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

This official behind-the-scenes companion to the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian features exclusive concept art, character and costume sketches, and vehicle and creature designs.

The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian takes fans behind the scenes of the first ever live-action Star Wars television series. Filled with concept art, sketches, and interviews with key cast, crew, and creatives, including executive producer/showrunner/writer Jon Favreau and executive producer/director Dave Filoni, The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian will provide readers with an exclusive look at a whole new universe of Star Wars characters, locations, and vehicles.

Premiering in November 2019 as a key launch title for Disney+, The Mandalorian follows the adventures of galactic gunslinger Din Djarin and the Child as they traverse the outer systems of the Star Wars galaxy. Readers will encounter early visual and conceptual ideas for these new characters and unexplored frontiers, filled with crime syndicates, bounty hunters, and smugglers. The gritty, lived-in cantinas and spaceports are populated by a talented cast that includes Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man), Nick Nolte (48 Hours), Gina Carano (Haywire, Deadpool), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and Carl Weathers (Rocky).

Author: Phil Szostak
Publication Date: 1 December 2020
Pages: 256
ISBN-13: 9781419748707

Just over a year ago, Season 1 of Disney’s The Mandalorian took centre place as the flagship show for the launch of the new streaming service. The popularity of the eight-chapter series caught fans and Lucasfilm off guard, so fast forward through the delays of pandemics and other 2020 upheavals and The Art of Star Wars The Mandalorian finally starts to drop onto people’s doormats and onto the shelves of collectors.

This Art of Book continues a long running lineage of Star Wars art books that stretch all the way back to 1977 when concept artist and would-be director Joe Johnston published The Star Wars Sketchbook with the tagline “The original drawings for the greatest space fantasy ever made!

For author Phil Szostak this is his fifth Star Wars Art of, with his previous books covering each of the sequel trilogy films and Solo: A Star Wars Story. The book is released by publishing house Abrams Books who published Szostak’s previous work and fans will be familiar with many of their other popular Star Wars Art Books including, Concept, Comics, Illustrations and Posters. The book is made up of 256 pages with some 300 odd illustrations all taken from the design and pre-production stage of The Mandalorian season 1.

The layout of the book is similar to previous Art of books with concept art work being presented in varying sizes including full page and double page spreads, and the book opens with a forward by Lucasfilm Vice President and Executive Creative Director Doug Chiang, who talks about the impact Star Wars had on him growing up as well his own thoughts about the creative aesthetics and influences in The Mandalorian. After that, Szostak takes over and guides us through the rest of the book.

The main narrative of the book starts with the actual pitch of the series and also how lead creatives Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni first met. This chapter includes some of the artwork used to first pitch the show to the Kathleen Kennedy and Disney. The following two chapters focus mainly on the design process for Din Djarin, the Razor Crest and of course The Child.

The reader learns about some of the overarching series design philosophies used in the series, as well as the previous costume designs that went on to influence the creation of the Mandalorian’s costume with a nice breakdown of the evolution of Din’s costume we see throughout the first season.

Many of the drawings show different iterations that the designers went through from the initial concept to final version. But the surprise was that it seems that the process was greatly compressed compared to what we’ve read about the post production process with the theatrical releases both in respects to time as well as number of revisions per design.

After the locking down the look of The Child and Razor Crest the book then follows a fairly standard chapter per-episode format which makes sense. Each chapter starts with a couple of pages of progress update from Szostak these chapter introductions are punctuated with exact dates of when events took place, but also refers to any overlaps with production on the sequel trilogy.

You get the impression very early on that either we’re seeing a fairly sanitised view of the concept design process or that there wasn’t as much exploration needed to nail down ideas. This is confirmed in a later chapter of the book where by its remarked that both Favreau and Filoni have pretty concise feedback notes and really know the sort of designs they were looking for. This does contrast quite heavily with the concept process for big budget feature films where directors sometimes like to explore a theme or idea heavily before signing off on a design or moving on to something else.

Overall you get the impression that the creators knew what they wanted and were able to convey that concisely to the pre-production team.

As an aside thought, it’s possible knowing how Lucasfilm reuse many ideas and concepts that some of the unused story elements and concepts that are usually discussed in the Star Wars Art of books may end up being used in a later series of The Mandalorian or other Star Wars spin-off shows, so it’s possible that’s the reason they’re keeping their cards close to their chest.

Beyond Szostak’s chapter introduction the book isn’t text heavy, and relies on comments by the designers themselves to explain the idea and motivation behind the artwork. This works quite well as we get a bit of perspective on the design process.

Overall the book is well laid out and nicely presented. Some of the reproduction quality of the artwork looks a bit questionable, but there’s no indication of the size or source of the original images. That said, the art work itself speaks for itself and reinforces the notion that the Lucasfilm design team are accomplished and amazing artists.

The lack of lots of text makes this an ideal book to flip through, but if you do read it cover to cover then it wouldn’t take you very long to do so; the perfect distraction as we wait for the next episode of The Mandalorian to arrive on our screens.

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Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season One)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Szostak, Phil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 12/01/2020 (Publication Date) - Harry N. Abrams (Publisher)
SOURCEAbrams and Chronicle Books
Mark Mulcaster
Mark has been a fan of the saga since the early 1990s after rediscovering the original trilogy on VHS and dived right into the first Grand Admiral Thrawn Trilogy, he has been an avid Star Wars reader ever since. He’s been a member of the Star Wars costuming community since 2007 when he joined the Rebel Legion’s Elstree Base, the Base he now runs as Base Commanding Officer as well as also being a member of both the 501st UK Garrison and the Mandalorian Mercs Vok Chi clan here in the UK.