REVIEW: ‘Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian,’ Episode 5 – “Practical”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Practical - Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian

The fifth episode of Disney+‘s Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, entitled “Practical,” focuses on the practical effects used to create The Mandalorian. Essentially, while “Technology” demonstrated the new electronic advances used to create the environmental atmosphere of The Mandalorian, “Practical” shows the team’s dedication to puppetry and miniatures.

This episode is a phenomenal experience. “Practical” does not just include behind-the-scenes footage and explanations of how The Mandalorian was created — it also shows footage of miniatures and puppetry on the set of the original Star Wars trilogy. Plus, just like every other episode, it features roundtable discussions and one-on-one interviews with the directors, actors, and special effects experts who helped make the TV show come to life.

One of the reasons I loved “Practical” is because it shined a light on workers who typically go unnoticed, both in terms of actors and special effects experts.

In fact, “Practical” introduced me to someone that I had no idea even existed on set — Misty Rosas. While Nick Nolte provided the voice of Kuiil, the Ugnaught famous for letting us know he has spoken, Rosas was the person actually in the suit on set. However, even still, it was not a one person job. Rosas had to work with puppeteers who were controlling the Ugnaught’s facial expressions throughout the scenes.

This was a role on set that I didn’t even know existed. For some reason, it never entered my mind that someone may actually be in the suit, which, looking back on it, was a bizarre assumption to make considering the well-known history Star Wars has with creatures like the Ewoks or even Kenny Baker and R2D2.

I loved that Rosas was given her time in the spotlight, as well as the puppeteers that helped create the visual personality of a complex character like Kuiil. Knowing just how many people it took to create the character, from Rosas to her puppeteers to the voice of Nick Nolte, gave me a greater appreciation of Kuiil and the crew that put him together.

This episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian also showed off the Razor Crest miniature used in a couple of scenes throughout the show, although it was mostly used for off-camera lighting references. While there wasn’t too much of a focus on the miniatures, it was still awesome to see Star Wars sticking to its roots with these tiny ships. I appreciated the recognition of the miniature artists and the discussion of how the miniatures of the original Star Wars trilogy continue to inspire the special effects experts, even in scenes that use CGI instead of practical effects.

Of course, the episode on practical effects also had to include one very important member of The Mandalorian — Baby Yoda. This was, by far, the standout portion of the episode.

“Practical” gave the audience an in-depth look at the team that put together the incredibly famous Baby Yoda puppet and how he was controlled on set. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes footage of the puppeteering team with their enormous remotes showing off how they moved the baby’s eyes, ears, and mouth. It was honestly incredible to see how these scenes would have been shot, as each worker was assigned to just one section of the baby’s body and had to work together with everyone else to create vivid and believable movements.

Plus, the episode touched on the relationship between Werner Herzog and the puppet, a relationship that went viral online last year as stories came out about how attached Herzog was to the puppet and how he talked to Baby Yoda as if he were a real child. It was not just funny to watch the interview with Herzog praising the puppet, but a testament to the work of the effects team who put it together and the phenomenal job they accomplished.

Overall, “Practical” was a fantastic episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. The interviews and roundtable discussions were thorough and explained exactly how the practical effects were put together while showing an appreciation for the history of George Lucas’s effects on his Star Wars trilogies. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes footage of the Baby Yoda puppet, as well as the miniature Razor Crest and the animatronic mask for Kuiil. “Practical” is a must-watch for Star Wars fans new and old, especially those enchanted by the work on the original trilogy.

Practical
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

“Practical” was a fantastic episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. The interviews and roundtable discussions were thorough and explained exactly how the practical effects were put together while showing an appreciation for the history of George Lucas’s effects on his Star Wars trilogies. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes footage of the Baby Yoda puppet, as well as the miniature Razor Crest and the animatronic mask for Kuiil. “Practical” is a must-watch for Star Wars fans new and old, especially those enchanted by the work on the original trilogy.