Sunday , April 21 2024
Giancarlo Esposito and Katee Sackhoff

GalaxyCon Richmond: ‘The Mandalorian’

The Mandalorian cast received a warm welcome recently from fans at GalaxyCon Richmond. Actors Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Katee Sackhoff and Emily Swallow spoke about their time with the popular Star Wars series.

As an icebreaker before the fan Q&A, moderator Milo Beasley asked the actors who they’d like to see in a new Star Wars spin-off. Sackhoff chimed in, “My favorite Star Wars character is Jar Jar Binks. Jar Jar is awesome because he tries so hard! He’s like a puppy, and we all like puppies.”

On Getting Cast

Everyone was thrilled about getting the call for Star Wars parts. Sackhoff joined much earlier as Bo-Katan Kryze through the Clone Wars animated series. However, fans showed up back then for her live action work. “When I would go to conventions, people would talk to me about Battlestar [Galactica], not Clone Wars. I always thought Clone Wars was just for me.”

In contrast, Esposito, Swallow and Lee all came on board as newer characters. Lee—who plays Captain Carson Teva—said, “I honestly thought [that] I’d be buried under 15 pounds of latex and no one would ever see my face, which was fine because it was going to be Star Wars.”

Fortunately, he doesn’t wear latex or heavy makeup for his part. On top of that, coming back to the series remains a joy for him. “The crew loves what they’re doing. It’s something really special to be part of that world where everybody’s pulling on that same rope.”

As you might expect with high-profile projects, Swallow didn’t know all the details about her character, The Armorer. After getting cast, she saw Esposito’s name on a dressing room door, but she didn’t actually meet him until after season two started airing. “I really didn’t know what [The Mandalorian] would become because I shot all of my work for season one before the show was announced. I didn’t know that it was going to be a big deal.”

Photo of Paul Sun-Hyung Lee from The Mandalorian
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee

On the Late Carl Weathers

The cast reflected about the times they saw Carl Weathers, who passed away a month and a half before his scheduled GalaxyCon Richmond appearance. The legendary actor, who played Apollo in the Rocky franchise, portrayed Greef Karga and also directed episodes of The Mandalorian.

Esposito, who played the menacing Moff Gideon, shared that Weathers as a director “was so attentive and he was so aware. He allowed the dialogue to happen because we wanted to honor the writer’s words, but he also allowed his imagination to soar at all times and to share that with you.”

Similarly, Sackhoff respected and admired Weathers for his expertise as an actor and director. While she initially opted to sit back and just watch him, eventually they struck up wonderful conversations during the comic con circuit.

She said, “I was doing a play in Los Angeles and it turned out [Carl] was going to come see it. We started talking about theater. I had no idea that he loved theater! It showed me, and I continued to see, what an eternal student he was.”

On Adding to the Star Wars Legacy

When the first Star Wars trilogy came to theaters, audiences were captivated by the storytelling. For Esposito, hero and heroine stories in these films and TV shows are important to see. “We have to look back at some of our great historical mythology to look toward what should guide us. Those stories are mile markers and clues to how we should live and have morality, integrity, commitment and compassion. George was onto it when he created these stories.”

And of course, acting in Star Wars comes with a bonus. Esposito smiled as he added, “I’m a six-point action figure and will be forevermore. The plastic will outlive me forever. You have something I want!”

Visit the GalaxyCon Richmond website for more information.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros is Pop Culture Editor for Blogcritics Magazine. She frequently covers TV, film and theater. Her portfolio includes interviews with Ndaba Mandela and actors Juliette Binoche, Fran Drescher, Derek Jacobi and Brent Spiner. She's also spoken with notable voice actors Petrea Burchard, Garry Chalk, Peter Cullen and Brian Drummond.

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