'Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian': 'Star Wars' and its tradition of using World War II weapons for blasters
'The Mandalorian' based its weapon designs on World War II weapons, a 'Star Wars' practice that dates back to the original trilogy. The latest episode of 'Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian' delves into the full story, in an episode devoted to explaining the show's practical effects. 'The Mandalorian' is set not too long after the original trilogy -- just six years after the fall of the Empire in 'Return of the Jedi.' This is very little time for technological advancement, especially in the Outer Rim of the galaxy where 'The Mandalorian' is set. That means that the weapon designs for the show had to match that particular timeline, and property master Josh Roth explains just how they went about doing that.
"One of the things that was a great challenge for me with this project was how do we make props feel like they fit in the right timeline? We're very close to the original trilogy, and I did the research to try and figure out, how did they create some of these iconic blasters?" he said. "They rented surplus weapons from World War II, and modified them. Because they were a rental, they were only allowed to do certain modifications, they couldn't completely change the blaster."
Fans who look closely at the weapons from the original trilogy might be able to spot gun weapon designs, with extra gear tacked carefully on top of it to make it all look futuristic -- meaning that the original trilogy used real guns. The budget for the original films was so low that making all-new designs just wasn't a possibility. Even with a vastly upgraded budget for 'The Mandalorian,' however, Roth still had to match the show's weapons to the original trilogy's, to capture the feel of old-school 'Star Wars'. "We went with that same technique in our design. I found vintage weapons from World War II that had shapes and unique stuff that I thought would work well for this universe. We presented the illustrations with those weapons, and they were ecstatic, and I knew that we were on the right track."
However, the most recognizable firearm in the show isn't based on a World War II design at all, but takes cues from the infamous 'Star Wars Holiday Special.' The Amban Phase-Pulse Blaster, the Mandalorian's (Pedro Pascal) signature weapon. The rifle still has elements of World War II weapons in its design, however, with its updated design based off of the Cycler rifles wielded by the Tusken Raiders in 'A New Hope.'
The next episode of 'Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian' airs June 5, on Disney+.