Amid the turmoil most production companies are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing the implementation of health and safety guidelines might lead to is an increase in the number of entertainment projects set underwater or in outer space (or in any other setting where a protective suit and helmet would be mandatory, really), making for settings where cast and crew would inherently be a bit more safeguarded. A similar security blanket, unique to the show, will likely also ensure that the production of the third season of The Mandalorian will remain largely unaffected and on schedule.
As Murphy’s Multiverse referenced a couple of months ago the groundbreaking technology used in the making of Star Wars’ first live-action tv series could be of great use during these trying times for the entertainment industry. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, when asked about the challenges that the show might have to face when the time comes to shoot season 3, executive producer Jon Favreau had this to say:
The fact that the set is much more contained is a benefit, because you can limit the number of people. A lot of the people controlling it are doing it remotely from what we call the Brain Bar, which is a bank of gaming computers, essentially. The amount of people near the camera could be much smaller than [usual]. We also shoot a lot outside, which is helpful, too. We build to a moment in filming more like an animated production, where we have a lot of storyboards, a lot of discussions and scouting in virtual reality. We use cinematic tools in VR much the same way we did for The Lion King and The Jungle Book. A lot of times the actors you are seeing on the screen aren’t actually there on set.
So being, “The Volume” (the name given to the soundstage where most of The Mandalorian is shot) proves to be ahead of its time, in more ways than one. It was initially conceived as a way to streamline the shooting of a show that involves a whole lot of VFX and off-world locations, and the ability to change environments at the click of a button revealed itself to be tremendously effective, making it a winning play for Lucasfilm as the show’s tremendous reception reflected. It has also demonstrated that having such a tool that allows to reduce location shooting while creating a protective bubble around cast and crew alike is surely invaluable in today’s landscape, especially at a time when the limitations productions are facing are still far too many and most are playing catch-up, trying to understand what crews can and cannot do with the current health concerns.