For Star Wars fans, The Mandalorian is an exciting spin-off series that brings the adventure, fantasy, and unique humor of the original films, along with a few new characters. Whether you’re a super fan or not, you have to admit — Baby Yoda is one adorable little alien.
The Mandalorian is set just five years after Return of the Jedi, and follows an emotionally distant "Mandalorian," a masked, planet-hopping bounty hunter. When he ‘ commissioned to deliver the teensy tiny, helpless, super cute Child, or Baby Yoda as the creature is fondly known, his paternal instincts get the better of him and he snatches the Child away to safety. Along his journey towards safety for Baby Yoda, the Mandalorian encounters all sorts of colorful characters who whisk him away into a series of action-packed side missions (via The Guardian).
As with most Star Wars movies and shows, The Mandalorian‘s cast of characters are usually decked up in wild makeup, prosthetics, and costumes. After all, some of them are technically aliens! But it turns out, some of the show’s cast are actually quite stunning off-screen.
The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal was one of People’s "Sexiest Men Alive"
One of the strangest and most intriguing aspects of The Mandalorian is that we almost never see the face of the main character. The Mandalorian code dictates that Mandalorians never reveal their faces in public — this means our hero spends his time stomping around wearing a huge helmet.
However, if you’ve seen the rare episodes where we get to glimpse the Mandalorian’s face, you’ll know that the actor, Pedro Pascal, isn’t exactly hard on the eyes. In fact, it turns out Pascal was actually named as one of People‘s "Sexiest Men Alive" in 2020. What a shame he spends most of this show hidden under a helmet!
The helmet likely isn’t going anywhere, so we’ll just have to imagine him somewhere underneath. As the actor told The One Show, rumors that he hoped to get rid of the helmet in future seasons weren’t legit. "It’s a really wonderful way of telling the story, it’s always been a very clear creed for the character." he explained. "What I want is for them to make the best show possible however they get that done."
Gina Carano learned self-acceptance from The Mandalorian
Gina Carano plays Cara Dune in The Mandalorian, an ex-rebel who befriends the Mandalorian and helps him on journey. The actress doesn’t have too many credits; most of her work has been in action films, such as Fast & Furious 6, Deadpool, and Heist (via IMDb). However, the real reason Carano doesn’t have many film credits is that she actually made a name for herself as an MMA boxer. She then got into the film industry when Stephen Soderberg cast her in an action film, as she told Entertainment Tonight.
Carano was going through a tough time before landing her career-defining role in The Mandalorian. "There was a point in my life where it was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to be in movies anymore…I don’t know if I’m good enough for them,’" she told Refinery29. Apparently, her worries came from the fact that she doesn’t "wear a sample size." With Cara Dune, however, Carano learned to embrace her body and take pride in it. "It’s just meant the world to me because, really, beauty doesn’t just come from what we think of all the time as beauty, it comes from the inside."
The Mandalorian’s Giancarlo Esposito is one of TV’s greatest villains
Giancarlo Esposito was introduced into The Mandalorian at the end of season 1 as Moff Gideon, the main villain of the series set on kidnapping Baby Yoda for some scientific experiments. Moff is hardly the actor’s first experience of playing a villain — in fact, Esposito has practically made a career out of freaking us out with his disarming, treacherous, on-screen villains.
In Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Esposito played the terrifying Gus Fring. He also played less-than-savory characters in Far Cry 6 and The Boys. As Esposito explained to Fatherly, he has a pretty nuanced view when it comes to approaching villainous characters. "I realized that there are no clear-cut answers or clear-cut visions or views of a villain," he revealed. "It’s all dependent upon what they want in their life, what they’re trying to achieve in the story, and where they’re going."
In fact, as Esposito told The Hollywood Reporter, he doesn’t really buy into the concept of villains at all. "I believe that humans have their dark and their light side," he said. Maybe this intelligent approach is why Esposito is the ultimate bad guy!
Carl Weathers from The Mandalorian has had an impressively long career
In The Mandalorian, Carl Weathers portrays Greef Karga, the character who gives out jobs to Mandalorians, and eventually becomes an ally of the show’s titular character. Chances are, you’ve come across Weathers before; this actor has had a seriously long career, ranging from Arrested Development, to Rocky, to Stallone, to Creed (via IMDb).
In fact, his career has been so prolific that Weathers was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Arpa International Film Festival in 2017. As Weathers joked in an interview on the red carpet, "How strange is that, I have so many miles to go before I sleep." He went on to explain that he’d enjoyed his entire career: "Every day is a new day, there is no highlight really."
