Look, it’s Plo Koon!

Okay, so obviously you can see that it’s not. That’s Luke Skywalker making his shocking cameo appearance in the Season 2 finale of The MandalorianAs it turns out, it was harder to keep Mark Hamill’s appearance on the show secret than it was de-aging him so that he looked the way he did some 35 years ago in Return of the Jedi. After all, Season 2 of The Mandalorian featured “surprising” appearances by Ahsoka Tano and Boba Fett, and word of those roles leaked out well before their episodes aired. But Luke remained a total secret.

How did Lucasfilm pull off the surprise? The process is revealed in detail in the new episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, which is all about the show’s finale and the logistics of the Luke cameo. While the actual technological process is fascinating — it involved the use of doubles, deepfakes, and deaging technology — the lengths the show went to hide Hamill’s role is way more interesting.

As it turns out, no one was allowed to say the words “Luke Skywalker” out loud for months while the Mandalorian crew worked on the show. Even the scripts for the episode did not mention Luke. Instead, his role in the script was filled by another Jedi; a character from the prequels known as Plo Koon. If you watch the episode of Disney Gallery, you’ll even see the crew members on set calling the character Plo Koon instead of Luke Skywalker.

To ensure low-level crew members didn’t leak Luke’s role, they also created fake Plo Koon concept art, end credits paintings, and assorted other special effects, just as they would have if Plo Koon really was going to be the one to take Grogu at the end of the episode. It was all very extreme, but it all worked — no one knew Luke going to appear (or that Mark Hamill was involved) until the day the episode aired.

The Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian all about the Season 2 finale is now streaming on Disney+.

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