The Scariest Part of The Mandalorian Season 3 Was Designed By a Star Wars Legend

What lurks in the mines of Mandalore?

The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian is created and produced by self-proclaimed superfans with near-encyclopedic knowledge of the Star Wars universe. Showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni were raised on Lucasfilm properties, and know the inner workings of the franchise well. Sometimes their niche knowledge can overpower the storytelling; at its worst, The Mandalorian feels like an exercise in fan service. When done right, however, The Mandalorian offers fitting tributes to the legends that made Star Wars what it is, and the series’ third season offers a compelling example.

Season 3 of The Mandalorian took us to the fabled planet Mandalore. The planet has a storied Star Wars history, but hasn’t appeared in canon since the animated series The Clone Wars. The Mandalorian takes place several decades after the Galactic Republic falls, and in the intervening years, Mandalore is effectively destroyed in the Great Purge.

Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), the would-be ruler of Mandalore, doesn’t believe anything survived the Purge, but Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) is determined to bathe in the living waters beneath the planet’s surface. He travels to Mandalore, but is captured by a terrifying cyborg before he can atone for his sins. The Mandalorian has never been shy about dipping into a bit of horror, but Djarin’s time in the bowels of Mandalore is probably one of Star Wars’ scariest moments yet. It was also a fitting excuse to bring back a titan of visual effects, Phil Tippett.

Tippett is a legend at Lucasfilm, having designed many of Star Wars’ most famous monsters and robots.

Le Pacte

Tippett is a major figure in Star Wars history. With over 50 years in the industry, he’s created some iconic designs in beloved sci-fi classics. His work with Lucasfilm goes back to the very beginning: Tippett designed and animated the holochess scene in A New Hope, the AT-ATs and tauntauns in The Empire Strikes Back, and the rancor in Return of the Jedi. His work outside of Star Wars is equally prolific. Jurassic Park wouldn’t have its realistic dinosaurs without Tippett’s help, nor would RoboCop have its menacing enforcement droids.

Tippett’s influence extends beyond classic sci-fi. His VFX house, Tippett Studio, has created effects for superhero flicks like Blade 2 and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, YA fantasy in the Twilight saga, and countless creature features.

Tippett returned to Star Wars for The Mandalorian Season 3, serving as a creative design consultant. With his help, the Mando brain trust was able to craft a dark and spooky environment unlike anything else in Star Wars history.

In the latest episode of the behind-the-scenes documentary Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau discusses the inspirations for the mines, and what it was like bringing Tippett back to the Lucasfilm fold. “We wanted the mines of Mandalore to look different from anything else we had in the show,” Favreau said. “And of course, Phil Tippett’s aesthetic was something that we thought we would really benefit from.”

As one of George Lucas’ oldest collaborators, Favreau and company knew that few would have a better grasp on the darker aspects of the Star Wars galaxy. “We thought that Phil would be great to collaborate with on what Mandalore would look like, to create something that was both tech and nightmarish,” Favreau continued.

If his work in The Mandalorian is any indication, Tippett’s vision has only grown more potent over the years. The creatures he’s designed for Star Wars are unforgettable, and it’s great to see his influence continue to shape the galaxy far, far away.

Related Tags