Phil Szostak’s highly anticipated The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 2 is finally here and it was certainly worth the wait.
The Art of Star Wars books are always a treat, but there’s something about The Mandalorian editions that feel like a labor of love. They are gorgeously compiled and organized, with genuine dedication by Szostak, who doles out a perfect balance of nitty-gritty detail for the diehard fan, while wrapping it in a package designed to be accessible for even the most casual reader. It’s filled with concept art of characters, locations, vehicles, weaponry, and creature designs, as well as interviews with key crew and creatives
Unsurprisingly to anyone who has worked in the film industry, Szostak’s introduction reveals that pre-production for the second season was underway long before The Mandalorian’s first season even arrived on Disney+. He reveals how Jon Favreau (the series’ creator) wanted to push the envelope and dream big by introducing characters from the animated series—like Ahsoka and Bo-Katan Kryze—while also pulling Chuck Wendig’s Cobb Vanth from page to screen. It’s very clear that Favreau and his team wanted to utilize as much Star Wars material as possible.
Throughout the book, Szostak neatly outlines each episode, from the first sparks of ideas, to the script, to the painstaking pre-production period where dozens of pieces of concept art are crafted and rendered, and then he dives into the actual production of the scenes, conversations with directors, and the post-production process that creates so much of what we see on screen. And it’s never just a page or two of information per episode. Each episode has dozens of pages revealing unused concept art, detailed sculptures and figures, scenic build breakdowns, and storyboards. It’s an eye-opening experience to see just how much work goes into making every component of The Mandalorian.
Some of my favorite elements of The Art of Star Wars are the creator commentaries about how they arrived at certain character designs and costumes. Early on there are several pages discussing Boba Fett’s “Nomad” costume, where Matyas discussed where elements were sourced from, worries about pulling too much from Obi-Wan Kenobi costume styles, and how one piece of concept art was designed to look like Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia.
Buried within the concept art are a few deeply disconcerting images, including the sculpt build of an undressed Frog Lady—because no one ever wanted to know what was under her humble garb. And if they did, I don’t want them to tell me.
This may have been previously revealed, but The Art of Star Wars book discusses how the Magistrate that Ahsoka faces off against in “The Jedi” was originally supposed to be a man before the design shifted to what we ultimately saw on screen. Some of the early concept art for the Magistrate as a woman was heavily inspired by Blade Runner, which looked incredibly cool. Filoni also reveals in one of the commentary panels that Jon wanted the magistrate to have a background in martial arts, which is how they eventually arrived at Diana Inosanto, who is the daughter of famed martial arts instructor Dan Inosanto.
The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 2 wraps up much in the same way as the second season of The Mandalorian, with gorgeous concept art for Boba Fett’s return to Jabba the Hutt’s palace, but most intriguingly—none of the concept art for this scene features Fennec Shand, which leaves readers to wonder when they decided to bring Fennec into the fun and games of The Book of Boba Fett.
Phil Szostak’s ability to create these books for Abrams Books is unmatched, and I’m hopeful that he’ll be tasked with the inevitable Art of Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett. These books are not only a beautiful book to display, but a wonderful piece of Star Wars history.
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Maggie Lovitt is a writer at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery.
In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.