From the second The Mandalorian first dropped on Disney+ last year, it was instantly evident the show’s creators wanted to pay tribute to the years of Star Wars stories that have unfolded over the past 40-plus years. Though a significant chunk of that lore was decanonized after Disney purchased Lucasfilm in the late-2000’s, Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, and company have started picking pieces of the Extended Universe to reintroduce to Star Wars canon via The Mando, the latest being Season Two’s Dark Troopers.
Featured as a pet project of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), the Dark Troopers had a similar origin to their Legends counterparts in that the group was an Imperial unit in live-action also went through multiple phases of construction before being suitable for use — including a final phase that involved a trooper made entirely out of droid parts.
Towards the end of the Disney Gallery for The Mandalorian Season Two special, it was revealed the Dark Troopers weren’t entirely computer-generated by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the Dark Troopers — for the most part — were humans in practical suits with the only parts assembled by VFX vendors including the arm and leg joints, and tubing around the trooper’s necks.
“For our version, for the live-action version, we knew that they had to be performed by stunt actors and that demanded that we couldn’t modify the portions too much, and yet we still had to make sure that it looked like the original inspiration,” Mando production designer Doug Chiang said in the documentary.
“Moff is very different from Gus Fring,” Esposito previously told Variety of his character. “He wields his own darksaber. He does his own dirty work and is certainly willing to. He’s much more volatile, he’s much more of the warrior and that could tell us some things about him next season.”
“I’ve gone through two, three? Three and a half, I think I’ve broken already. But I go at it. Like, I go at it. I’ve broken few of them to the point where the [prop] guys, they love me. ‘Just so you know,’ they whisper to me, ‘we only have one more.’”
Both seasons of The Mandalorian are now streaming on Disney+.