‘Mandalorian’ star Pedro Pascal, creators on new Grogu revelations and ‘Last of Us’ comparisons

Pedro Pascal op The Mandalorian. (Photo: Disney+)

Pedro Pascal admits that everyone’s expectations have been exceeded when it comes to the success so far The Mandalorianwildly popular Star Wars spin-off that spawned “Baby Yoda” – in turn drawing hordes of subscribers to what was just a little kid of a streaming service in 2019, Disney+.

“But it’s not really a surprise either,” Pascal tells us this week at a press conference in Los Angeles, where he was joined by the co-creators of the show he credits. “Because it was so clear to me that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni knew what they were doing and put their whole heart into it. Just like the hundreds of crew members, cast members and everyone behind the show. So that level of dedication is exactly why people have such a great show to watch.

After two stellar seasons – including a stunner of a season 2 finale culminating in an appearance from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) – and some co-opting from the recent sibling series Boba Fett’s book, The Mandalorian‘s third run arrived with momentum in hyperdrive on Wednesday.

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 14: (L-R) Writer/Executive Producer Jon Favreau, Director/Executive Producer Dave Filoni and Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) onstage during

Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Pedro Pascal on stage during The Mandalorian panel on the Star Wars Celebration at the McCormick Place Convention Center on April 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois (Photo: Daniel Boczarski/WireImage for Disney)

The question now becomes how this season, which follows Pascal’s Grogu-protecting rule-breaking bounty hunter Din Djarin back to his home planet of Mandalore for some Outer Rim damage control, will continue to ride that wave?

“It [began] like this lone shooter on the road,” says Filoni. “And now Mando’s own world has gotten bigger because he cares so much about this little kid. And along the way he made more and more friends. His world was not like this when he started the series. He was alone. And it affects his whole life. And so I think there’s a lesson in that as he opened up to this kid, as he opened up to so many allies and the world around it.

Fans are dying to know how much Filoni, Favreau and company are going to tell about that kid. In Season 1, we were introduced to – and instantly fell in love with – the aggressively cute creature immediately (if unofficially) named Baby Yoda. And later, like Yoda, The Force is strong with him. In Season 2, we learned his real name, Grogu. But the devilishly clad character still largely remains a mystery.

(L-R): The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, Season Three, exclusively on Disney+.  ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd.  & TM.  All rights reserved.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian Sseason 3. (Photo: ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved)

Will we ever find out if he’s related to Yoda? And what is their species called? Will there be any major revelations about him in Season 3?

“I think like [Din] learn more, we learn more,” says Favreau. “Just like we did with the main character of The Mandalorian, we showed little flashback clips as he sat next to the armor guided by a reverie of memories of his early childhood and what he encountered and how he became part of the Mandalorians . . I think there’s an echo, a harmony, with Baby Yoda’s past. Grogu also had a very rough beginning and saw things that scared him so much that he doesn’t remember things as clearly anymore. And so when he starts to learn, we learn with him what he has been through.”

What Pascal is going through right now is what you would call “a moment.”

Between The Mandalorian recurring and HBO’s new hit dystopian video game adaptation The last of us, the 47-year-old Chilean-born actor now headlines arguably the two most popular shows on television. (He’d rather you didn’t say he “owns” them.) He also hosted the funniest episode of Saturday Night Live so far this season.

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in 'The Last of Us' (HBO)

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in The last of us. (Photo: HBO)

The comparisons between Mandalorian And The last of us (in which Joel from Pascal brings another surrogate child, Ellie from Bella Ramsey, to safety). ubiquitous on social media.

“He has become the definitive father figure in dystopia [stories]”, laughs Favreau. “Warrior Father.”

Pascal says: “The trope of protector and protected, father and child, parent and child, is not new to any of us. So I think both shows come from other sources in the nicest way and then add their own originality to them. It’s so often that I see so much Ridley Scott in a lot of what Jon and Dave do The Mandalorian. And I can see that Neil Druckmann’s game that was released in 2013 took so much inspiration from things after that. So it’s just this interesting synchronicity and influence that I didn’t even realize I was under.”

But does it feel like he’s cheating on Grogu now?

“I feel like if Grogu and Ellie met, they would abandon me,” he cracks. “And be like, ‘Bye, besties.'”

The Mandalorian Season 3 is now streaming on Disney+.

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