Star Wars fans have been supporting stories in a galaxy far, far away for decades now. So long, in fact, that fans of the original films now find themselves stepping into the universe as characters. Over the weekend, two of these fans-turned-stars took the stage at LA Comic Con to discuss their hit series, The Mandalorian.
During LACC, Giancarlo Esposito (Moff Gideon) and Ming-Na Wen (Fennec Shand) reflected on their roles in the Star Wars universe (so far!), and what The Mandalorian means to fans. From bringing fans on to be a direct part of the show, to seeing their reactions to major events on screen, Esposito and Wen explored the force of the Star Wars fandom.
Check out what the pair had to say about fandom and the season finales of The Mandalorian below.
The Mandalorian Season 1 Finale (Featuring the 501st Legion)
The first season finale of The Mandalorian saw Mando and his allies go up against Moff Gideon and the Imperial army.
And that means the production needed A LOT of Stormtroopers. So many, in fact, that the series ended up tapping the 501st Legion to fill out their army.
The 501st Legion is a volunteer organization dedicated to creating quality costumes through a shared love for Star Wars. The 501st Legion often appears at conventions and charity events in costume. They’re not actors – they’re just big Star Wars fans in movie-quality cosplay. But that’s all they needed to be invited by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to fill out The Mandalorian set.
“They carry themselves with such great professionalism.” recalled Esposito of the 501st Legion.
“They knew exactly what they needed to do,” added Wen. “How to pose and how to get shot…because Stormtroopers get shot all the time!”
The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale (Featuring Luke Skywalker)
It seems like the level of fan service that is “putting actual fans in the series” would be hard to top. But The Mandalorian sure didn’t scale back for its season 2 finale. Even if you don’t watch the show, you probably know by now that Luke Skywalker himself made an appearance.
It’s a moment Wen described as “truly surreal,” getting to see a character that had drawn her into the Star Wars universe back on screen.
Esposito agreed, stating that stepping into The Mandalorian after Star Wars had such a formative impact on him was an experience unlike any other.
“To be in that mix of a story that galvanized you when you were young is a dream come true,” Esposito said.
The actors agreed that the creative team behind The Mandalorian definitely understood what a powerful impact Luke’s appearance would have on fans.
“Their respect and understanding propelled that moment,” said Wen.
And in the end, the most gratifying experience was seeing their own excitement reflected by fans after the episode premiered.
“For me the most essential moment was seeing videos of the fans afterwards,” Wen said, recalling clips of people screaming and crying with excitement. “To have been a part of that is the most incredible gift of my life and my career. We’re all bonded from that moment.”
So… how about season 3?
Of course, we all want the scoop on what’s going to happen next. But unsurprisingly, Wen and Esposito remained tight-lipped about what season 3 of The Mandalorian may hold.
When asked to give a tease for the episodes to come, Wen responded simply with a reminder for fans to check out the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett in December. She passed the question over to Esposito, who joked, “Lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit!”
So, Disney and Lucasfilm are keeping a tight hold on spoilers as usual. But hey – isn’t keeping the details a surprise a little exciting anyways?
You can stream the first two seasons of The Mandalorian on Disney+ now. Plus, don’t miss the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett December 29.