The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau says the team behind the Star Wars series was "so scared" word would leak about actor Mark Hamill's return as Luke Skywalker "right up until it aired." After industry trades reported in December 2019 that "several established characters" from the Star Wars galaxy would appear in season 2 of The Mandalorian, word leaked that animated fan-favorite Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) would make her first appearance in live-action just two months after the sophomore season wrapped filming. That same month, the press reported the involvement of the long-missing Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) ahead of his surprise reveal in the Favreau-directed season 2 premiere, "Chapter 9: The Marshal."
"It was very tricky because it's very hard to keep a secret nowadays, especially with Star Wars, because people are so curious about it," Favreau told Good Morning America about Hamill's top-secret Star Wars return. "There are so many people involved with the process, with visual effects finishing, making it, filming it, the studios, everything."
Because "every piece of casting leaked" ahead of season 2, Favreau added, "We were so scared right up until it aired that our surprise cameo was going to leak too."
"But we started off the whole series with the Baby Yoda reveal, with the Grogu reveal, that was a secret that everybody was really blown away by," Favreau said of the Mandalorian's (Pedro Pascal) first meeting with the Child at the end of the show's premiere episode in 2019. "Part of that is not telling too many people, not having merchandise that's being tooled up and announced and that kind of thing."
Set some five years after 1983's Return of the Jedi, the Peyton Reed-directed episode used top-shelf technology and a body double (Max Lloyd Jones) to reveal a decades-younger Luke when the Jedi Master boards Moff Gideon's (Giancarlo Esposito) Imperial light cruiser at the end of "The Rescue."
"And then to have the very last episode, to have Mark Hamill actually on set filming, and us using whatever technology we had available to de-age him and try to make him look as much like he did in the old films," Favreau said.
Reacting to his season-ending cameo over the weekend, Hamill tweeted that preserving the secret "for over a year with no leaks is nothing less than a miracle," calling it a "real triumph for spoiler-haters everywhere."
"Chapter 16: The Rescue" is already the highest-rated episode of The Mandalorian, which returns for a third season opposite the newly-announced companion series The Book of Boba Fett in December 2021.
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