“The Mandalorian” is the gift that keeps on giving for the series creator, Jon Favreau.

In an exclusive video given to ET Canada on behalf of the AFI Awards, Favreau admits he was surprised to see the younger generation diving in and embracing his Disney+ series.

We’ve always known that we’d connect with people who grew up with ‘Star Wars’, but what we didn’t count on is that their kids would also want to sit on the couch with them. To me, that’s the real gift because I remember when I saw ‘Star Wars’, I was with my Dad and I felt like it was the freshest, newest, most technologically groundbreaking piece of film that was out there,” Favreau said. “And it was, but what I didn’t understand is that my Dad recognized the storytelling, the archetypes, all the tropes, and the myths. It was all very familiar to him. It’s that combination between that something new and something old, together.”

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Favreau was particularly excited about creating “The Mandalorian” because unlike the “Star Wars” films, he was given a creative opportunity to play with different genres that add elements of shock and surprise every single week.

“Part of what television has to offer is that every week there should be some sort of revelation or surprise,” Favreau said. “Having Mark Hamill de-aged to reprise his role as Luke Skywalker in the final episode of this last season, as you can imagine, we were biting our nails to the bitter end to hope that it was [kept] a surprise.”

Jon Favreau.
Jon Favreau. — CPImages

“And what’s commonly referred to as Baby Yoda, that reveal is in our first episode and none of the marketing material or the posters had Baby Yoda in it, it was just ‘The Mandalorian’ for the first season, and as soon as that baby popped up, everyone was like, ‘I got to be part of that experience of discovering this together.’ And I think that’s something that television does for you, that I enjoy as an audience member, is conversation between the filmmakers, the storytellers, and the audience,” he added.

The Disney+ original series is also AFI’s Movie Club selection of the day due to the series ability to “thrive beyond the Skywalker saga.”

“’The Mandalorian’ shows us the way. Jon Favreau and his visionary collaborators prove the power of ‘Star Wars’ to thrive beyond the Skywalker saga. Set far, far away from the central battle between good and evil, this intoxicating adventure expands the galaxy with heroic purpose and a genre-busting narrative all its own. In these dark times, Baby Yoda and this larger found family of icons glow with a warm, laser-like light to prove that the Force will be with us – always,” the American Film Institute said.

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In another exclusive video for ET Canada, Pedro Pascal, who plays the title figure, accepted the AFI Awards honour on behalf of the entire creative ensemble.

“I am honoured ‘The Mandalorian’ has been selected as an honoree at this year’s AFI Awards,” Pascal said. “Being on the set of ‘The Mandalorian’ is like being placed in the very centre of your childhood dreams. Everything that you end up seeing on Disney+ is exactly what it looks like on the set. You are around the very best people in the industry and you get to see people do their best work in every department, and to be around that kind of energy of people that love so much what they do so that when we see it as an audience, we can travel way beyond this world and into all of these other galaxies, is something that’s great for our imaginations as children and great for our imagination now.”

“On behalf of the entire creative ensemble, I know we are proud to be recognized by AFI, and proud to share our story with you today,” he added.

The AFI Awards celebration is sponsored by Audi, a supporter of AFI programs for the past 17 years. To commemorate each of the AFI Awards recipients, Audi has created the AFI Awards Audi Scholarships initiative providing scholarships in the name of the honorees to women and BIPOC Fellows at the AFI Conservatory – for a total contribution of $250,000. Congratulations to Augusto Garcia, Cinematography Fellow, recipient of the AFI Awards Audi Scholarship in the name of AFI Awards Honoree “The Mandalorian”.