Pedro Pascal shares spotlight with more Mandalorians, Baby Yoda in Star Wars spin-off’s new season

Pedro Pascal (left) starring in The Mandalorian 3. PHOTO: LUCASFILM

LOS ANGELES – In the third season of Emmy-winning Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian (2019 to present), there will be not one Mandalorian, but many, as battle-worn bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) returns to his war-ravaged home planet of Mandalore.

The Chilean-American actor and American director-producer Rick Famuyiwa say this was an inevitable next step for the series, and that it feeds the ever-expanding universe and mythology of Star Wars films and shows.

Premiering on Disney+ on Wednesday, the third season shows Din being reunited with his adorable companion Grogu, the telekinetic toddler dubbed Baby Yoda by fans because he is of the same species as wise Jedi master Yoda from the Star Wars movies.

And for the first time in the franchise, there will be a live-action depiction of the Mandalorians’ home world.

Speaking at a fan and press event in Anaheim, California, Pascal is asked how it feels to share the spotlight with other Mandalorians.

“Din Djarin is not nervous about sharing the spotlight at all, but me… no, I’m just kidding,” jokes the 47-year-old star, who is also headlining hit post-apocalyptic drama The Last Of Us (2023).

“It’s great. And I think that it’s always been meant to be.”

Famuyiwa, who directs several episodes this season, notes that the Mandalorians – whose culture of warring clans gave rise to their fearsome reputation across the galaxy – have always “been a part of the world and much of the storytelling” in Star Wars.

“So it was just inevitable that it would grow and we would get to see a bigger slice of the culture, and we certainly do in Season Three.”

Pedro Pascal attending the Los Angeles premiere of HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama The Last Of Us, which he headlines, in January. PHOTO: AFP

This in turn continues the steady growth of the overarching Star Wars mythology, says the 49-year-old.

“I think it expands upon the idea of Mandalorians and their culture. And we have characters that have been introduced in The Mandalorian, like Ahsoka, who are now a part of the bigger storytelling going on in Star Wars,” he says, referring to the former Jedi, played by Rosario Dawson in Season Two, who is set to get her own limited series on Disney+.

But, Pascal says, no matter how many Mandalorians and other characters share the stage with Din, none of them can hold a candle to Grogu when it comes to stealing a scene.

Asked if the cast is ever irked by how massively popular Grogu is, he says: “It doesn’t annoy me at all.”

What is more, the animatronic puppet is “one of the best scene partners I’ve had”, he adds with a laugh.

It “doesn’t talk back”, for one thing. And, he says, “you know it helps with the popularity” of the show, which has won 14 Creative Arts Emmys for various technical achievements. “It gets the job done.”

Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda, in The Mandalorian 3. PHOTO: LUCASFILM

Even though this is the third season, there is still a special excitement to working on the show, says Pascal.

The Mandalorian – the first live-action series in the Star Wars universe – has been largely welcomed by fans and critics, its first two seasons also being nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys.

All that has meant being “on the receiving end of this energy of love and excitement”, Pascal says.

“And to be a part of this show, with creators who know how to give the love back, is pretty special. I’ve been in good hands, and a passenger to incredibly talented storytellers from the beginning.”

The Mandalorian 3 premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday.

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