The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau says the first live-action series set in the Star Wars galaxy created by George Lucas was an opportunity to "prune everything back to the beginnings again," bringing the 40-year-old franchise back to its roots but on the small screen. Like the Lucas-directed Star Wars, the 1977 blockbuster that counts Flash Gordon and Akira Kurosawa as influences, Favreau pulled from classic works when developing his space-set western about a lone gunfighter. The goal: make The Mandalorian feel "akin to what George had done" with his original small-budget space opera.
"This was an opportunity to prune everything back to the beginnings again," Favreau told Deadline of his Emmy-nominated Disney+ series. "And having new characters allowed us to do that."
Like the original Star Wars, Favreau realizes his vision by blending practical effects with innovative technology. And like the film that would come to be called A New Hope, the series executive producer looked to westerns and samurai films to pull genre elements into The Mandalorian.
"What was really mind-blowing is there's so much to trying to create that authenticity, to make it feel akin to what George had done," Favreau said, "and then you realize that George was doing it without a road map."
Set five years after the events of the Lucas-produced Return of the Jedi, once the original end of the Star Wars saga in 1983, Favreau knew The Mandalorian would be compared to the same trilogy of films that influenced the series now nominated for 15 Emmy Awards.
"We're DJs, playing Beatles songs. He's The Beatles," Favreau said of 'remixing' Lucas' stories. "And the trick is, how do you recombine that?"
As much as Favreau wanted The Mandalorian to feel like classic Star Wars, the new series needed to have its own identity as the inaugural show launched alongside Disney's premier streaming service.
"To have a way to create a freshness, while still being respectful of what came before, I think is one of the challenges of storytellers in this moment, because we're inundated with so much content," he said. "Now, everything's at the touch of a finger, so everybody has a tremendous cultural context…You know, everybody's checking your work."
The Iron Man director previously told Deadline that it was Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, shepherd of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who taught him to keep core fans in mind while keeping an "outstretched hand" to new ones.
"You always want to keep the core fans in mind, because they have been the ones that have been keeping the torch lit for many, many years," Favreau said. "But these are also stories for young people and new audiences. These are myths, and so you always want to have an outstretched hand to people who might not have that background."
A Favreau-directed episode of The Mandalorian airs as part of the show's second season arriving this October on Disney+.