By now, we're sure you've had the chance to check out Disney+ and Jon Favreau's first live-action Star Wars television series, The Mandalorian (check out our reviews of the first three episodes here, here and here).
Look, it's not that we don't have an appreciation for the cuteness and high-meme-factor of "Baby Yoda" – we would be heartless monsters not to. But for us, the biggest standout so far is Gina Carano (Deadpool) as Rebel Alliance-siding and all-around badass mercenary Cara Dune. Now in the interest of full disclosure, we've been Carano fans since her MMA days and her attention-grabbing turn in "The Merc with a Mouth's" big screen debut.
On Saturday, we learned who Carano is a big fan of: Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, The Help), who stepped behind the camera to direct Carano in most-recent episode "Chapter 4: Sanctuary".
Hailing her as a "passionate director who takes care of her actors and the story", Carano took to social media to praise Howard for the educational working environment she created and for being a "badass, real life super woman":
We're still left wondering if series star Pedro Pascal was supposed to reveal his character's name – but that's what he did in the following press video made available before the series' premiere – beginning at the 2:30 mark.
Is it just us, or does he say his character's name is "Dinn J'Aryn" or "Dyn Jarren" (don't kill me on the spelling)?
Viewers were given a first-look at Ming-Na Wen's (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) brutal assassin Fennec Shand. Thanks to the fine folks at Vanity Fair and a great profile they presented on Wen and the series, fans were given the preivew via an official image (both below). Wen also gave fans clues as to what to expect from Shand and as well as what it's like to work in the Star Wars universe (and make sure to check out the full article here):
● On the "animalistic" nature of the name:
"We got our inspiration really from the name. The idea of a fennec fox came to mind. She's tricky, and yet she's able to maneuver and survive, and be stealthy—so very graceful and agile. I just love that whole image with the name."
● Like any self-respecting assassin, Shand has a backstory to tell… just don't think you're getting it any time soon:
"It will evolve, it will change. I mean, I think that's what's so wonderful about creating a new character. I think she has a good sense of humor about it all as well, which is also fun. You can't really pinpoint which direction she's going to go."
● Wen's connection to the Star Wars universe goes back years and was very personal to her:
"It's definitely a film that has had such an impact in so many people's lives, including my own. As an Asian kid in Pittsburgh, and especially in Mount Lebanon, sometimes you feel very alone and very isolated. And I think for me, with Star Wars, I connected so much with Luke having these dreams and wanting something bigger and better than being a little farmer in Tatooine. Just that image of him looking at the binary suns and wishing for more, it always stays with me."
● Wen also had a major influence on Shand's final look:
"At first, the idea was maybe just have her hair be loose, unkempt kind of thing. And I thought, Well, she's going to be wearing a helmet and she's this stealth assassin. How great would it be if her hair has a bit of the fennec fox architecture to it? So the hairstylist came up with this great braiding system, that just gives an idea of these triangular points. Like her ears."
With that look comes some promised major fire power:
"She has quite a few weapons because she's a very skilled fighter. Just her body is a weapon in and of itself. And she does carry…a big, big gun. A big boy."
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. "The Mandalorian" is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
"The Mandalorian" season 1, episode 1 "Chapter 1": A Mandalorian bounty hunter tracks a target for a well-paying client. Directed by Dave Filoni and written by Jon Favreau.
"The Mandalorian" season 1, episode 2 "Chapter 2": Target in-hand, The Mandalorian must now contend with scavengers. Directed by Rick Famuyiwa and written by Jon Favreau.
"The Mandalorian" season 1, episode 3 "Chapter 3": The battered Mandalorian returns to his client for reward. Directed by Deborah Chow and written by Jon Favreau.
Here's a look at the recently-released character profile key art for the series:
Set between the events in Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the drama from showrunner Favreau (The Lion King) and Dave Filoni (The Clone Wars) takes place after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order and follows a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Ming-Na Wen, Carl Weathers, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, Taika Waititi, Bill Burr, and Mark Boone Jr. star.