The one Emmy acting nomination this morning for Disney+’s The Mandalorian belonged to Giancarlo Esposito, who plays the series enigmatic baddie Moff Gideon who squares off with the title bounty hunter. Esposito’s nomination, out of the series’ 15 count, was in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama category.
What’s a Moff you ask? For the Star Wars faithful, it’s a select group of sector governors on the Imperial side, who are the villains in the franchise, and Esposito plays Gideon with such silent fierceness one wonders who is the more dangerous: Gideon or Esposito’s drug kingpin Gus Fring on Better Call Saul, for which the actor also earned a nomination today in the Supporting Actor in a Drama category. That brings his career Emmy nom count to four (three of those for portraying Gus).
One piece of Mandalorian‘s cliffhanger is following Gideon’s tie-fighter crash, he cuts a hole for himself out of his damaged spaceship with the famed darksaber, a weapon from deep-dive Star Wars mythology that drove fans nuts.
“You’ll see more of the darksaber, you’ll get the explanation of this ancient weapon to the modern world, a collapsed world,” Esposito said today. “Where did this saber come from and how was it revived? It’s a key in our second season, which will be back sooner than later.”
Season 2 is expected to be back this fall, but, how soon is soon?
“(The saber) is a key to Moff Gideon’s past, which possibly has a lot to do with where he comes from and his desire to build a planet and bring it back together,” added Esposito.
The darksaber was originally made by a Mandalorian and Jedi known as Tarre Vizsla. Following Tarre’s death, the saber was stolen by Mandalorians during a tumultuous time with the Republic. Long story short, the saber fell into the hands of Darth Maul (the villain from Phantom Menace) who won it after a duel with another Mandalorian who had possession of it, Pre Vizsla. Years later, during the animated series Star Wars Rebels, the saber was obtained by Sabine Wren, another Mandalorian, and Kanan Jarrus. Sabine handed it over to a fellow Mandalorian, Bo-Katan Kryze, and the big question for fans now has been, how the heck did Esposito’s Gideon get possession of it?
In regard to his inspiration for playing Gideon, Esposito gives full props to the late Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin in the original 1977 Star Wars movie. “You could always read his mind through his eyes. I took a look at the imagery of this supreme chancellor, which really helped me. He is a supreme being in a sense. He knows it, but not everyone in the universe knows it.”
Esposito teases, “What we don’t know is how extra special he is yet.”
While Mandalorian completed physical production on Season 2 before COVID-19, Esposito is waiting for the go ahead to return to Albuquerque for the final season of Better Call Saul, which possibly could start production in September.
Expressing the joys of reprising a more gentle facet of his notorious Breaking Bad character, Gus, which earned him his first Drama Supporting Actor Emmy nomination, Esposito says: “It’s interesting to go back in time and find a man who is brokering his power to fulfill his dream so that he can advance the cartel, and be more undercover as opposed to how it’s being run by Salamanca. Gus is a team player from the beginning, but he’s one of the cogs in the wheel as they unfold the show. We’re planting the seed for the audience to believe in Gus: He’s part of the organization, and picking partners within this particular cartel who he eventually wants on his team.”