What We Learned from “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” – Episode 1: “Directing”

In addition to dozens of fun online fan events and merchandise mania, this year’s Star Wars Day also brought us the very first episode of the new Disney+ documentary series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, which invites viewers behind the scenes of the smash hit live-action Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian.

The first episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian focused exclusively on the five directors and one showrunner who worked together to bring the series to the small screen so successfully. In the interest of recapping this fascinating peek at the making of such a huge phenomenon, I’ve gone through and picked out the most interesting tidbits of information from this initial installment, and over the next eight weeks we’ll be following up with more fun facts each successive episode.

  • Loving Star Wars was a prerequisite coming aboard as a director for The Mandalorian, according to creator and showrunner Jon Favreau.
  • Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi all brought their own unique visions and levels of experience to the show.
  • Favreau wanted to assemble a Dirty Dozen type of crew to tell this story, with the personalities of each of the filmmakers accentuating the world of Star Wars.
  • Dave Filoni considered Jon Favreau a mentor for directing live-action. He started out drawing storyboards in 2D animation for King of the Hill and Avatar: The Last Airbender, in addition to the Disney cartoons Teamo Supremo, Kim Possible, and Fillmore!
  • When he got the call to work for Lucasfilm Animation he thought it was a practical joke.

  • Deborah Chow works very efficiently on set and loved killing stormtroopers. She previously directed episodes of Mr. Robot, American Gods, and Better Call Saul.
  • She thinks the most important thing about directing is to allow life, reality, and on-set improvisation to organically enter into every scene.
  • Star Wars was the first film Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) saw in the theater. He loves making stories about misfits, so enjoyed working with the Jawas.
  • He hadn’t done much television before, but in addition to directing episodes 2 and 6, he also co-wrote episode 6, “The Prisoner.” He appreciated the freedom the filmmakers were given in each of their chapters.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard (actress in Jurassic World) had dinner with George Lucas, legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and her father Ron Howard when she was just five years old. She also really admired the technical accomplishments of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.
  • This was her first job as a long-form narrative director, and Favreau says he intentionally gave her a difficult episode so she wouldn’t know how hard it really was. Coming to the show having had experience as an actor in big-budget visual-effects movies, she focused on helping the cast with their performances.

  • Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) didn’t start directing until he was around 30. Prior to that, he participated in New Zealand’s stand-up comedy, theater, and art worlds. On What We Do in the Shadows, he and co-director Jemaine Clement used Weta Workshop’s leftover props from the Lord of the Rings trilogies.
  • He and Jon Favreau make a point to differentiate between finding the humor in the action and making fun of the action, the latter being something they don’t want to do. Favreau and Filoni were on set to help him and the other directors from “veering out of the lane too far.”
  • Dave Filoni considered production of The Mandalorian to be like a “Star Wars School.”
  • Jon Favreau likes hiring people who are smart and creatively brave. He says that’s the one unifying thing all of these directors have in common.

Up next: “Legacy”

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.