The second episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian has arrived, and in it, executive producer Jon Favreau hones in on the legacy of Star Wars and how it impacted the making of The Mandalorian. For this episode, he’s brought in some longtime Star Wars veterans and Lucasfilm collaborators to discuss the saga, including the company’s president Kathleen Kennedy, Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisors John Knoll and Richard Bluff, and animation director Hal Hickel. The overall vibe of the episode honors what came before, especially the vision of George Lucas, which goes far beyond Star Wars.
Below, we run through some of the more interesting revelations about both The Mandalorian and Star Wars at large, including the various innovations that George Lucas was responsible for outside of the saga. Plus, find out Taika Waititi’s favorite line from the franchise, learn what made Deborah Chow’s second episode challenging, and hear how Dave Filoni puts the final lightsaber battle in The Phantom Menace in a whole new light.
The Mandalorian Documentary Series Recap: Episode 2 – Legacy
Star Wars Inspired ILM Chief Creative Officer John Knoll to Get into VFX
Today, John Knoll is the Chief Creative Officer of Industrial Light and Magic, one of the most respected special effects studios in the film industry. He’s also the guy who came up with the idea for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So it should come as no surprise that the original Star Wars is the reason that he ended up getting into the special effects business.
During the roundtable discussion with various Star Wars veterans, Knoll revealed that once he found himself at ILM, he always hoped he would work on something as ambitious as Star Wars. Little did he know he would be in the right place at the right time to work on the prequels, not to mention ushering in a whole new era of Star Wars a decade and a half later.
ILM Employees Always Asked George Lucas If He’d Do More Star Wars
John Knoll also discussed how the Star Wars prequels came into existence, and it turns out that there were, at least, yearly inquisitions about George Lucas returning to the saga. During annual company meetings where Lucas would address all the employees, someone would inevitably ask about making new Star Wars movies, and he’d essentially shrug it off somewhat optimistically by saying, “Yeah, I don’t know, maybe someday.” That’s how it was for a few years while Knoll was at ILM. Then, one year, Lucas got the question and responded, “Mmmm, yeah, maybe.” And the rest is history.
George Lucas Created More Filmmaking Breakthroughs Than You Know
Jon Favreau prompts everyone in the roundtable discussion to recall some of the various breakthroughs in filmmaking technology that George Lucas is responsible for. Kathleen Kennedy kicks things off by revealing that she was astounded to learn there were at least 126 patents for new technology that George Lucas was responsible for.
Some of the Lucasfilm technology highlights discussed include the creation of the first fully computer generated character, a knight made of stained glass from Young Sherlock Holmes. There’s also EditDroid, which was the first computerized analog non-linear editing system, and it became part of the Avid editing brand. And don’t forget that Star Wars innovated motion-control cameras, which involved the creation of rigs that moved around the model ships to simulate movement instead of having the ships do the move in and out of the frame.
Taika Waititi’s Favorite Star Wars Line is in The Empire Strikes Back
The filmmakers behind the first season episodes of The Mandalorian (who are the focus of the first episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian) are also featured in this episode. During one of the segments, director Taika Waititi reveals that his favorite line from the entire Star Wars saga is in The Empire Strikes Back, after Yoda lifts Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing out of the swamps of Dagobah. Once he settles it on the ground, Luke says breathlessly, “I don’t believe it.” And Yoda matter-of-factly says “That is why you fail.” It’s a theme that goes far beyond Star Wars, not unlike the achievements of George Lucas himself.
Deborah Chow’s Scenes of Kuiil Training IG-11 Were Challenging
Director Deborah Chow was at the helm of two episodes of The Mandalorian. The first one she directed was “Chapter 3: The Sin,” but Chow found her second episode, “Chapter 7: The Reckoning” to be far more difficult to handle because of one particularly prominent sequence that couldn’t easily be replicated based on pre-existing media.
It’s in this episode that the ugnaught Kuiil reprograms IG-11 to protect The Child. But this requires re-teaching the droid everything he knows, right down to simply walking. Chow recognizes how Star Wars affords these unique scenarios where you have a dramatic scene involving an animatronic and special effects driven characters playing out lyrical and poetic scenes, to the point where it even references Michelangelo Buonarroti’s classic statue The Pietà. It seems kind of silly to have something like this be so carefully detailed and pored over, but it also shows how much depth there can be in Star Wars.
Dave Filoni Puts The Phantom Menace Lightsaber Battle in a New Light
The final lightsaber battle in The Phantom Menace is largely considered to be one of the best in the franchise. It’s two Jedi in their prime taking on the vicious and skilled Darth Maul with a double-bladed lightsaber. But Dave Filoni explains why this lightsaber battle is so much more important than being just an action sequence, and he captivates the entire roundtable with his explanation.
It’s much better when you hear Dave Filoni explain it in the episode, but the gist of this final lightsaber battle is that the fate of Anakin Skywalker hangs in the balance. If Qui-Gon Jinn doesn’t survive, then he won’t live to train Anakin, bringing much-needed care into the boy’s life, as well as a perspective that clearly differs from that of the Jedi Council. So when Qui-Gon dies, it’s a crushing blow to the fate of Anakin Skywalker, hence the title of the soundtrack piece “Duel of the Fates.” Instead, Anakin gets trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who ends up being more of a brother than the father figure that Anakin truly needed to guide him down the right path.
It’s these kind of observations that make fans love Dave Filoni and his perspective on Star Wars. That’s why many see him as being the one who can capture the spirit of the saga as George Lucas intended. That’s not necessarily what Star Wars always needs, but it’s not bad to have someone like that around when you’re trying to create something for the next generation to latch onto while still holding onto the important parts of the past.
We’ll be back next week with a recap of the third episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.
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