The most recent episode of the second season of The Mandalorian was one of the shortest we’ve seen so far. Clocking in around 32 minutes (including credits), the ominously titled “The Tragedy” was a breezy episode, but there was still a lot that happened.
Temuera Morrison returned as Boba Fett, Ming-Na Wen came back as Fennec Shand, the Razor Crest was destroyed, and Grogu was taken by Dark Troopers to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). But even with all that happening, the script was even shorter.
Director Robert Rodriguez, who helmed the episode, has been making the publicity rounds for his upcoming superhero movie We Can Be Heroes, coming to Netflix on New Year’s Day. During a couple interviews, Rodriguez revealed that he had to beef up a short 19-page script for “The Tragedy” with plenty of action. But perhaps more surprisingly, the filmmaker was also a last minute replacement to direct the episode.
Speaking with Collider, Rodriguez explained that Jon Favreau entrusted him to beef up a 19-page script with a lot of action. The director said:
“The script was much shorter than the episode. The script was, like, 19 pages so that suggests 19 minutes. I added a lot of action to this [episode]. I even asked Jon [Favreau], I said, ‘Is it okay that my script is only 19 pages? Because I cut really fast and it’s probably going to end up being 16 minutes. Do we need to add more pages?’ And he goes, ‘No, that’s what you’re here for! You need to fill that out.’ I said, ‘Oh, okay, I’ll try and make that battle longer.’ So that’s where that extra battle came from.”
Rodriguez is one of the most economical filmmakers working today. Not only does he shoot efficiently, but as he explained in the interview, “If I have a 100-page script, it’s a 90-minute movie. So I had a 19-page script [and] I thought, ‘Whoa! I’m gonna run out of things to do, so I added a lot of action.”
This resulted in some solid action sequences and shootouts between Mando, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, and several units of Stormtroopers. But it was Boba Fett who Rodriguez really wanted to make shine. The director added:
“To go play in Star Wars with all the toys and to get to play with Boba Fett as one of your main [characters] — I just thought, ‘I gotta go in there and just have him be… I don’t know if he’s going to show up in any more episodes or what, so I just gotta make him super badass in this moment [and] be that character that I imagined him being when I heard about him when I was 12. That was my mission, just to go satisfy that 12-year-old fascination with the character.”
It was certainly something that longtime Star Wars fans appreciated, especially since all the Star Wars Legends that dug more into the bounty hunter’s history are no longer canon. But now there’s a chance for the character to have his story told all over again, but with a different approach.
However, there was almost a completely different director handling the return of Boba Fett. Speaking with SFX (via GamesRadar), Rodriguez revealed that he was replacing another director at the last minute. The director explained:
“I’m friends with Jon Favreau and he needed a last-minute replacement for a director. And so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll come play in the Star Wars universe!’ What a dream. And it’s fulfilled all my… it’s beyond my expectations, I mean, it was SO fun, you can’t imagine what it’s like to walk on a set that has the classic look of The Empire Strikes Back feel and look. It’s right after that era, right after the Return of the Jedi. It’s that era. So you really feel like you just walked into your childhood.”
Now we’re wondering who was originally slated to direct this episode. For the most part, Lucasfilm and Disney have opted to go with up and coming filmmakers who don’t have much blockbuster experience but have aspired to taking on big projects, such as Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and cast member Carl Weathers, not to mention letting Star Wars animation veteran Dave Filoni make his live-action debut. But they’ve also had experienced blockbuster filmmakers like Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), and Peyton Reed (Ant-Man) tackle episodes. So it’s anybody’s guess as to who was supposed to be at the helm.
One possibility could be Kevin Smith, because the episode in question was shot by Dave Klein, director of photography on Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Clerks II, Cop Out, and Red State. He even worked with Kevin Smith on the pilot for The CW series Reaper from 2007. But if Kevin Smith had to pass up this opportunity for whatever reason, we doubt that he would be able to keep quiet about it at this point and would be expressing his disappointment at every turn.
Is it possible that Leslye Headland might have been given a chance to tackle the episode in preparation for her own Star Wars series? Maybe, but giving a 19-page script to a filmmaker who hasn’t tackled any blockbuster action feels unwise. Then again, the documentary series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian revealed that Bryce Dallas Howard was given one of the harder episodes to direct for that exact reason, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Hopefully we’ll find out more about this when the second season of The Mandalorian documentary series begins the week after the season finale.
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