By the sounds of things, working on The Mandalorian was another career high for Weathers. As he told Entertainment Tonight, "I’ve been involved in some projects that have done really well and obviously that have fans around the world, but the Star Wars fans and the Mandalorian fans are just crazy — and I mean crazy in a good way."
You may recognize The Mandalorian’s Ming-Na Wen’s voice
Ming-Na Wen played Fennec Shand in The Mandalorian, an assassin who eventually becomes an ally of the Mandalorian. Wen has an impressive resume, having played plenty of other warrior-type roles in big shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. However, if you listen closely, you may actually know the actress’s voice: in 1998, she voiced Mulan in the original Disney film, Mulan. Basically, the woman is a film legend!
While Wen loved playing Mulan, and even called it her "destiny," she also loved stepping into the Star Wars universe. As she told Slash Film, it was a "lifelong dream" as she’d always been a fan.
It turns out, Wen will be bringing her voice acting talents to the Star Wars universe in the animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch, when Fennec will reappear. As she told Star Wars, "I definitely use a slightly different voice for Fennec, a lower register. She talks a little slower, she has a sort of a slight drag to her speech." It’s clear this actress knows her stuff and has come a long way since her Mulan days. As she said herself, "I’m no spring chicken!"
You probably recognize Amy Sedaris from The Mandalorian
It would be hard to go through life without ever coming across a movie with Amy Sedaris. The comedy legend has appeared in over 100 projects, including Puss in Boots, Elf, BoJack Horseman, Strangers with Candy, and many more.
While Sedaris’ resume is a long one, many of her roles have been pretty small. As she explained in a 2004 interview with Believer, "I’m not ambitious when it comes to my acting career… I always want small parts and my agent gets so mad at me." The Mandalorian is no different. However, while her character may be on the diminutive side, it’s definitely memorable. Her role as Peli Motto, the gruff mechanic with a heart of gold is definitely one of the best cameos in the show.
As Sedaris explained to BuzzFeed, her work in The Mandalorian definitely made an impact. Apparently, she was at work when her first episode came out and she was trending on Twitter. "People were freaking out ’cause I was holding Baby Yoda," she explained.
You would never recognize Horatio Sanz in The Mandalorian
In one of the very first sequences of The Mandalorian, we meet Mythrol, a bright blue alien with a bounty on his head who the titular character is charged with bringing in; Mythrol reappears as more of an ally in a later episode. We’re willing to bet you didn’t recognize this creature — but it turns out, he’s actually played by a relatively well-known comedy actor: Horatio Sanz.
Sanz made a name for himself on Saturday Night Live, before going on to take on roles in films like Bachelorette, Boat Trip, Year One, Road Trip, and much more. He’s also well known for his many comedic voice roles (via IMDb).
It turns out, Sanz seemed to love being a part of The Mandalorian. In fact, he took to Twitter after his second appearance on the show to interact with fans (via ComicBook).
Rosario Dawson is hardly recognizable in The Mandalorian
Rosario Dawson is a pretty legendary actor thanks to her memorable roles in Rent, Unstoppable, Zookeeper, Top Five, and Zombieland: Double Tap (via IMDb). While you probably would recognize Dawson in these films, you may have missed her in The Mandalorian – after all, she had blue and white ears where her hair should have been. Dawson portrayed Ahsoka Tano, a Jedi who studied with Anakin Skywalker and appeared in Star Rebels and Star Wars: Clone Wars.
Dawson and Dave Filoni, the writer of her episode in The Mandalorian, spoke to Vanity Fair about her appearance on the show. Apparently, she was actually "fan-cast" online; Dawson retweeted it and got the producer’s attention. Soon, she featured in the concept art for season 2, and not long after, she was cast in the role. Filoni added, "When I met Rosario, I just knew she was right for Ahsoka." Sounds like this casting was pretty much destiny.
And it was so popular, they even commissioned a whole new spin-off series focusing on the character (via Collider).
You may recognize The Mandalorian’s Natalia Tena from Harry Potter or Game of Thrones
Natalia Tena portrayed Xi’an, an old colleague of the Mandalorian who turns against him in an episode in season 1. With her extensive makeup on the show, you may have not realized that Tena was responsible for the role.
However, it turns out, the actress behind Xi’an is actually a pretty well known actor, especially in the fantasy realm. In 2007, she appeared in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as Nymphadora Tonks, who eventually ends up with Lupin. And, from 2011 to 2016, she played Osha in Game of Thrones, who helped protect Bran Stark (via IMDb).
