‘The Mandalorian,’ 'Ahsoka' and More
The creators of ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ and ‘Ahsoka’ are joined by Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito and other special guests to discuss the upcoming new season of the popular show – and what is ahead.
On hand were the show’s creators and executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. “For me it’s been a dream come true,” Favreau began. “The type of story I wanted to tell fits the small screen. I wanted to set it in a small part of the larger Star Wars universe.”
“Star Wars TV, I’m up for it since 2008,” said Filoni. Favreau went on to explain that it was difficult keeping the big secrets from the first and second seasons, which included Grogu in season 1 and Luke Skywalker in season 2.
Favreau also talked about the direction ‘Star Wars’ television is taking on Disney+. “When I first saw ‘Star Wars’, it was a continuation of serialized stories,” he explained. “So, with television, you get six or eight a year, and they are a lot of fun to write. We also can tell the story over several hours and this job is the most fun I’ve ever had. I’m going to keep doing it for a while.”
But it wouldn’t be a ‘Mandalorian’ panel without Mando himself, Pedro Pascal, who quickly joined the producers on stage. Pascal began by talking about his favorite moments “Luke would be up there, but there are too many to choose.” Pascal also discussed Mando’s relationship to Grogu and how difficult their time apart was. “It’s very hard to be separated and it's the closest I’ve ever come to being a dad. You watch the show, and you see how much that child loves his dad. Maybe it’s time for me to have one now.”
Filoni talked about the plan to bring Grogu and Mando back together in ‘The Book of Boba Fett.’ “What was interesting, is that we already had the plan to have Luke train Grogu,'' he explained. “So, it made sense to have him train him based on the philosophy that began in the original trilogy. Which is why I wanted to direct the episode, and bring Ahsoka in, which made a significant moment.”
Esposito started things off in jokingly villainous style: “I will squash that little Baby Yoda!” But he continued with his heart on his sleeve. “I want the child within me to come back through the child in Grogu. But that child has been reunited with his father now and I am so happy to be part of this franchise.”
He also described part of his process. “I make up a backstory for myself and that sometimes does not correspond with the backstory they write for me,” he admitted. “The creators of the show give me hints that allow me to fill in the blanks of my character. But when you work with people that are as playful as they are, you get a sense of what they want. The most compelling moment for me was when Jon and Dave came on set and saw what I was doing. Jon said, ‘You've been doing this for a longtime and I trust you.’ When you work with people that trust you, that empowered me. and that is what this show is about. It elevated and uplifted me, and I will never forget it."
Swallow clearly gets a kick out of playing the mysterious, Zen-like Mandalorian Armorer. “I love inhabiting her space. She is wise and she waits,” the actress said. “The bond of community that the Mandalorians have, especially with the armorer, speaks to what ‘Star Wars’ is about, and I really love that about this character.”
Carl Weathers was taken aback by the large crowd in the hall and thanked them for their support with the show. Weathers, who also directs ‘The Mandalorian’, discussed his work on the series. “I owe it all to Jon Favreau. If Jon hadn’t invited me to be in this, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. Working with Dave has also been phenomenal, and I owe so much to those guys.”
Asked to tease a little bit about directing an episode from season 3, Weathers got playful, threatening Filoni and Favreau that he was about to reveal a spoiler. “I can run faster than you!” taunted Weathers, before continuing. “Okay, here is the spoiler: in the spring of 2023 ‘The Mandalorian’ will be out again! No, no spoilers, it along with the other episodes will be spectacular. I’m just really lucky that I got a good script, good actors, and help from Jon and Dave who know everything about ‘Star Wars’. It’s a lovely sandbox to play in.”
The panel then shifted to talk of ‘The Book of Boba Fett,’ with Fett himself, Temuera Morrison taking the stage and thrilling the crowd with a Fett version of a Māori Haka war dance. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare anyone. Just thought I’d wake you all up,” the actor said.
Morrison discussed what it was like making ‘Book of Boba Fett’, but first recalled his time on ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones’. "We had a wonderful time in Sydney," he said. "Many. many years later, I think Boba had to look a little bit like me, so. I want to thank everybody. They're the ones who work hard making us look good in front of the camera, so I want to acknowledge everybody from our crew. We have a lot of crew and people behind the scenes out there in the crowd with us.“
Co-star Ming-Na, who plays Fennec Shand, couldn’t be there because she has covid. The crowd cheered for her. “Ming-Na sends her apologies,” said Morrison.
