‘The Mandalorian’: Did Disney Lie to Fans With the Show’s Marketing?

Director and writer of The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau, should be given major credit for managing to keep one of the biggest pop culture secrets of 2019. How he managed to convince Disney to forgo any reveal of Baby Yoda and create misleading trailers to make The Mandalorian look like something else is something demanding a possible book someday.

While one could surmise Disney could have created Baby Yoda toys in secret, they decided to refrain immediately to avoid any potential for leaks. As a result, Disney lost millions of dollars this holiday season having to wait a year to get Baby Yoda products onto toy shelves.

Maybe the Mouse House is also wondering how fans feel about being lied to in the trailers for the show. Can it really be called “lies”, or just necessary in a time when media secrets potentially happen in an instant?

Will misleading trailers be the norm in the age of media leaks?

Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau onstage
Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

As Screen Rant pointed out recently in an editorial on the subject, almost all of The Mandalorian trailers from earlier in the year made it look like the story of Dyn Jarren was strictly about him. There was also a message sent that fans would see more of characters like IG-11, Cara Dune, and even other sideline characters like Moff Gideon or Fennec Shand (played by Ming-Na Wen).

These latter two characters probably won’t debut until late into Season One, but the biggest surprise was seeing IG-11 shot down by Dyn Jarren in Ep 1. After the buildup of the droid character being an extensive sidekick, it opened the doors to Baby Yoda entering the picture instead.

Not that each episode doesn’t have some predictable moments. For instance, in the recent Sanctuary, it tried to give the implication Dyn Jarren was going to leave Baby Yoda behind on Sorgan with the farming community. Anyone watching who shouted “I don’t think so” knows by now Baby Yoda is the real center of importance in this story.

So did those misleading promo trailers for The Mandalorian set a new precedent, or just an annoyance in pulling the rug out from viewers?

No highly-anticipated media property will probably have an accurate trailer again

Most Star Wars fans would likely argue The Mandalorian trailers had to lie to keep the story a surprise for fans. Besides, it didn’t deviate so much where it made fans angry. This is still a story about the adventures of a rogue bounty hunter with a lot of stunning twists and turns along the way.

Producers have probably had enough in the age of media leaks to a point where all hotly anticipated media properties will have to lie to viewers when releasing preview trailers. Leave it up to Jon Favreau to set this precedent since he’s been setting numerous ones in Hollywood for a few years now as a director, producer, writer, and CGI pioneer.

The biggest problem is how the trailers for the second season of The Mandalorian will be handled and if they can be believed when promoting further plot developments. Despite this series creating new high-bars in how to handle trailers, it set a tough precedent for itself in keeping viewers interested.

Because Disney is putting out Baby Yoda merchandise next holiday season (with a few things out this year), they may play up The Child in next year’s Season Two trailers. However, they may hide some things again if Favreau decides to bring other surprise characters into the mix.

All trailers should be taken with a grain of salt

While a few trailers sometimes reveal an entire movie from beginning to end, the big franchises are far more careful. In upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, the trailer for that was likely just as misleading in revealing the entire scope of the epic wrap-up story.

Don’t be surprised to maybe see a connection to The Mandalorian in some subtle way so Star Wars fans can have some connective strings along with additional surprises no one saw coming.