The nature of the Star Wars fandom means that, for everything that one group of fans love about a new adventure, there are also fans who absolutely hate the same thing, which includes the incorporation of elements from established corners of the galaxy into supposedly new stories, as well as drawing direct connections to well-known parts of the mythos. While The Mandalorian unfolds in an unexplored timeframe for the live-action Star Wars world, recent Season Two episodes have direct and obvious connections to the most well-known components of the saga, with some fans loving how the series incorporated those elements as others are frustrated that this "new" series relies on such popular points of reference. Director on the series Bryce Dallas Howard recently addressed the challenge of finding the right blend of new and familiar elements.
"I think it's a really fine balance, of course," Howard explained to Digital Spy. "As an actor, I'm familiar with those kinds of questions, because, for example, with working in the Jurassic [World] franchise, it's like, 'OK, we can have fun with some deep cuts for the fans, but, at the end of the day, it's about a good story, well told. What is that balance? How might something that has been established in The Lost World or whatnot play a factor into the storytelling for Jurassic World: Dominion?'"
From Howard's perspective, incorporating those cameos and connections to established characters and events helps to flesh out the experience of your major characters, so long as those ancillary characters don't become the focus of someone else's story.
"If you're telling a story that is a biopic or something, and there's a bunch of characters that are smaller characters in that biopic, but you can go, and you can read about all of them, because they existed, and their lives are well-documented and whatnot, it's only going to better inform the biopic that's centering on the one character," the filmmaker pointed out. "Because you will have these fully fleshed out other characters that, even though it's not centralizing on them, they're a part of the narrative."
She went on to note that, with Dave Filoni being a vast wealth of knowledge in the world of Star Wars, having developed both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, it would have almost been a disappointment for a project with his involvement to not connect to the larger world of the franchise.
"I think to not connect The Mandalorian in any shape or form, especially with Dave Filoni's collaboration, it would personally feel like a missed opportunity," Howard admitted. "As a fan, when I see Dave's name on something, I want the storytelling to be that much richer. I want to feel the specificity of the Star Wars universe be brought to life, especially when it's live-action. It's definitely a fine line. But that's part of the joy."
Season Three of The Mandalorian is expected to debut on Disney+ next December.