The Mandalorian has once again taken control over pop culture discourse, but it's been a while since we've heard from the star of the show himself. Pedro Pascal has spent significantly more time donning the beskar armor in the second season of the series, something that has certainly helped in settling the unease he felt when not being able to do the physical performance for the role in Season 1.
One of Din Djarin's defining characteristics is how sparing he is in terms of what he shows the audience. With the exception of one scene in the first season's finale, Mando has been helmeted thus far for the entirety of the series, something that generally makes it difficult for viewers to connect with a character.
A great deal of emphasis has been placed on ensuring that all the movements and lines the hero does deliver are done so with intent, and Pascal has opened up on how this experience continued with Season 2...
“The biggest challenge in playing Mando in season 2 is still the obvious, in that, how to in subtle ways, be it through vocal intonation or physical stillness/posture, large movements, small movements, to dramatically convey a scene and keep the character compelling because he is economical anyway, much less being armored from the tips of his toes to the top of his head. It is a physical challenge that is met creatively in terms of how technically you can achieve that. It will always be particularly unique in that regard.”
The star noted that without his theater training, playing Mando may not have been possible:
“I’m not even sure if I would be able to do it if it weren’t for the amount of direct experience that I’ve had with being on stage to understand how to posture yourself, how to physically frame yourself into something and to tell a story with a gesture, with a stance, or with very, very specific vocal intonation.”
Grogu may be the star of the set, but even he couldn't hold Pascal's attention over Peli Motto herself:
“I followed Amy Sedaris around like a puppy. [I was] like, ‘Hey again. I’m not leaving your side until you wrap,’ and she’s like, ‘Cool,’” Pascal says. “I love the Child — it really is adorable — and it is so fascinating to see it work, but somebody who makes you spit-laugh right into your helmet will always be my favorite thing.”
WHAT THIS MEANS
While Pascal has discussed the process many times, the work it takes to nail Mando's subtleties often seems to go unappreciated. The epic action sequences will always be more memorable, but the limited motion and variation in vocal inflection are the biggest contributors to creating Din Djarin's stoicism. The showdown with Lang in "Chapter 13" is an excellent example of this, a sequence with very limited movement from the titular hero that still manages to communicate his thoughts and intentions.
The actor crediting his stage work for allowing him to pull off the role is very interesting. Adam Driver has also done his fair share of theater and put what he learned towards bringing Kylo Ren's physicality to life, and Ian McDiarmid is a classical trained Shakespearian actor who's applied the grandeur that those roles provided to performing the Emperor.
Evidently, Star Wars has the theater world to thank for some of its most well-acted roles, and actors with stage work backgrounds will undoubtedly continue to elevate the franchise for years to come.
As much as acting is serious business, there always needs to be at least one goofball on set to keep things light - and in the case of The Mandalorian , this role is played by Amy Sedaris. The comedian's first appearance in the series was met with mixed reception, but Peli Motto's return in Season 2 seemed to bother far fewer people. Sedaris adds humor to both the scenes she's in and the full duration of her time on set, and Pedro Pascal likely wouldn't have any gripes with making Motto a mainstay for the show.