By the sounds of things, Tena loves the fantasy genre, so this show was probably right up her alley. As she told San Antonio Current, both Harry Potter and Game of Thrones were very special experiences. No wonder Tena jumped at the chance to join the Star Wars world, too!
Julia Jones from The Mandalorian isn’t new to fantasy
In one episode of The Mandalorian, the titular character and Baby Yoda come across a remote farming village where they stay with a charming family; the mother in that family may look a little familiar to you: she was played by Julia Jones. Jones is an actress with more than a little experience in the fantasy genre. In fact, she’s appeared in both the Twilight series and Westworld, so The Mandalorian was clearly right up her alley (via IMDb).
In an interview with Whiskey + Sunshine, Jones opened up about some of her bigger projects. While Twilight, Westworld, and The Mandalorian were all very different, they all had one thing in common. "You always sort of feel like you have a family when you’re working on a film, but [with these franchises] it’s like you’re joining a family, a huge family," she revealed. Jones even compared the experience to joining a "traveling circus!" Sounds like she had a phenomenal time appearing on The Mandalorian.
Playing Bo-Katan in The Mandalorian is a dream come true for Katee Sackhoff
The character of Bo-Katan initially appeared in The Clone Wars as an animated character, but with The Mandalorian, she got her live-action debut. Katee Sackhoff portrayed the character, and if you didn’t recognize her, we don’t blame you. For the role, she sported a full Mandalorian suit and a striking red bob. However, you may have seen her in Battlestar Galactica or The Flash. What you may not have realized, is that the same actress voiced the character in The Clone Wars!
As Sackhoff told Entertainment Tonight, taking on the iconic role was a huge privilege. "This character has been such a part of my life for so long and it is incredibly special and rare to have been able to actually be able to play her in live action," she gushed. It’s clear that reprising her role for The Mandalorian was incredibly special for Sackhoff — and we can’t think of better casting.
The Mandalorian’s Sasha Banks is actually a famous wrestler
The final episode of The Mandalorian featured a pretty awesome girl squad backing up Mando on his mission to retrieve Baby Yoda from Moff Gideon. In the episode, Sasha Banks portrayed Koska Reeves. If you didn’t recognize her, there’s a pretty good reason why: the actress is primarily known as a wrestler.
Banks spoke to WWE’s The Bump about how her role on the show came about. "It’s so exciting, I cannot believe it," she exclaimed in the interview. "I can’t believe this is my debut in Hollywood and I got to save Baby Yoda and I’m in Star Wars." Banks went on to explain that she actually got the role when a casting director "slid into her DMs"and said that Jon Favreau liked her and wanted her to be on the show. Wow, talk about a stroke of good luck! Sounds like this role was a total dream come true for this star.
Temuera Morrison was happy to return to Star Wars in The Mandalorian
Boba Fett is without a doubt one of the most iconic Star Wars characters to appear in The Mandalorian. Actor Temuera Morrison actually played Jango Fett, a Mandalorian bounty hunter, in the 2002 movie Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. His character produced an army of clones, and he kept one clone as a son, who became Boba Fett. Morrison, of course, didn’t play Boba Fett the first time around; however, as Boba Fett is his character’s clone, he really is the perfect casting choice.
In an interview with Star Wars, Morrison opened up about how happy he was to make his return. Apparently, he’d lost hope of returning until 2019, when he had a meeting with Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. "I got there quite early because I was excited, I didn’t want to be late," he recalled. "While I was waiting, I was looking at some of the conceptual drawings on the wall, and I suddenly saw an image of a guy that looked like me." Sounds like the actor was thrilled at the opportunity.
Bill Burr from The Mandalorian is best known for his stand-up comedy
Chances are you know Bill Burr from his stand-up. The comedian has produced many stand-up specials since the ’90s and has appeared in several comedic films. To that end, the Star Wars universe is probably the last place you expected to see him — especially since he’s quite well known for making fun of Star Wars!
Burr spoke to Pardon My Take about his role in The Mandalorian. "I saw a bunch of people enjoying something and as a comedian that’s just the layup," he began. "So, I was forever making fun of people, 30-year-old people going down to the movie theater, dressing like Chewbacca and all that."
But as Burr went on to explain, he changed his opinion when he met Jon Favreau at a party; he found out that Favreau was writing a part for him. Burr then mentioned that he’s known for being a Star Wars hater. "I know, I listen to your podcast, I think that would be funny," Favreau reportedly said. The rest is history, and apparently Burr ended up being a huge fan of The Mandalorian in the end!