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The Mandalorian: “No one can read my poker face”

It’s time to address the elephant in the room. Namely the helmet itself, as the third season of The Mandalorian centres on Mando, a.k.a. Din Djarin, seeking atonement for removing the helmet. How is it possible that the audience fell madly in love with a figure whose face has barely been seen in an era. Where the majority of superheroes casually pull their helmets on and off with the push of a single button (yes, Marvel, I am talking to you)? The Mandalorian has taught us the subtle skill of using a metal bucket on one’s head to convey complicated emotions. It’s not always Pedro Pascal wearing the helmet.

The helmet has long been a standard in movie costume design.

But it presents the challenge of concealing the character’s face from the audience as well as from potential damage.

While some films are able to strike a reasonable compromise by providing an inside look at the helmet so the audience can keep tabs on the character (think of Tony Stark in Iron Man). Others feel the need to physically and emotionally remove the character from the armour. Despite how crucial the helmet is to the plot or the character’s backstory. Notably, the recent Halo (Paramount+) TV adaptation has demonstrated that the audience, in particular the fan base. Might feel animosity at such a handling of the iconic masked figures.

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The Star Wars franchise has a lengthy history of featuring characters who rarely wear masks that go off.

The list of iconic helmets and masks in the Star Wars universe goes on and on, and we haven’t even mentioned the abundance of stormtroopers. Examples include Darth Vader’s life support system. The symbol of the Mandalorian warrior culture. Even those numerous aliens and robots (C-3PO in the original trilogy was played by actor Anthony Daniels in a bulky suit). Although none of these characters have human faces or feelings, they are all incredibly well-rounded and adored. So what’s the trick to creating a character without using the face too much as an expressive tool?


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