The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau talks tonal differences in Star Wars ahead of the upcoming Skeleton Crew. Skeleton Crew will star a group of kids, lost with only 1 adult protector (Jude Law) to look after them. The show has been described as ‘for all ages’, but most fans think that means this show at least will be aimed at a younger audience. As such the question of tone pops up, as always.
What is the tone of Star Wars? The answer to that question really does depend on the project. At one end of the scale we have gritty adult drama Andor. I guess if we stick to mainstream then the opposite end of that scale may be the likes of The Bad Batch. At the same time I feel like all the animated projects Lucasfilm have made have excelled the darker in tone they became. Perhaps we could use Young Jedi Adventures as the extreme other end of the scale? However, that is designed for pre-schoolers, so I don’t think it’s a useful comparison.
A project aimed at being suitable for kids is fine for me, as long as it also takes the adult fanbase into consideration. My worry looking at a show like The Book of Boba Fett is when that aimed for tone is out of balance. Boba Fett should have been a darker tone and yet it’s so light it almost flies away at times. So whilst we can expect Skeleton Crew to have a lighter tone perhaps, the question remains, will it be a good show? We can’t answer that question, yet obviously. However, here is what Favreau had to say when he spoke to EW recently about tone in Star Wars and there being room for many styles.
Tonal Shifts In Star Wars
“One of the things we really like about what the shows that we’ve been working on have turned into is that it the tone of each episode — and in certain cases each series — really reflects the storyteller of the filmmaker,” Favreau says. “So in The Mandalorian you could have many different tones. Even though the writing is consistent across them, different filmmakers will bring different perspectives. And so each episode hopefully feels different, though they should sit alongside one another.”
Favreau says that same philosophy extends to the newest series: “With Skeleton Crew, I would go even further there because it’s Watts and Ford and a whole array of wonderful directors — some have worked with us before, some who haven’t. And so each episode has its own feel to it.”
I like those Amblin movies from my childhood as much as the next middle-aged dude. Will it work through for the Star Wars Universe? I guess we will find out, as not for the first time Favreau talks about Skeleton Crew as an Amblin type of idea.
“With Kathy Kennedy running Lucasfilm,” says Favreau, “when John Watts and Chris Ford come in and talked about wanting to do something that feels like an Amblin movie and has that tone, it’s like you’re speaking right to the person who was there and knows the 11 herbs and spices that go into it. So it’s interesting hearing them pitch it and how she reacts to that.”
While Favreau agrees that Skeleton Crew “has to feel like Star Wars,” he also notes that “when people think of Star Wars as a genre, it really is a number of subgenres within the Star Wars genre. Because those were [George Lucas’] influences, so it could feel like a Western, it could feel like a World War II film, it could feel like a samurai film. And so you could push limits.”
RELATED: Is Ahsoka Just Rebels Season 5? Filoni Says Kinda – But Evolved
“Especially on The Clone Wars, they deviated into many different [genres] — to thrillers and to noir and different types of adventures and different tones. So that’s what’s keeping us engaged and why I’m continuing my collaboration here, is because it’s never like you’re just doing one thing. There’s always room.”
“As long as you adhere to a certain aesthetic, and we all agree that it feels like it’s Star Wars, there’s a lot of room for how you can move around,” he says. “It’s interesting too, as you see at the [Star Wars Celebration] panel and these great trailers, how different they all are. But they all sit together. You would never group them together, but thanks to the world that George created, they all feel like they share a common underlying aesthetic.”
Now, while I agree that Star Wars has and can continue to cover many different genre’s, that does not necessarily mean the tonal shifts will always work. I mean, you could have a heist movie set in the Bladerunner Universe. However, you’d not expect that movie to be full of jokes and comedy, you’d expect a dark, gritty post-apocalyptic tale with a point to make. For me therefore the bar should always be the original trilogy. That’s what made Star Wars a success and the blend was nice between a story taking itself very seriously and little green men teaching the main character how to use magic.
The prequels, and some of the animated shows have gone too childish (simple and easy) and this has allowed for a lower bar to aim for. Kids are smarter than adults think. When I was a kid we were watching Empire, Raiders, Terminator, RoboCop, and many more. Some of those we should not have been watching perhaps. However,the point is that kids can handle darker themes and tone, even if you don’t have to have the blood and violence to maintain a PG-13 rating.
RELATED: May the Force Be With You And Your Echo Dot
Am I excited for Skeleton Crew? Not really, I’ll try it of course and I hope I’m wrong, but I think Andor has spoiled me in terms of what can be achieved with this franchise. I do however hope I’m so very wrong and Skeleton Crew is a show that someone like me can enjoy as well. I guess we will find out come release. We still don’t have a date for Skeleton Crew, but I personally expect it will land around Winter on Disney+, with Ahsoka coming in August at least pushing this one into Fall.
What do you think of his comments as The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau talks tonal differences in Star Wars ahead of the upcoming Skeleton Crew? Thoughts below as always.