Why would a star like Pedro Pascal say yes to a character who rarely gets to show his face and for the better part of the story is without a name as well? The simple, more obvious answer would be "because it is Star Wars, duh!" Well, while that would be partially true, Pascal had already played fan-favourite and still memorable characters on hit shows like Narcos and Game of Thrones! But still, he instantly agreed to be a faceless bounty hunter in The Mandalorian. Why? Well, according to Pascal it was a combined effect of Jon Favreau, The Child, and the profound significance behind Mando's masked face.
"I just knew what Jon Favreau was capable of. If he was going to get involved in Star Wars then it would be the best version of that. How could you not? Every wall in the writer's room was covered with these immaculate colourful illustrations of the entire first season. When you got to the end of the first episode you meet The Child. It disarmed me so completely. If it brought the effect of that on a mass scale, 'Oh yeah! Bullseye.'"
It was indeed a "Bullseye" as the world was enamoured by the Child or as we now know, Baby Grogu. But what made The Mandalorian such an instant hit was Mando's chemistry with him and how he was ready to bend (and even completely discard) his strict rules for him. While Season 1 ended with a stubborn Mandalorian who is ready to die rather than remove his helmet, Season 2 saw Mando reveal his face not once but twice, starting with Episode 7, "The Believer."
In the episode, we saw the bounty hunter forced to remove his helmet when he faces an Imperial terminal which would reveal Moff Gideon's location only when it gets to scan the face of the user. Call it Pascal's impeccable acting skills or the impressive direction by Rick Famuyiwa, but Mando's hesitation and on how vulnerable he felt was palpable much before he even took off his helmet.
"The entire idea of getting to inhabit somebody who, since they were a child, no human has seen their face," said Pedro Pascal, "it was almost impossible to imagine the level of nakedness and exposure, the overwhelming paralysis. It can't happen, but it's a mission and the child has to be saved. It was a super-exciting dance of profound, incredible restraint and total exposure. I can count on my one hand the lines the character had. On the other hand, he's desperately trying to hide in a room without a mask with his face exposed. It was cool and it was strange."
The next time we see Mando discarding his helmet is in the heartbreaking season finale scene where he says goodbye to Grogu who touches his face. That one scene, packed with such profound meaning, single-handedly moved the world to tears.
"At that point, I knew what it would mean for everyone to experience that kind of threshold between the character [Mando] and the child. We follow this story for two seasons; there's this bond that grows between the two of them. He tries to not let himself soften, but he cannot help himself. This practical story logic brought something else about that moment, what it would mean to touch his face."
Now that Grogu is gone with Luke Skywalker, there is no one left for whom Mando would change his rules. But Pascal has assured that no matter how rigid Mando is about his Mandalorian code and says "this is the way, that doesn't mean this is the only way." "I find it fascinating playing with that. We don't know what he ends up being. He took his helmet off in a room full of people," he added, hinting that there will be more moments of Mando taking off his helmet in the future. Yay!
Well, hopefully, we won't have to wait a long time before we get to see Mando go from his stoic "this is the way" to drafting his own "way." While Jon Favreau has confirmed that The Mandalorian Season 3 will go into production only when they are done filming The Book of Boba Fett, just like Ahsoka Tano appeared in the second season, who is to say that Mando won't drop in to visit Boba...correction the new crime lord on the planet Tatooine? Fingers crossed! The news comes to us via Indiewire.