Book Review: The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season Two)

The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season Two)

The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season Two) takes fans behind the scenes of the second season of the Emmy Award–winning Disney+ live-action Star Wars television series. Filled with concept art, character, vehicle, weapon, and creature designs, and interviews with key crew and creatives, including executive producer/showrunner/ writer Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Lion King) and executive producer/ director Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels), The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season Two) will provide readers with an exclusive look at the stunning art and design work that helped bring new and returning characters and locations to life.

Returning for The Mandalorian season two, executive creative director Doug Chiang (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and the incomparable group of artists, designers, and dreamers known as the Lucasfilm art department “visualists” undertook the challenge of continuing to push the boundaries of Star Wars storytelling while also translating Ahsoka Tano from animation to live action and updating the look of the legendary Boba Fett. The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season Two) is the only book to explore the artistic vision for this groundbreaking sophomore season, taking readers on a deep dive into the development of the next chapter of Din Djarin and Grogu’s story. Exclusive interviews with the filmmakers and the Lucasfilm visualists provide a running commentary on The Mandalorian’s innovative art and design, revealing the inspiration behind the look and feel of the series.

Author: Phil Szostak
Publication Date: 15th February 2022
ISBN: 9781419756511
Page Count: 256

With the debut season of The Mandalorian not only helping to announce the arrival of Disney Plus with a hit heard around the world, it also made a monumental impact on the galaxy far, far away. Accompanying the judicious dripfeed of behind the scenes information  came The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season One), a fascinating peek behind the curtain by LFL stalwart Phil Szostak which lifted the lid on the designs of that debut season and perfectly aligned with the first seaosn of Disney Gallery on Disney Plus which allowed us a look at the physical making of the season. With season two not only matching but escalating beyond those first eight episodes, grabbing the zeitgeist in a Force-fuelled invisible grip of green, pointy-eared cuteness (sure, the inside track may have been sparingly revealed but Grogu was more visible than a rathtar on Crait) this second volume of images and insight from the next eight chapters couldn’t be more welcome.

Opening with a Foreword by Doug Chiang – his thirst for designing the galaxy unquenched, the story always the primary factor in making anything Star Wars tick – he discusses designing new locations like Mos Pelgo, always adhering to the lessons of George Lucas while focusing on the requirements of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. The Introduction introduces us to the primary players of the production, as does the Who’s Who which lists the department heads and key creatives (and all along accompanied by pre-production art from across the season) and suddenly there we are at Chapter Nine, The Marshal.

Here we learn that work on the second season was underway in 2018, before the debut of the first season and along with it the memes, the GIFs and all the hullabaloo surrounding ‘Baby Yoda’. Looking at the project through that lens, it’s fascinating to consider the vacuum in which they worked, with only their own compass to guide them (and to compare to the forthcoming third season, where Grogu has become the rock star of Star Wars). Now we hit a linear path through the season as we look at character designs, with familiar races (Bith, Twi’lek, Aqualish, Gran) and freshly created aliens. The muscular fighting Gamorrean revealed by Jon Favreau is here in maquette form along with designs for the Carnita fighting arena and even the unseen, red-eyed wild dogs.

There’s a depth of design here beyond what we saw in that first season, and as we know from Disney Gallery a step up in technique and application of the Stagecraft technology that makes this show possble for a budget less than that of a small island nation. Designs for Cobb Vanth’s speeder give us alternate options of what kind of hot rod he could have been flying, as well as how he wore the Mandalorian armour of Boba Fett that he acquired. Most helpfully, we get an aerial view of Mos Pelgo, a true one-bantha town that appears on screen to be sparse…which it is, though some of the designs have it far busier and denser than the final version. Beautiful designs that hopefully will make their way into future episodes, perhaps as different locations, or later iterations of Freetown as it develops.

You couldn’t look at The Marshal without the skyscraper-sized, kaiju-inspired horror of the greater krayt dragon, the fully grown version of the slim, bleach-boned skeleton we saw in A New Hope. There are numerous versions here, all featuring that huge battering ram of a head, but in differing styles. Some have the mouth opening like a snake, others focusing on the teeth while many have the powerful, Neanderthal-type ridge above the eyes. Page turn by page turn reveals newer, more familiar versions as we edge closer to what we saw onscreen, while further turns reveal the massiffs originally seen in Attack of the Clones, and the krayts favourite snack, the bantha. Ever wanted to know what an acid melted Tusken Raider looks like? Or the inside of an exploded krayt dragon? This is the book for you.

We end this first chapter with designs of the helmet-less Boba Fett, stood silently on a ridge as Din Djarin leaves with his iconic armour. Different clothing styles more relevant now than ever thanks to The Book of Boba Fett, and varying levels of acid scarring from his sarlacc encounter. Images fresh in our minds after the seven chapter first season of that show, all designed back in 2018.

To go through each of the eight chapters would be redundant and only spoil an enjoyable and illuminating tour through some instantly classic Star Wars. The craftsmanship is undoubted, the application well judged, and together with this second volume from Phil Szostak the appreciation for the work and the ability to bring Star Wars to the small screen – undoubtedly it’s second home, but done to such dazzling effect – is a testament to all involved. Make space on your shelves, as this is one book you’re going to want to read and read and read.

The Art Of Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Season 2 (Hardcover) @







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