Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni reveal the creative process behind ‘The Mandalorian’

Disney / Lucasfilm

The duo behind The Mandalorian reveals their creative process in the book The Art of The Mandalorian: Season 2.

As reported by The Direct, executive producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau opened up about the history of their collaboration; Filoni, creator of Star Wars: Clone Wars, was hard at work on the animated series while Favreau was in production on Iron Man in 2008. Through the ensuing years, the two shared their work with one another, and formed a friendship. Then when Favreau landed the showrunner gig for the first live-action Star Wars series, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy put the two together, and a magic partnership was created.

Favreau emphasized the crucial role of the design team in the writing process of The Mandalorian. “I’ve leaned on the art department since the beginning [of the series].” said Favreau. “As I would write, I would show Dave. Dave would sketch, and then we’d start sending Dave’s sketches over to Doug. [The art department] would start doing fully formed versions of [those sketches], and that would get me writing more.”

Filoni emerged from his two previous animated series, Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, already adept at character sketches, and steeped in extensive knowledge of the Star Wars universe. As a result, Favreau respects Filoni’s opinion so much that he’s given him veto power over his scripts. In return, Favreau offers Filoni his directorial wisdom.

Said Favreau, “Sometimes I would even say to Doug, ‘Hey, I haven’t written this yet, but I’m thinking of a location like this, and this is what’s going to happen there,’ and then let the drawing inspire the scene. They make it more exciting for me to write it. Or I’ll get ideas from the visuals that I’ll use in the script.”

This method is similar to George Lucas‘ approach to the Star Wars movies, wherein the art direction and design elements influence the story, and the writing changes to suit new details.

For the episodes Filoni directs, he usually handles the writing responsibilities as well, a development which surprised him. “It was pretty astonishing, I’ve got to say,” shared Filoni. “Jon let me go in there and write this episode about the Child, which includes his backstory. He told me the kid’s name, because he named him. Jon knows that I’m very protective of Ahsoka and her history and what she’s about.”

In this aforementioned episode, it was Favreau who offered his analysis on the narrative, and Filoni appreciated his contributions. Explained Filoni, “We went through a couple rounds where I’d write a bunch and then he’d look at it and give me his take – that perspective becomes really valuable for me to then communicate this character that maybe the larger audience doesn’t know but the fans do. And get at the root of what makes her special.”

More recently, in The Book of Boba Fett, this dynamic was repeated for the episode, “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger.” The episode, which was written and directed by Filoni, notably saw the live-action debut of famed Clone Wars bounty hunter Cad Bane.

The Mandalorian is available to stream on Disney Plus.