The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau says creatives involved with the making of Star Wars properties "have to listen" to audiences, adding the relationship between filmmakers and fans is a "two-way street." For The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars television series, the Iron Man and Lion King filmmaker recruited a stable of directors and fans of the George Lucas-created saga — Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taika Waititi, and Lucas protégé Dave Filoni — to create an episodic series about an armored bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) who becomes the protector of a Force-sensitive foundling, the Child, as he's pursued by rogue forces throughout the galaxy.
"You put something out in the world, and then it echoes back at you," Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter about the feedback loop that comes with making Star Wars. "You have to listen. It's not a one-way street. It's a two-way street. You have to feel the energy of the audience. But when you come from comedy — and when I was doing improv back in Chicago — that's it: You have to read the room, you have to feel the room."
"You have to be in community with the audience," Favreau added. "You have to be part of it."
The Mandalorian was developed and filmed in a shroud of secrecy — the Child, informally known as Baby Yoda, wasn't revealed until the closing minutes of the series premiere — and was well-received when it launched alongside the Disney+ streaming service in November. The eight-episode first season, released weekly between November and December, scored a 93% approval from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
Pre-production on a second season, releasing this October, got underway before audiences saw a single episode of The Mandalorian. Now that the series has proved itself a hit with audiences — who embraced Baby Yoda as a viral sensation — a third season, now in development for Disney-Lucasfilm, will be the first produced as part of that feedback loop with viewers.
"The fact of the matter is, as much as we love working on Star Wars, we love even more making Star Wars for other people," Favreau said. "And when other people are excited by it, dig what we're doing and are appreciative, that's as good as it gets for us."
Keeping franchise fans in mind was a priority for Favreau, who consulted with Lucas before scripting The Mandalorian.
"Because we're not George Lucas ... we're just filmmakers who grew up watching [Star Wars]," Favreau said on the latest episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, an eight-part documentary series exploring the making of the show. "Just because we say it doesn’t mean it's cool… we're definitely thinking, 'How is this going to play with the fans?'"
The Mandalorian Season 2 premieres this October on Disney+.