The Mandalorian Director Robert Rodriguez Reveals He Wasn't First Choice to Direct Star Wars Episode

The latest episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian on Disney+ continues the series trend of tasking talented directors to tell new and interesting stories in the galaxy far, far away, and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez rises to the challenge in "Chapter 14: The Tragedy." The director of Sin City, Alita: Battle Angel, Planet Terror, Spy Kids, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, and more made his debut in the Star Wars franchise with an episode that brought back a fan-favorite character while also showcasing his talents in the Western genre. But it sounds like it almost didn't happen.

According to Rodriguez's recent interview with SFX Magazine, executive producer Jon Favreau had different plans. When those fell through, he asked Rodriguez to pitch in and helm "Chapter 14."

"I’m friends with Jon Favreau and he needed a last-minute replacement for a director," said Rodriguez. "And so I said, ‘Sure, I'll come play in the Star Wars universe!’ What a dream. And it's fulfilled all my... it’s beyond my expectations, I mean, it was SO fun, you can’t imagine what it's like to walk on a set that has the classic look of The Empire Strikes Back feel and look. It’s right after that era, right after the Return of the Jedi. It's that era. So you really feel like you just walked into your childhood."

He added, "All of a sudden you go up and touch things and go, ‘That's the thing that Han Solo talked into when he shot the machine and told the stormtroopers not to come up’. I was like, ‘Wow, I thought I recognized that!’ It's just a really strange, exhilarating experience to be in your childhood sets for real. And getting to make action! It's really cool... The visual language is so embedded in our heads. So I have one of those [selfies] ‘Look, it’s me next to a control panel, isn’t that cool?’ It was so fun."

This is the second collaboration in the last year between Rodriguez and series star Pedro Pascal; the two also worked together on We Can Be Heroes, which is set to premiere on Netflix on January 1. Rodriguez spoke about the opportunity to reunite with Pascal in the Star Wars galaxy.

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"I actually filmed this movie before I worked with him on Mandalorian," Rodriguez said. "So I was surprised to go to the set, ‘Hey, you’re here too!’ So it’s fun working with him. He was terrific in the movie, fun to work with."

Fans can watch Rodriguez's debut in the Star Wars galaxy with the newest episode of The Mandalorian, now streaming on Disney+.