Disney hasn’t even released a trailer for the live-action Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian yet, but work is already underway on a second season. The show was created by Jon Favreau and is intended to be an anchor for Disney’s streaming service Disney+ when it launches this fall, as The Mandalorian takes place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
But ahead of the launch this fall, Favreau says he’s already writing The Mandalorian Season 2. Speaking with Collider’s own Steve Weintraub at the press day for The Lion King, the filmmaker talked about how he wrote scripts for the first season of the series on spec and is currently in the midst of writing Season 2:
“I keep getting pulled deeper into the orbit of Disney, but fortunately the stuff that Disney’s working on is the stuff that I love. I wanted to do a Star Wars TV show like The Mandalorian and pitched it to them and they were very open to it. I even wrote four episodes before I even was hired to do it because I was excited as a fan to see what these stories might be and see if they were interested in doing what I was interested in, which they were. And I was actually writing Season 2 this morning before I came here.”
But not only is Favreau already writing The Mandalorian Season 2, he’s actually in pre-production on the second season. Now, the series isn’t made like your typical TV show—Favreau and his team are using VR technology similar to how they made The Lion King in order to map out precisely how the live-action pieces of The Mandalorian are shot, and to be able to render visual effects in real time.
The director explained this unique process:
“In The Mandalorian because we’re doing live-action production, we’re using the Epic game engine and using that to do real-time in-camera visual effects. So if you visited the set for The Mandalorian you would’ve seen a completely video-wall wrapped stage and we were in there filming the characters in the foreground, and oftentimes either blue screen or full digital versions of set extensions in the background with Parallax, because the positional data of the camera was informing the backgrounds, so it was like a translight that had perspective. So that allowed us to have environments—as long as we could build them digitally and put enough work into planning it, we could have the game engine be used for creating effects in a timeframe that allows us to get a TV season done.”
But, as Favreau explains, in order to do this he and his team have to map things out beforehand in pre-production. Which is where they are in The Mandalorian Season 2 right now:
“But all of that requires us to use the same v-cam techniques in pre-production on The Mandalorian so that we know exactly what we need to see. So if you visited the set now as we’re starting to get into Season 2, it looks a lot like the set of The Lion King as we’re planning how we’re gonna shoot it ahead of time.”
All of this to say, while the actors are not yet on set for The Mandalorian Season 2, and while the scripts aren’t yet complete, pre-production is already underway so that the visual effects needed for the TV show can be completed on a TV schedule timeframe.
It’s a wholly unique way of making television, and indeed two of the major barriers preventing George Lucas from making his own live-action Star Wars series in the past were time and money. Now that Favreau has streamlined the visual effects process using VR technology, a show like The Mandalorian is able to be made on a TV schedule.
As for Season 2, it’s no surprise that Disney is already getting work underway on a second season of the TV show, and the fact that Favreau got the go-ahead to begin writing and pre-shooting the next season must mean the folks at Disney and Lucasfilm are happy with the way Season 1 turned out. So when The Mandalorian premieres on Disney+ on November 12th, rest assured there’s plenty more where that came from.
Look for our full interview with Favreau on Collider soon.