Giancarlo Esposito On Filming SW’s First Live-Action Darksaber Scene

EXCLUSIVE: Giancarlo Esposito recals his strenuous experience filming the first live-action Darksaber fight scene in The Mandalorian season 2.

Venerable actor Giancarlo Esposito recalls filming Star Wars’ first live-action Darksaber fight scene in The Mandalorian season 2. The actor stars in the hit science-fiction series as the Imperial villain Moff Gideon. The ruthless officer of the splintered Galactic Empire relentlessly pursued the young Jedi apprentice Grogu to deliver him to Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) for experiments pertaining to the transference of Force sensitivity in a mysterious cloning operation.

Season 2 found Moff Gideon successfully capturing Grogu and holding him prisoner on his spaceship. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and his rag-tag crew, consisting of fellow Mandalorians Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks), assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and former Rebel Shock Trooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano), infiltrated Gideon’s ship and fought to free the child. However, Din and Gideon went toe-to-toe in one-on-one combat, with the Imperial officer using the famed Mandalorian weapon the Darksaber and Din wielding a beskar spear he obtained earlier in the season from Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson).

In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Esposito recalls his work filming the Darksaber fight with Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 2. The actor shares his appreciation of Lateef Crowder, one of the stuntmen who played the titular hero during complex and dangerous sequences. However, he found Crowder rather imposing for the bout, since he was a far more muscular, younger, and spry challenger. Regardless, Esposito was up to the task and enthusiastic about his first Star Wars saber battle. Check out his comments below:

On takes, [Lateef] had a helmet on where he could [see very little]. That’s all he could see, right? And we had every move down. And not to say I was being dangerous, but to be surprising, I went around that in his blind spot and tapped him once. Then he missed once and hit me directly in the head. I have no helmet and went flying backwards, and the whole set — Jon, Dave — [GASPS].

And as I’m going backwards, “Cut the camera!” and I flipped back up, got my saber and started to go back at him without a pause. We were really in it. We didn’t hurt each other, thank goodness. We would retire to chairs on the side, we would swallow aspirin together, share water and what’s that little Hypervolt? He said, ‘You want this?’ And we took the Hypervolt because we were both beat up. It was a great scene, and I had so much fun working with the master.

Esposito’s recollection of the battle is both enthusiastic and humorous. The actor seems to genuinely appreciate the challenge of facing off against one of the industry’s top stuntmen in a sword fight that left real wounds. Esposito admitting that he and Lateef used the Hypervolt percussion massage gun reveals that both actor and stuntman gave it their all in the performance. Their commitment to the scene paid off, as the fight is one of the stand out action sequences in The Mandalorian so far.

The Darksaber first appeared in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and is described as an ancient weapon forged by the first Mandalorian Jedi known as Tarre Vizsla. The weapon was wielded by multiple characters throughout its franchise history, including Darth Maul, Sabine Wren in Star Wars: Rebels, and Din Djarin after he defeated Gideon in battle. The unique saber is considered a sacred heirloom in Mandalorian culture and will most likely play a major role going forward when The Mandalorian season 3 premieres on Disney+ in February 2023.

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