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How Taika Waititi Stuck to ‘Star Wars’ Tone for ‘The Mandalorian': ‘Can’t Put Too Many Jokes In’

TCA 2019: ”It’s what the fans like. You can’t really disrespect it,“ the director said

Taika Waititi, known for his irreverent style with films “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and “What We Do in the Shadows,” was able to get some of that tone into his episode of “The Mandalorian,” the upcoming “Star Wars” TV show for Disney+.

But not too much. Although he was able to fully imbibe his eccentricities into Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok,” Waititi argued that LucasFilm was not as flexible.

“The ‘Star Wars’ universe is very different to the Marvel style,” Waititi said Monday during the Television Critics Association press tour. “They know that whatever was set up — the tone of the first films — really should be adhered to. It’s what the fans like. You can’t really disrespect it. Can’t put too many jokes in.”

But he added: “Definitely, my tone is in there.”

“The Mandalorian,” which is being helmed by Jon Favreau, is set in the time period between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens,” following a Boba Fett-like character described as “a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic…” In “Star Wars” lore, Mandalorians made the iconic armor that bounty hunter Boba Fett and his “father” Jango Fett wore in the films. Boba was technically an unaltered clone of Jango.

Pedro Pascal will play the lead character, and the rest of the cast includes Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte and Gina Carano. Along with Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa and Deborah Chow will direct episodes of the series, with Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Star Wars Rebels”) helming the first.

“Favreau is a genius and so smart and so good at what he does,” Waititi continued. “It’s fun doing something in the ‘Star Wars universe. It’s strangest to see a stormtrooper, and then you’re doing these scenes with 50 or 60 of them, it’s amazing.”