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Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” is finally upon us, proving that we can have some nice things in 2020 after all. Debuting Oct. 30 on Disney+, the second season of the live-action “Star Wars” series once again sees Pedro Pascal’s titular character attempting to reunite his tiny charge, Baby Yoda (proper name: “The Child”), with his species. While it’s not explicitly shown in the latest Season 2 trailer, among the many dangers the Mandolorian and the Child will face is an expected showdown against Giancarlo Esposito’s Darksaber-wielding Moff Gideon.
The action adventure series follows Pedro Pascal’s titular character as he attempts to reunite his tiny charge, Baby Yoda (proper name: “The Child”), with his proper guardians. While it’s not explicitly shown in the Season 2 trailers, among the many dangers the Mandolorian and the Child will face is an expected showdown against Giancarlo Esposito’s Darksaber-wielding Moff Gideon.
Though never officially confirmed, high-profile guest stars and fan-favorite characters expected to appear are Rosario Dawson as ex-Jedi Ahsoka Tano and Temuera Morrison as legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett, with comedian Bill Burr returning as snarky mercenary Mayfield, sci-fi vet Michael Biehn as another bounty hunter with a connection to the Mandalorian, and Timothy Olyphant in an unknown role.
“The Mandalorian” takes place solidly in the middle of the established “Star Wars” timeline, between the fall of the Empire in “Return of the Jedi” and the emergence of the First Order in “The Force Awakens. Our hero, nicknamed “Mando” (though his real name is Din Djarin), must fight to keep his cute new bounty safe from all the evil forces who are after him.
The series was the crown jewel of Disney+ when the young streaming service launched in 2019, and it drove plenty of the 26.5 million people who had paid to subscribe to the service by the end of last year. (The company had already disclosed that 10 million subscribers had signed up a day after its launch.) If you haven’t yet made the leap, click here to sign up for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Disney is also offering a special bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month total, a 25% savings from the individual prices.
While the top-secret nature of Baby Yoda’s existence meant that Lucasfilm didn’t even manufacture any toys for the 2019 holiday season lest the information be leaked, this year is going to be much different. After fans watch the latest episode every Friday, there will be a “Mando Mondays” toy drop of new “Mandalorian”-themed merch every week through Dec. 21. Visit MandoMondays.com each Monday to find out what new toys and other fun stuff you’ll be able to buy. Some of the items will go on sale or pre-order the same day across top retailers globally, including shopDisney.com.
Some of those items were revealed in the first major “Mandalorian” Season 2 merch drop in September, and you can find highlights in our roundups of the best “Star Wars” toys and other “Star Wars” merch perfect for the mega-fans in your life.
Although the streamer’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe series were supposed to hit Disney+ by the end of the summer, many of those projects have been indefinitely delayed due to the global pandemic and will likely not arrive on the service until 2021. While “WandaVision” debuted a brand new trailer during the 2020 Emmys — one that hinted that the death of Vision (Paul Bettany) in “Avengers: Infinity War” did indeed happen — it’s unclear whether that series, which was originally scheduled to debut in December, will now premiere ahead of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which was supposed to be the streaming service’s first MCU live-action series. “WandaVision” blends the style of classic sitcoms as super-powered beings Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision live idealized suburban lives — until they begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. (A fun note: some sleuthing super-fans found the URL to a website that purportedly says the premiere date is Nov. 27, though that has not been confirmed by any official source.)
There’s good news for fans who have been eagerly anticipating a new season of “The Mandalorian” since the first one ended on Dec. 27: Season 2 debuts on October 30, and Season 3 is also in the works. (Sources close to the production confirmed to Variety in an April report that creator Jon Favreau had been “writing Season 3 for a while,” and that the art department had been working on Season 3 concepts for several weeks.) Favreau also said in a recent interview that he was open to a potential movie adaptation of “The Mandalorian,” although no specifics had been discussed.
In the meantime, there’s the whole eight-episode first season to rewatch, plus an entire eight-episode making-of series called “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian,” focusing on the various teams who came together to create each aspect of the highly technical series.
John Rosengrant, co-founder and special effects supervisor at Legacy Effects and longtime collaborator with “The Mandalorian” showrunner Jon Favreau, revealed that initially the character was supposed to be a CG-created supporting character, but the puppet used for production, which required three or four puppeteers to operate (including Rosengrant), ended up being much more powerful than the team initially expected it to be.
“We did a proof of concept three weeks before shooting, and even once we started shooting, I don’t know that we were convinced that the puppet was going to do as much as it did,” Rosengrant said. “But, on set, there was an aha moment of what it was capable of, and it came together in an organic way. But it is a hybrid performance, and they had to seamlessly blend the CG [from Industrial Light & Magic] with the puppet.”
Season 1 of “The Mandalorian” ended with the introduction of a fan-favorite piece of space weaponry originally introduced in “The Mandalorian” executive producer Dave Filoni’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated series, and set up a whole host of potential storylines for Season 2 to explore.
Wrote IndieWire’s Tyler Hersko in a review of the Season 1 finale, “Regardless of where ‘The Mandalorian’ decides to go in Season 2 when the show returns in fall 2020, the next batch of episodes will benefit from the superb storylines its Season 1 finale has set in motion. The Disney+ tentpole has had its fair share of ups and downs — the episodic, copy-pasted midseason wasn’t remotely to its benefit — but the series’ high points are strong and numbered enough to inspire a veritable zeal for upcoming installments.”
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