Saying Goodbye to Din Djarin’s Face: The Unexpected Twist in ‘The Mandalorian’

Pedro Pascal is now one of Hollywood’s most in-demand performers, and he may be about to get even busier. Pascal was reported to be in talks to play superhero Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the titular team in Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four reboot film last week. While the news is likely to please many of Pascal’s fans, given his previous successes in similarly large media franchises such as the DC Extended Universe and Game of Thrones, if he is cast in the role, there may be some drawbacks that affect his participation in another Disney-owned franchise.

Pascal has been renowned for his role as the main character in The Mandalorian, the first live-action television series in the Star Wars canon, since 2019. While he constantly conducts voice work for the role, his increasingly busy schedule has caused him to spend less time physically portraying the part, and if he takes on the job of leader of Marvel’s First Family, his real involvement with his signature series will likely decline much further. This could worsen some of the creative issues that The Mandalorian was already dealing with when its third season debuted earlier this year.

Pedro Pascal Isn’t the Only Actor Who Plays The Mandalorian

Din Djarin is another name for the Mandalorian. He is a member of the Mandalorian survivors known as the Children of the Watch, who adhere to a rigid interpretation of “The Way.” One of their most important cultural regulations is that after they obtain their distinctive armoured helmets, no member of the group is allowed to remove them unless they are alone. As a result, Din’s armoured, masked appearance made it simple for the show to conceal the parts in which the character was played by stunt doubles Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder and in which it was actually Pascal in costume onscreen. The series takes advantage of this versatility as early as the first season, with Wayne and Crowder filming even non-action scenes when Pascal had scheduling conflicts with other projects, albeit Pascal always dubs over the character’s dialogue. Pascal acknowledged being even less involved with the physical filming of the third season of the series, perhaps due to his starring position in HBO’s The Last of Us, telling Variety that “it was able to become mostly a voice-over gig for Season 3.” Wayne and Crowder received co-starring credits for the first time that season.

Keeping The Mandalorian Masked Could Be Harmful to the Series

But just because the character can be veiled all the time doesn’t mean it’s the greatest thing for the series creatively. The character’s face was revealed at key points in the first two seasons, which became some of the series’ most famous scenes. Djarin was hurt in the first season finale, and the droid IG-11 (Taiki Waititi) removed his helmet to treat his wounds, telling him that this was not a violation of his creed because, as a droid, he was not technically a live being seeing Djarin uncovered. The incident was a touching moment of intimacy between the characters, especially given Djarin’s past statements about his dislike for droids.

Season 2 saw the character’s exposed scenes become even more dramatic. Grogu, the Force-sensitive kid of Yoda’s (Frank Oz) species to whom Djarin acts as a surrogate father, was seized late in the season by a party of Imperial remnants commanded by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Djarin was forced to remove the helmet he was wearing as part of his disguise when infiltrating an Imperial facility to find out where he was being held, showing his face to a room full of Imperial soldiers and his acquaintance, Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr). Grogu left to train as a Jedi with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) after being rescued in the season finale. Djarin removed his helmet, presenting his face to the youngster in an emotionally moving farewell that emphasised that his bond with Grogu had surpassed his relationship with The Way as the most important thing in his life.

These moments were part of a season-long arc in which Djarin began to question his faith. Earlier in the season, he encountered another group of Mandalorians led by Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) who were perfectly fine without their helmets and saw the Children of the Watch as fanatical zealots. This, along with the previously established link between the Children and the terrorist group Death Watch that appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Djarin’s subsequent unmasking scenes, gave the impression that the character was being set up to defy his own faction, or at the very least learn that there is more than one legitimate Way to be a Mandalorian.

However, the character’s following appearances indicated a different story. Djarin was expelled from the Children of the Watch in The Book of Boba Fett after admitting to showing his face. In Season 3 of The Mandalorian, he embarked on an extensive mission to “redeem” himself in order to be allowed back into the group. The Children formed an alliance with Bo-Katan and other factions in attempt to reclaim control of their home planet of Mandalore during that season, which was the first in which Pascal did not appear unmasked at all. It’s unclear how much, if any, of this shift in story direction was prompted by Pascal’s availability, and while Djarin’s departure from the Children looked like the more obvious course for the show to pursue after Season 2, Season 3 has plenty of virtues of its own that make it worth defending.

Recasting Din Djarin Due to ‘Fantastic Four’ Is Unlikely

Even those who support Djarin’s return to the Children will surely recognise that Pascal’s casting as Richards could present complications for future seasons of The Mandalorian. Reed has been a central figure in the Marvel Comics universe for the most of its history, and he will almost certainly play a similar position in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially now that Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is no longer in the franchise. If he accepts the role, Pascal will most likely appear in a variety of other Marvel projects in addition to Fantastic Four. With that and his other responsibilities, like as continuing work on The Last of Us and projects like Gladiator 2, it’s difficult to see the actor returning to The Mandalorian set in the near future.

As a result, future seasons of the series will very certainly require Djarin to remain firmly devoted to the Children’s Way in order for him to remain masked, allowing Pascal to continue to primarily voice him. This would drastically decrease the character’s storyline potential and could have a significant impact on the show’s quality. Other than Pascal dropping out of Fantastic Four or other projects, the only truly realistic solution to this dilemma would be to totally recast the role, with Wayne, Crowder, or another actor serving as Djarin’s face and voice. However, as the recent returns of Mark Hamill and other Star Wars veterans demonstrate, Lucasfilm is hesitant to recast its most iconic characters.

There is an argument to be made that this emotion is generating issues for the franchise, although in the case of Din Djarin, it appears unlikely that a recast would be warmly received. Pascal is so busy because he’s become one of the world’s most popular performers, and he and The Mandalorian — both the series and the character — have become practically synonymous. Many fans would probably stop watching the show if Djarin suddenly got a different face, even if, like in the past, that face wasn’t featured very often. As a result, while Marvel fans are eager to learn the identity of at least one member of the MCU’s Fantastic Four, Star Wars fans may be crossing their fingers that Pascal withdraws from the project.

In the United States, The Mandalorian is available to view on Disney+.


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