Here in the Disney era of Star Wars, we expect tons of crossovers. It worked for Marvel, so Disney seems to want that same multimedia dominance. Or, if you want to be less cynical, the fact that we have Star Wars fans like Dave Filoni directing Star Wars leads to greater cohesion. Kind of like how we saw a specific KOTOR mission referenced in The Mandalorian season two’s opening episode. Today’s episode also linked to video games, but in a much stranger way.
It turns out Janina Gavankar worked as a puppeteer on episode three of The Mandalorian season two, “The Heiress.” Who is Janina Gavankar, you might ask? She played Iden Versio in the story mode of Star Wars Battlefront II. Iden Versio is a special forces Stormtrooper active during the fall of the Empire. She is initially tasked with preparing for the Empire’s resurgence after the Battle of Endor, but eventually defects to the Rebellion. Gavankar’s likeness and voice were used for Iden Versio.
So how did Gavankar end up working a puppet in The Mandalorian? And what does it have to do with Iden Versio? Nothing, really. Gavankar revealed in an interview with IGN that she was asked to work nostrils for the fishy mechanic who “fixes” Mando’s ship.
The mechanic’s species is called Mon Calamari, and this Mon Calamari was worn by special effects artist Frank Ippolito. Ippolito and Gavankar have worked together before, and he apparently needed some extra hands to come work the Mon Calamari’s head. The headpiece of the costume needs two puppeteers, Gavankar said, so Ippolito invited Gavankar to operate the nostrils.
Gavankar also said that she was recognized by several people on set for her work as Iden. Filoni himself apparently noticed her presence and was confused. When Gavankar explained she was only there as a puppeteer, Filoni’s response was “one of those ‘of course you are,’ kind of things.” So, for now at least, Iden Versio is not appearing in The Mandalorian. But she’s there in spirit, every time that Mon Calamari flares his nostrils in judgement.
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