Bryce Dallas Howard Opens Up on Directing Star Wars: The Mandalorian

First-time television director Bryce Dallas Howard says helming an episode of the first-ever live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian was “so, so awesome.”

“The God’s honest truth is that I had incredible support from [executive producer and director] Dave Filoni and [creator] Jon Favreau,” Howard told Collider when promoting Elton John biopic Rocketman. “And the process — the prep process, and the shooting, and post, and all of that — it was so incredibly collaborative and fun and grounded, and so it was just so cool.”

Like many Lucasfilm projects, The Mandalorian is as mysterious as its armored, gun-slinging protagonist (Pedro Pascal).

“I literally don’t even think I can tease anything about the episode,” Howard said. “I don’t even think I can say which episode I did [laughs]. Yeah, no, I’m totally on lock down.”

What Howard can dish on is the technology used to bring the gritty Star Wars action-drama to life under Favreau and Disney’s Industrial Light & Magic.

“Jon Favreau of course is known for pushing emerging technology forward, and what he did with Jungle Book, what he’s doing now with Lion King, I mean, this is really extraordinary,” Howard said.

“Sort of what is possible because of these projects ... I mean, there were so many times when I’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s okay Jon, we can just do it that way.’ He’s like, ‘I just want to see if it’s possible. We just need to see if it’s possible.’ And I’m like okay, and then it’s tested, and way more times you find out, ‘oh wow, it is possible, and it’s better!’ So that was really exciting.”

Risking blasphemy, Howard compares the use of a Volume — a mostly barren warehouse surrounded by blue screen and tracking cameras that capture performances in a digital environment — to technology straight out of Star Trek.

“There was specifically something that we shot in called The Volume, and basically you step into it, and the naked eye, you can’t tell that you are surrounded by, basically, LED screens. And you feel like [you’re] wherever the story is taking place,” Howard said.

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“It’s almost like — this is the wrong term to use, especially for this project, but it’s almost like a Holodeck.”

Joining Howard and Filoni as directors are Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), and Rick Famuyiwa (Dope). The first episode of The Mandalorian will premiere when Disney+ launches November 12.

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