The Mandalorian: Giancarlo Esposito discusses the second half of season 2
The Moff Gideon actor on his character's season 2 journey, his new Darth Vader-like armor, and that Baby Yoda egg-eating debate.
Four-time Emmy nominee Giancarlo Esposito made his return to The Mandalorian last week as the villainous Moff Gideon. While we've barely glimpsed the Darksaber-weilding galactic warlord so far this season, some new light was shined on his mysterious plan for The Child in Chapter 12, "The Siege" (spoilers). Our heroes led by The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) broke into an Imperial station and discovered Gideon wants The Child's blood for its "m-count" (midi-chlorians, presumably) for some sort of lab-clone experiment. Plus we learned Gideon's now backed up by a squad of formidable dark troopers. Below, Esposito teases the secretive back half of season 2 of the Disney+ series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why do we always have to wait so long to see you each season?
Giancarlo Esposito: They're dangling the carrot. They want you to be surprised. I think part of it is that they're stringing out the penultimate showdown that happening between certain characters. But I hope that everyone gets excited when I finally get into the season. Also, I think it's partly a design of the construct of the show – you focus your attention on the journey. Let's see where The Mandalorian and The Child will go and what their allegiances may be as they flow through that.
But it looks like we’re getting more of you, this season, overall, given the way things are going?
It seems that way. But I have a feeling you'll see more of me next season. More than likely you're going to see a lot of Moff Gideon. I can't be sure of that, but it seems as though this iconic journey that they want you to feel it. I think you're going to start to see other storylines start to creep in. When we start to realize there's such a deep connection [between the show's storylines and] the rest of the galaxy and what's really happening. Maybe you'll get an inkling of what he wants.
The show seems to be telling us that Moff Gideon wants The Child's midi-chlorians, perhaps to make his own line of Force-sensitive super-soldiers. Can you say if that theory's in the galactic ballpark?
Well, in the galactic ballpark, I think we're all trying to figure out what does he really wants. Somewhere in my brain, I hold out something and he has some kind of ethical consideration here. When people flow out of control and there are all these different Moffs who've been assigned different areas to be wardens of, isn't there one person or someone that may have guidance over all of them? They're questions that are answered. It could be super soldiers. It could be that he wants to save the galaxy. Also, why does Moff Gideon know everything about what's going on everywhere? He has some kind of incredible intelligence source. So I always hold out that there may be an altruistic reason that he is taking control or trying to. Certainly, the child represents the possibility of a new humanity of a new consciousness.
Fans noticed your armor this season has a breastplate not entirely unlike that of Darth Vader. What are your thoughts on that?
I love making that connection! It's any adult manchild's dream come true to be equated in a certain way with Darth Vader. But I don't wear a helmet. I don't know what the storyline might bring up in regard to Moff Gideon's relationship to Darth Vader. But I certainly correlated one in my own brain.
I feel like, at this point, there's also a part of you that wants to play the good guy.
You know, we all have our dark and our light side. And then we justify our reasons for doing what we do. We don't know what his reasons are yet. But for me, to make him a well-rounded human being, there has to be some kind of consciousness within me that allows me to go, "Maybe there's something there that he really wants to do that will help people." It could be doubtful, but it could be true as well. He's playing a long game and I think that's why you see me interspersed in this season the way I am.
Speaking of dark sides, what’s your take on the greatest ethical debate of our time: Is Baby Yoda terrible for eating Frog Lady’s eggs?
No, I don't think so. Baby Yoda is a very pure spirit, and yet 50 years old, so he's someone who's very highly intelligent, but also has to survive. And we need to keep that baby happy. We've all fallen in love with The Child and The Child has some compassion and is funny and is absolutely the cutest thing you've ever seen.
Did you do any different training or preparation for this season?
We jumped right in on this one. I trained my attitude and I'm a physical actor so I do things to keep my body high and tight, and thank goodness I did, because as you will see in episodes to come I have a certain physicality to exude.
Is there anything else you'd care to add, or tease about the episodes moving forward?
I'll tease the past. We are able to refer to the historical nature of mythology that has already been laid down in previous Star Wars incarnations. This particular incarnation allows us as family members to really plant the seeds to realize a more cohesive world. So I love the fact that we're in such a futuristic show that throws back to the history and knowledge of what a warrior really is and where the line between good and evil sometimes gets blurred with desire. It allows me to dream really big and to realize that no matter what we want to do in life, if we have the aid of people and entities that share the same feelings, then there's hope again.
So there's going to be a lot of battles and stormtroopers and all the dark troopers – everyone will get involved. We're all in a fresh new place to bring it home. I'm so excited to be a part of the show that is the best there is.
The Mandalorian releases new episodes on Fridays on Disney+.
The live-action Star Wars series follows a lone Mandalorian gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.