Ever since the hit Disney+ live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian premiered in the fall of 2019, viewers have been treated to glimpses of the gorgeous concept art that helped bring the series to life, which play in sequence over the end credits of each episode. And as a huge fan of both the show and Star Wars in general, I’ve been patiently waiting for that art (and more) to make its way into a nice hardcover coffee-table book collection, which knowing the history of Lucasfilm Publishing, was bound to come along eventually.
Enter The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian, which finally became available this week after being announced over the summer. Right off the bat, it’s an incredible-looking volume, with striking cover art by now-legendary Lucasfilm executive creative director Doug Chiang, who also writes the incisive foreword for the book. The remainder of the informative text is written by another Lucasfilm mainstay, Phil Szostak, who also penned The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and similar follow-ups for the other entries in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Alongside Szostak’s prose and the included art, which is bountiful and all worthy of poring over for hours on end, the author has hand-picked a considerable selection of explanatory quotations from members of the creative team responsible for delivering The Mandalorian to millions of homes around the world. The above-mentioned Chiang is heavily represented among these remembrances, as is producer/writer/director Dave Filoni and other contributing artists like concept designer Brian Matyas and art director Christian Alzmann. Even series creator Jon Favreau pops up with little insights here and there, but this tome is really about celebrating the visual craftspeople who make The Mandalorian so aesthetically eye-catching. Between the images there are quite a few undeniably fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits that I hadn’t heard before (even on the terrific, thorough making-of documentary series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian), though the main attraction here is still the art itself, which made my jaw drop further and further with each successive turn of the pages.
The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian begins with a brief history of the series’ development at Lucasfilm, and I was enthralled to know more about how Favreau and Filoni first met, the encouragement company president Kathleen Kennedy gave them in developing the idea for this show together, and the accelerated process by which the actual content was generated in time for the launch of Disney+ in November of last year. But like I said, while indispensable as a read-along guide, that information immediately takes a backseat to the stunning artwork, some of which is presented in two-page spreads that would be suitable for framing if not for the crease in the middle. It turns out the holiday season is the perfect time to have released this book (plus the fact that we’re midway through The Mandalorian’s fantastic second season), because every Star Wars fan– not to mention anyone interested in how cinematic television series like this are created from the ground up from an artistic standpoint– is going to want to find it under their Life Day tree this year. This is a must-own item for devotees of the show and I’m thrilled to have it on my shelf, but I’m equally excited to have spotted the Roman numeral “I” subtly printed on the dustjacket’s spine, which means there will be more like this on the way in years to come.
The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian is available now wherever books are sold.
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.