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The Man behind Mandalorian

by Buddy Lord

Everybody recognizes the beautiful face of Pedro Pascal, but the usual guy beneath the Mandalorian helmet and armor has roots that are as deep in Hollywood as the proverbial river runs wide.

Meet Brendan Wayne, the grandson of cinema icon John Wayne. Brendan was only too excited to be part of Star Wars film and television history:

“It was a dream to work on this because I was able to live what brought me to acting every day,” he said. “I got to get on a landspeeder; I got to have my own Razor Crest. To be part of the mythology that you grew up with that was integral to you as a kid — it was really cool.” – Vulture Magazine 12-9-19

His acting career

Brendan has been a working actor his entire adult life. He didn’t inherit his Grandfather’s stature, John was 6’4 and Brendan is 6’0; but despite that he’s clawed and scratched a living in the hellish Hollywood landscape as well as anyone could.

His mother made sure that he was classically trained, saying that just because he was the Duke’s grandson, didn’t mean he would have anything easy. He was trained the old school way; and because of that Brendan can fence, ride a horse, shoot a gun, and project his voice – which comes in handy when he’s speaking through a helmet.

He’s taken those lessons to heart and worked hard, earning him the favor of many a director, including Jon Favreau. Jon and Brendan worked on Cowboys and Aliens together, and since Mandalorian is a Western, Jon reached back out to his friend when someone was needed to don the armor and helmet as a double.

 

His life as the Mandalorian

Brendan shares the suit with three other doubles and Pedro himself. Most of the time, the doubles and Pedro come to Brendan to learn how to talk, walk, and gesture. He feels fortunate for every moment he gets in front of the camera. Maybe it makes him feel closer to his family, to his Grandfather, like someone climbing a mountain just to be among the clouds, because it’s the closest they can be to the sky with their feet still on the ground.

Bryce Howard, seeing Brendan so comfortable in the armor and in her eyes in-tune with the character, asked him what he thought the Mandalorian would act like when she directed ‘Sanctuary’. He shared with her his understanding of the character, which lead to a fantastic scene. The one where Omera reaches up to take off Din’s helmet, gently gesturing him to give up his rogue ways and settle down with her, Brendan himself was tearing up under the helmet. Bryce teased him that she wanted to see his face and take a picture, but like the old fashioned guy he is, he pleaded with her to let him keep it on, saying – ‘I don’t want my kids to see me cry’

His legacy

While sitting at home with his 10 yr old, watching the second episode of the series, Brendan felt second fiddle to Baby Yoda. But he was still on screen for his daughter to see him, and he still got to share that moment with her – One that he can keep forever.

It’s moments like these where I hope that despite his lack of celebrity, he feels fulfilled in the choice of career he made. That he would find connection with his Grandfather and his storied legacy — not by following in the Duke’s footsteps, moments or memories;  but instead by making his own.

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