Pedro Pascal might be the most selfless star in the Star Wars Universe.
Not only does the actor do the lion’s share of his work headlining the Disney+ hit The Mandalorian behind a helmet and full Beskar suit of armor, he also shares much of the spotlight with Grogu, aka The Bounty aka The Child aka Baby Yoda — his aggressively cute, Force-powered sidekick that helped make the show an instant hit upon its 2019 debut.
And there’s not an ouch of animosity from Pascal’s corner that Grogu has continued to steal so much attention though the series’ first two seasons.
“I don’t get tired of it, actually,” Pascal told us this weekend at Star Wars Celebration, where he appeared with several co-stars as well as executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to screen a teaser trailer and announce the show’s third season would premiere in February 2023.
“I think it helps a lot. I would say that I certainly do not feel a lack of love for Mando. And I think, if anything, it’s probably enhanced by the relationship that we have and the love that we all have for Grogu.”
Indeed, Pascal still gets plenty of love for playing Din Djarin, the bounty hunter who veers dramatically off course when a mission to deliver The Child into malicious hands instead leads him to becoming Grogu’s fatherly protector. The crowd erupted when Pasacal was introduced during Saturday’s “Mando+” panel at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The Chilean-born actor credits Favreau and Filoni for their foresight in knowing Baby Yoda would be such a sensation.
“It was the ace in the hole that they had for the first season and it continues to hold us,” Pascal says. “I think ultimately, Jon and Dave so know what they’re doing because their hearts lead the way, as far as their love for Star Wars. So no, no, you can’t take Grogu away from me.”
Favreau and Filoni’s effects team crafted an animatronic Grogu puppet to interact with the actors on set, but the producer initially considered replacing the physical version with smoother CGI — “in case they decided during postproduction that the puppet wasn’t convincing enough and a digital version had to be substituted.” That prompted Werner Herzog, the German filmmaker who starred in the first season as the The Client who hires Mando to track down Grogu, to call out Favreau: “You are cowards. Leave it.” Ultimately the puppet stayed and a Star Wars star was born.
As Filoni says, “The whole reason to do this story is [to focus on the interplay] between Mando and Grogu. That’s the backbone. ... Without that heart you wouldn’t have anything.”
Pascal’s MandoVerse mates share his sentiment when it comes to working with their cuddly co-star.
“There is no resisting that urge [to hug him on set],” says Rosario Dawson, whose live-action Ahsoka Tanu (originally introduced in animated form in the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars) debuted in The Mandalorian’s second season and will headline her own Ahsoka spin-off in 2023.
“He’s just so tiny. Even when you realize how small he is. You’re still really shocked by how tiny he is. But he feels so big and so powerful.”
Screen legend Carl Weathers, back as bounty hunter boss Greef Karga, says he fights to get as much screen time as possible with Grogu. “You know why? [If] you’re watching Grogu ... you're going to be watching me.”
Watch our full interview above with MandoVerse stars Pascal, Dawson, Favreau, Filoni, Weathers and newcomer Natasha Liu Bordizzo (who will play the fan-favorite animated character Sabine Wren in Ahsoka).
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