The Mandalorian has always put its concept work front and center—from behind the scenes looks in shows like Disney Gallery, to literally every episode of the series itself, since its end credits highlight the concept work that helped bring what you just watched to life. Now, as we journey through the second season, a new art book is looking back on season one, and we’ve got a look inside.
io9 is excited to give you a sneak peek at The Art of The Mandalorian (Season 1), by author Phil Szostak—he of many, many, many incredible Star Wars artbooks—and published by Abrams. Taking a look into the process of creating a new live-action Star Wars story for the small screen, the book is filled with concept art not just like the ones we saw in every credits sequence, but explorations and experimentations that helped scope out designs for fundamental parts of the show.
Everything is in here, from the forging of Mando’s ship, the Razor Crest, to his own pre-Beskar look, and, yes, an exploration of how the designs of Baby Yoda would come to be one of the cutest little things in the galaxy far, far away.
Check out our exclusive preview below—with art by Ryan Church, Brian Matyas, Jama Jurabaev, and Christian Alzmann—including scenes from the first season, Razor Crests that might have been, and a much more patchwork look for the shadows of the Empire in some very beaten up Imperial Remnant Stormtroopers. Oh, and of course, a few pieces of art dedicated to your son and ours, Baby Yoda.
“I played within the armor color spectrum because, at least at this point, Jango Fett is the only canonical live-action example of unpainted beskar steel. So, I wanted to push it: ‘Can this metal be a dull brass matte sort of sheen? Something a little bit darker?’”—Matyas
“I was still changing up some of the armor, like the chest pieces being more classic Mandalorian and then playing with a different color for the T-visor, which I’m actually glad they didn’t go with. There’s something about gold and silver together, even with jewelry, that doesn’t quite work for me.”—Matyas
“Jon [Favreau]’s design brief was the A-10 Thunderbolt ‘Warthog,’ which I know extremely well. That’s my favorite plane. When I was a kid, I would steer the family vacation to the Tucson air show, the main A-10 pilot training base. I got to sit in the cockpit and everything. The Warthog almost looks like a Star Wars vehicle, if you painted [it] the right color, because it doesn’t have anything compound about it. It’s all simple shapes. And that’s the difficult thing about using the A-10. It’s so conventional: wings, fuselage, and engine. It ends up looking like a toy if you’re not careful. It’s got to look at least as distinctive and odd as the Slave I. Is this the Slave I’s brother vehicle? Is this another Mandalorian vehicle? But, by then, I knew I couldn’t do those big weird shapes because that’s not very A-10.”—Church
“I might try and reintroduce these decommissioned stormtrooper designs in some way for Season 2. I would still love to see some of the layering, the guerrilla fighter idea.”—Matyas
“ At one point there was a big old tree right above the entrance to the mudhorn cave. I ended up shooting the scene where he goes down to the cave. I shot second unit on every single episode in Season 1. My perspective on how the cave should be shot hadn’t changed from my early storyboards. But I talked with Rick Famuyiwa and he was all for it. The clarity of what Jon wrote leads us all to the same ideas.”—Dave Filoni
“I did two versions of this realistic kidbaby. And the third was the one. I immediately had an idea when Jon said he wanted it to be more puppetlike, one of those rare lightning-strike moments. I looked a lot at J.C. Leyendecker’s babies. He has this certain way of doing massive cheeks on babies. I was also thinking about old Warner Bros. cartoon characters, which had those same cheeks.”—Alzmann
The Art of The Mandalorian (Season 1) hits shelves on December 1.