In a very exciting bit of exclusive news, we can confirm Extraction director Sam Hargrave‘s involvement on the Disney+ Star Wars original series The Mandalorian Season 2 as second unit director. Hargrave confirmed his Mandalorian role during Collider’s exclusive chat with him about his Chris Hemsworth-fronted Netflix actioner, which became one of Netflix’s most-watched films and has already spawned development of a sequel. Now that we can finally share this news with you, we fully intend to tell all of the details Hargrave shared with us.
Hargrave was quite candid in his comments about The Mandalorian and his role as a second unit director tasked with putting his knowledge on crafting superlative action sequences to good use for the show. But before we could get into the finer points of Hargrave’s involvement, we had to know: How did this opportunity come about?
“They actually came to me,” Hargrave revealed. “It’s crazy. I was in the middle of post [-production on Extraction] and I’m editing my movie and I got a call from my buddy Colin Wilson, one of the line producers, who said, ‘Jon [Favreau] and the people over here are looking for someone to bring into the team or add to the family who has experience with action.’ The team that was there did a great job in the first season and it was just all fun. But they wanted to build on that and bring a new perspective and take it to another level for the next season. So, I was like, ‘That sounds like a fun challenge.'”
Hargrave continued, “I like the people over there — Favreau’s great — so I went over and it was a really fascinating adventure. They have a crazy way of shooting. Some of the stuff is traditionally shot, with the live-action and blue screen on the backlot, but they’ve also got this technology called ‘The Volume’ where it’s just, like, the inside of a live game engine. It’s quite insane what technology nowadays is available to filmmakers. It was really eye-opening, the potential of this technology that Jon and they guys had been working on. It was a really fun learning experience.”
From there, we dug a bit deeper with Hargrave. As previously mentioned, Hargrave is no newb when it comes to directing action. If you haven’t seen Extraction (uh, why haven’t you seen it?), then you’ve likely come in contact with Hargrave’s work as either a second unit director or stuntman on epic action pics like Atomic Blonde, Suicide Squad, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame. With all of this in mind, while also acknowledging the action on The Mandalorian Season 1 is pretty incredible, did Hargrave feel confident he could raise the bar on the action for Season 2?
“I am confident. The difference is, with Extraction, I’m in the editing room so I can be extremely confident [the action] is going to be what it’s going to be. I’m not editing these episodes. […] But I know the footage we delivered, as a second-unit, they seemed to be happy with. We worked closely with the stunt team there, with Bryan Watson and the team that had done the first season; they did a really great job. You know, it was just to bring a little extra perspective, add a few things, things I’ve learned while working on superhero movies, little tricks which make the performances easier and using visual effects to enhance certain things. Just bringing a little bit of experience and knowledge to where we could take it to another level and up the ante. The next season is really, really cool. The way the story arcs is really cool. So we tried to have the action represent that and take it to the next level. I think we did that.”
Okay, so confidence is clearly not an issue. When we do see the action in The Mandalorian 2, we can expect this action to help amplify the cool new story arcs — and we’ll know Hargrave has put his stamp on it. But, when it comes to raising that bar, were Hargrave’s plans or vision for how the action would play out affected by the actor wearing the Mandalorian’s mask (because it’s not always series star Pedro Pascal)? Does that fact that it’s a variety of actors doing the work, as Mando, to bring this action to life pose any problems.
“It’s kind of a dream come true,” Hargrave told us. “There’s certain characters like, well, in one of [the Captain America movies] we put Captain America in the helmet and off you go. Or, with Iron Man, a lot of the times he’s CG but, like the Mandalorian, you put the helmet on and you just get the best people for the job and now the character can do whatever you can imagine him to do because it’s a stunt performer who’s trained his entire like to do these amazing things.”
Hargrave continued, sharing some key insights about why it’s important to stay true to the Mandalorian’s nature and established behavior in action scenes, and why it helps add some depth to the character overall.
“With that being said, the balance you have to find and the truth you have to adhere to is the character you’ve developed. So, if you have a character and for this guy — who’s more of a gunslinger, a bit more of a brawler — it would be out of character for him to come into a scene and throw out a round-off, backwards double flip and do a crazy kick just because you can, or because he has a helmet on. You have to remember to stay true to the character. So yes, you can put whoever you want in there, but you have to make sure that you reign in the excitement and make sure you’re true to the character and the story.”
The Mandalorian Season 2 is set for release in October. You can watch all of Season 1 on Disney+ right now.