After that, it was time for more ‘Mandalorian’ season 3 talk. Katee Sackhoff, who played Mandalorian Bo-Katan Kryze in two episodes of season 2, then took to the stage. She’s primed to return in a big way for the third season, especially since she still wants to get her hands on the Darksaber that is in Mando’s possession.
Also new on stage? Rick Famuyiwa, who has directed three episodes of the show as well as cameoing as X-Wing pilot Jib Dodger. He’s been promoted to executive producer alongside Filoni and Favreau for the third season.
“Jon saw my film ‘Dope’ and said, ‘that is Star Wars material,” Famuyiwa explained. “The first film I saw in a movie theater was ‘Star Wars’. I went to see that movie and from the moment I saw the opening crawl, my life was changed. So, this has always been a dream of mine to tell stories in this universe. It was an honor and I have been around for the ride ever since. I’m excited for next season!”
“My dad raised me on Science fiction and strong characters,” said Sackhoff. “When I was little, you didn’t have a lot of strong female characters to choose from. We had Sigourney Weaver, but I wanted to be Bruce Willis. Playing this character is such a gift. Jon and Dave are responsible for creating so many strong characters. To be able to start with her ten years ago and that Dave trusted me to bring her to live-action means the world to me, and you are in for a treat.”
Favreau then introduced some exclusive footage of ‘The Mandalorian’ season three. The trailer is mostly the same footage that was shown during the opening day presentation on Thursday, but is much longer and contains some new shots, and also features Mando and Grogu together again, as well as actors Katee Sackhoff, Carl Weathers and Amy Sedaris (who plays tech expert Peli Motto).
What can you expect? More moments of multiple Mandalorians (try saying that three times fast) roaring into the sky using their rocket packs, a white colored protocol droid, several creatures the same species as ‘The Rise of Skywalker’s Babu Frik (hey-heeeey!) and a grounded Star Destroyer were all spotted during the screening.
The panel then pivoted to ‘Ahsoka’. Dave Filoni said of making the series, “I’m very happy because no one knows anything about that or where it is filming.” As he said that, Ahsoka Tano herself, actress Rosario Dawson, took to the stage in a surprise appearance that thrilled the crowd.
Dawson told the audience that it has been amazing filming so far and that cameras have been rolling for three weeks. “We started filming on my birthday, May 9th!” she enthused.
And according to Dawson, she always wanted to play Ahsoka. “It’s because of people like you that I’m here,” she told the audience. “I was a fan cast online so I just retweeted that and when Jon and Dave started working on 'Mandalorian' they looked at the timeline and I was the right age now. It’s been an honor to bring this character to life and to see how much everyone wants to see her come to life in this series.”
Another big surprise – Dawson summoned Chopper, the droid from the Filoni-created animated series ‘Star Wars Rebels’ on stage. The chatty character (for whom Filoni also provided the electronic ‘voice’ on the show) was a huge hit with the audience.
Then It was time for a sizzle reel of footage from that initial ‘Ahsoka’ shooting period. It featured Dawson’s Jedi walking on to the bridge of the ship Ghost from ‘Rebels’, with characters from that show in live action, including Twi'lek pilot Hera Syndulla (though only from behind and without revealing her casting). Cut to ‘Rebels’ own Mandalorian, Sabine Wren (played in the ‘Ahsoka’ show by Natasha Liu Bordizzo) looking at the image of the animated ‘Rebels’ cast as seen in the series finale.
After the footage screening, Bordizzo herself walked on stage. “I feel like I have just been adopted into a new family,” she said. “It is the most welcoming and creative set I’ve ever been on. I know how much Sabine means to people in the room. She means a lot to me too, and I think you’ll be really excited about the journey she is about to have.”
Finally, to end the presentation, Favreau reached below his table and lifted up Grogu, who was moving and waving to the crowd. Pascal was excited and referred to himself, Filoni and Favreau as Grogu’s “My Three Dads.” The entire cast finished the panel by taking a group photo with "the artist formerly known as Baby Yoda."
You can watch our interviews with the casts of 'The Mandalorian,' 'The Book of Boba Fett' and 'Ahsoka' at Star Wars Celebration by clicking on the video player above.