What’s Up With The Mandalorian‘s Bounty Hunting Droid & That Big Episode 1 Twist?

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+.
Warning: Mild spoilers for The Mandalorian are ahead.
Disney+ is officially live, and fans are swarming to their devices to stream hours upon hours of television and film content on the app. Star Wars enthusiasts who could tune in to the new programming turned their attention to The Mandalorian, the fresh Disney+ series that takes viewers deeper into Star Wars lore.
The first episode of The Mandalorian introduced us to the time after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In this time period, we meet a bounty hunter simply referred to as "the Mandalorian" or "Mando" (a masked Pedro Pascal) who is journeying through the galaxy on an important mission. On his journey, the Mandalorian comes across a bevy of interesting new characters, including what fans are calling a "baby Yoda" and droid with a familiar lilt: Bounty hunter droid, IG-11.
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Who Voices IG-11?

Like the Mandalorian, IG-11 is also after the baby Yoda, a.k.a. The Asset, but the droid is far more willing to bring the child in dead, rather than alive. Despite this difference, they decide to try and work together (albeit temporarily) to capture the asset. And if IG-11 sounds familiar, it's because you've definitely heard his voice before: It's that of Taika Waititi.
The quirky New Zealand filmmaker and actor is no stranger to the world of Disney. Waititi made his Disney (affiliate) debut in the 2017 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Ragnarok, which he also directed. In it, he played the role of friendly Kornan gladiator Korg (a.k.a. the big blue rock guy).
Waititi's infectious energy and creativity impressed Jon Favreau so much that the Mandalorian showrunner was eager to bring him onto the team behind the Disney+ series. "[Waititi] is such a powerhouse right now, creatively," Favreau said during an October press conference for the show. "I think everyone is really discovering what a talent he is."
Favreau, who had previously collaborated with Waititi during their time with the MCU, was moved by the triple threat's roots in the comedy world as well as his obvious love of the Star Wars franchise. "He brings his style of humor to it, but he also was a fan," the director said. "To me, that was the bottom line."

Is IG-11 Really Dead?

However, as those who've finished the first episode know, the droid ends up with a laser-shaped hole in his head — is he really gone so soon? There is some hope, perhaps, in the fact that Waititi compared his character to the Terminator, in a recent interview with Variety. It's possible he was referring to the droid's combat style, but evoking the image of a killing machine that just won't die certainly seems significant.
But, if IG-11 is actually a goner, fans take solace in the fact that a later episode of The Mandalorian was directed by Waititi, so he'll be back in spirit.
The fate of his character may still be up in the air — the minds behind the Star Wars show are notably tight-lipped about what's to come in new episodes and its already green-lit second season — but it looks like Waititi will always have a place on set of The Mandalorian, as a droid or a director.
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