Why Jon Favreau Is Perfect For Star Wars (And Rian Johnson Isn’t)

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We’re now within two months until the first-ever, live-action Star Wars series launches on Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+. The Mandalorian comes to us from writer-producer-director Jon Favreau. From the first looks that we’ve seen, the series promises to be an epic saga in and of itself. Between its practical effects to ties to the original trilogy, The Mandalorian already seems to have captured the essence of the franchise. That’s why Favreau is perfect for Star Wars.

Favreau; Lucas; Mandalorian
Image: Jon Favreau/Instagram

Is it too big of a leap to make such a claim before the show even airs?  I don’t think so. Favreau seeps of success, due in large part to his genuine and deep understanding of the source material from which he works. This is the man who launched the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, after all. When it comes to Star Wars, he was smart enough to both seek input from George Lucas and to surround himself with some of the best, creative minds in Star Wars. (Dave Filoni, of course, tops that list.)

Why Favreau is perfect for Star Wars …

Jon Favreau; The Mandalorian
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The producer recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about The Mandalorian. One question centered on whether Favreau would include characters like Mara Jade or Thrawn in the show. Part of his answer, however, proves just how much Favreau understands Star Wars and takes its lore to heart:

Part of what’s fun to see if we could merge the worlds of the original trilogy, the prequels, the sequels, The Clones Wars, and what’s been considered canon up to this point and what’s been considered part of Legends. I think this show offers an opportunity to bring in all those elements so no matter what your flavor of Star Wars ice cream you like there will be something to enjoy.”

Compare Favreau with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and you’ll see quite a contrast in their approaches to Star Wars. Favreau seems much more in tune with both the history of the franchise and fans’ desires for it. Johnson, to the contrary, for many just didn’t seem to fully grasp the gravity of Star Wars.

… and Rian Johnson isn’t

Take for example the scene in which Luke Skywalker tosses the lightsaber away. Johnson had this to say:

It wasn’t coming into it and thinking, ‘Okay, they’re expecting this. Let’s have him toss the lightsaber. Ha, ha, ha.’ The reason he did that was because I can’t imagine any other honest reaction from him to that moment.”

Rian Johnson; The Last Jedi
This scene from The Last Jedi , among others, prompted extraordinary fan backlash and led to the hashtag #notmyluke.
(Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Therein lays the problem: Imagine if, instead, a forlorn Luke reaches as if he would take the lightsaber…. And instead folds the saber back into Rey’s hand and walks away. Luke was in self-imposed exile. He lamented his failures and the hubris of the Jedi. To push the saber away, to not event take possession of it even for an instant, would have been far more poignant.

It would have shown the pain and turmoil Luke was suffering. And it would have created far more of a connection with a beloved character as opposed to the resulting shock and guffaws. As a Hollywood director, Rian Johnson couldn’t image something like that? Well….

Many fans are already concerned that they won’t like The Rise of Skywalker because of what Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi. I’ve not heard any such trepidation when it comes to The Mandalorian. That, my friends, has a lot to do with Jon Favreau and the confidence he instills in the project.

The Mandalorian debuts November 12 on Disney+.

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