From Rocky to Star Wars, none have done it quite like Carl Weathers. The acclaimed actor has touched on everything from Happy Gilmore to Toy Story while also establishing himself as a renowned director. Wrapping up his fifth decade in the industry this year, he’s shown no sign of slowing down.
Playing a prominent role in the third season of The Mandalorian, Weathers has appeared as both High Magistrate Greef Karga and as a director in “Chapter 20: The Foundling” — his second directing credit with the show. In anticipation of tomorrow’s season finale, Hypebeast sat down with him to talk about everything The Mandalorian – covering past, present and future.
Walt Disney Studios
What was it like entering the Star Wars galaxy when you first signed on?
It’s tough because you’ve got a lot to live up to. You go into something that’s so beloved around the world and you realize people have so many strong opinions about what Star Wars really is. The first question was “How do we not screw this up?” The second was “How do you bring something to it that is fresh and true to what people have come to love while staying true to yourself?” For me, it was so exciting to be a part of it and such a challenge at the same time.
Working as both an actor and director in The Mandalorian, which role do you enjoy most?
I enjoy both thoroughly but I’ve fallen in love with directing. It allows me to provide my personality and artistic bent, there’s so much more opportunity to be creative because you’re really involved with the entire piece, working on every aspect of it. With such a fantastic crew, being a director in this process has presented me with a wonderful sandbox to play in and I’m so grateful to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni for having me be a part of it.
“So far — with two episodes directed — I’ve managed to not screw anything up so I’m feeling pretty good about that.”
This season, you directed “Chapter 20: The Foundling.” How did you approach telling this story?
With every show there’s a certain tone that is in the writing and with The Mandalorian it is very much what Star Wars already is, the job is not to mess it up. It is all about putting the pieces in the right place, supporting the talent to tell the story as artistically as you can. So far — with two episodes directed — I’ve managed to not screw anything up so I’m feeling pretty good about that.
Part of the episode prominently featured a flashback to Order 66, a moment many fans were thrilled to see. What was it like being able to turn back time and revisit that era of Star Wars?
For me, it was fantastic. It encompassed both a part of the lore of Star Wars and a segment that many fans wanted to learn more about and I had a great combination of both dramatic and action sequences to play with. I had the great honor of having Ahmed Best return to the Star Wars universe, creating a moment that people really loved — seeing him and Grogu together, that was perfect. I love what Ahmed brought to it, it was a great example of how you offer the opportunity to give a great performance and you can have success.
“I would love to direct a movie that centers around Greef Karga.”
If you could direct your own Star Wars story, what would it be about?
That’s tough. My initial response would be — in a selfish way — that I would love to direct a movie that centers around Greef Karga, covering his journey as High Magistrate of Nevarro. I love the issues of the pirates, Empire, resurgences, Moff Gideon — there’s so much good stuff in there. Those elements would be fantastic to put into one screenplay to see where Greef Karga ultimately winds up.
If you included a flashback to Karga’s younger years, is there someone you see playing him in your place?
I don’t know of a particular actor, it’d certainly depend on what age. But it would be cool to see him as a youngster. Diving into those formative teenage years, watching him learn both bad habits and good ones. See what transpires as a result of that as we build the man that we see today.
The season finale airs tomorrow, how does it feel to have things coming to a close for the third time?
As always, when you have success you want more. It’s bittersweet because you know that come next Wednesday, audiences aren’t going to be gathered to witness another episode. For those of us who are performing, we’re eagerly awaiting whether we’ll see a fourth opportunity to bring it all back again. But, at the same time, it’s really fulfilling to have gotten through three seasons now and still have people wanting more.
What’s next for High Magistrate Greef Karga?
Well, he’s a very ambitious man and a very capable one too. I can see him not only protecting Nevarro but becoming the tip of the spear in guarding the planet. If there are any entities that want to come in and take over, I don’t think Greef Karga is going to be a shy guy in stepping out front and putting on his battle gear.
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