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‘The Mandalorian’: What we know about Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars series

Star Wars is one of Hollywood’s biggest movie franchises, and now Jon Favreau’s upcoming live-action series The Mandalorian is looking to become a streaming hit. The series for the Disney Play streaming service apparently has the blessing of franchise creator George Lucas to go along with one of television’s biggest budgets.

Favreau posted a photo of himself with Lucas on the set of The Mandalorian, which appears to be rolling along in its production quite smoothly these days.

The photo was taken on Favreau’s birthday (October 19), making the visit from Lucas one heck of a gift, given Favreau’s well-documented love for the sci-fi saga.

A few weeks earlier, Favreau posted another image from The Mandalorian on Instagram, and it featured a full look at the rifle the series’ title character will wield in the show.

Star Wars fans were quick to point out that the rifle looks similar to the one carried by Boba Fett in the much-maligned (and justifiably so) 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, which first introduced the popular bounty hunter to the sci-fi saga’s universe.

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That particular rifle was later identified as an “Amban phase-pulse blaster” in the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game, according to fan site Making Star Wars, which took a deep dive into the weapon’s background in the franchise.

The very first image from The Mandalorian was revealed on StarWars.com on October 4, and was accompanied by a list of directors who will helm various episodes of the series.

The list of filmmakers includes Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), with veteran Star Wars director Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels) directing the first episode of the show.

Favreau revealed the title and first details about the series on Instagram, posting a block of text in the iconic yellow-on-black format that traditionally introduces each chapter of the Star Wars saga.

Titled The Mandalorian, the series is expected to be set seven years after the Battle of Endor in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi and feature new characters to the Star Wars universe, many of them created via CGI and motion-capture technology similar to what Favreau used in his live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book for Disney.

“After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe,” reads the synopsis posted by Favreau. “The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic …”

In August, it was reported that the series will have a budget of approximately $100 million for its first 10-episode season, according to The New York Times. That number puts it on par with some of the most expensive series made in recent years, including Game of ThronesThe Crown, and Star Trek: Discovery.

Last year, HBO made headlines with the news that the final season of Game of Thrones could cost the network more than $15 million for each of the six episodes that will conclude the hit show’s run (for a total budget of approximately $90 million). Also raising the bar was Star Trek: Discovery, which reportedly cost CBS between $8 million and $8.5 million an episode for its first, 15-episode season, bringing its total budget to more than $120 million.

Possibly the highest series budget of all time, however, is the $1 billion Amazon Studios is reportedly paying for five seasons of an upcoming series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga.

Favreau is an executive producer on the Star Wars series and penned the script for it. The series will debut on Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming video service scheduled to launch in late 2019, but it’s uncertain exactly when it will premiere.

The live-action Star Wars series was first announced in November 2017 and is one of several projects set within that sci-fi universe currently in various stages of development or production by Disney. The studio is also in the midst of shifting many of its existing projects toward its streaming platform, with big-screen releases moving to the platform after their theatrical runs, and various shows expected to move to the platform or debut there in the future.

There is no official release date set for the live-action Star Wars series at this point.

Updated on October 22, 2018: Added a photo of Jon Favreau and George Lucas on the set of the series.

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