If you are one of the 10+ million folks that signed up for Disney+ on launch day earlier this week, it stands to reason that you probably at least gave “The Mandalorian” a shot. And if you did, then we’d hope you watched the whole episode, or at least up until the point Werner Herzog appeared on-screen. Because if you did, it’s safe to say that Herzog, though a small part in the first episode, is pretty great. Especially considering he’s never seen a “Star Wars” film before and had no idea what Jon Favreau worked on previously.
And in a recent Q&A with the cast and filmmakers behind “The Mandalorian,” Herzog clearly is happy with his own work, as well as the work done by those around him. And though he might not win your local “Star Wars” trivia night at the bar, he does know a fair bit about filmmaking. So, when he calls “The Mandalorian” real “cinema” then you have to pay attention.
“I enjoyed every single moment of it,” Herzog said. “And I think it’s beyond what we are seeing on the screen. It’s cinema back at its best.”
He continued, “On the big fantasy films, actors were acting almost like robots in front of green screens, you didn’t see the world that you were inhabiting. [In ‘The Mandalorian’] the actors see the entire universe in which they are operating and the camera does the same. The camera sees it as well so cinema is back to its very life, where it had been. And it becomes very, very lively it’s not robotic. It’s got very, very intense life in it.”
Obviously, it’s clear from his comments that when he’s talking about how ‘Mandalorian’ is “cinema,” what he means is that the process of making the series felt more like making a film and less like acting in front of a green screen. If you’re someone that pays attention to blockbuster filmmaking, you’ve likely seen pictures from films like “Avengers: Endgame” or any of the recent superhero, fantasy, sci-fi, or big-budget movies, and you’ve seen how the actors are sometimes dressed in dot-covered pajamas and talking to other folks in pajamas while standing in front of a green screen pretending that there’s an alien invasion. It’s admittedly silly, but also just life in 2019 when you make that sort of film.
And while the filmmakers involved with “The Mandalorian” have revealed that they’re using plenty of digital tricks, they’re also using a lot of physical sets and locations, making the show have that same sort of feeling that was found in the Original Trilogy and “Rogue One.”
If you haven’t seen Werner Herzog in “The Mandalorian,” you can stream the first two episodes of the series now on Disney+ with new episodes coming every Friday.