According to stunt performer Lauren Mary Kim, the Armorer’s fight scene in the season 1 finale of The Mandalorian took over 400 takes to film. Kim was the double for actress Emily Swallow during the memorable fight when the fan-favorite character single-handedly took out five Stormtroopers in the span of about twenty seconds.
Though the Child (a.k.a Baby Yoda) tends to dominate the spotlight, the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian built up a colorful cast of characters across its first eight episodes, and the Armorer is arguably the most intriguing of them. The leader of protagonist Din Djarin’s tribe of Mandalorian warriors, the Armorer is a mix of wisdom, poise, and mystery, embodying the creed of her endangered religious order. After appearances in “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian” and “Chapter 3: The Sin” that establish her authority while revealing very little about her backstory, she returns in “Chapter 8: Redemption” as the only member of Djarin’s tribe left in their hideout. While there is hope that some escaped off-world, most of their kinsmen were killed by Imperials after they gave away their position to ensure Djarin’s escape with the Child.
Kim praises second-unit director Dave Filoni, whose background is with animated shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for wanting to capture every interesting moment of the sequence. Elsewhere in the discussion, she describes how the scene required “positive contact,” going against the usual stunt requirement not to land blows, and reports that the Stormtrooper armor kept the other performers uninjured. Despite restricting motions and sightlines, she considers the Mandalorian armor pretty practical, and she gives a detailed breakdown of how the Armorer’s fighting style is based around the Filipino martial art Eskrima.
More than just offering insight into how The Mandalorian approaches fight scenes, this discussion with Kim highlights what works about this fight in particular. Fans of action movies and TV are well aware that filmmakers will often use cuts to cover up an actor’s lack of skill, and the general consensus is that longer takes make for more exciting sequences. The Armorer’s fight offers a way for cutting to enhance the action by showing its best moments from the best angles, without taking any shortcuts on the production end. For some, knowing that it was filmed in a series of single takes won’t be enough and they’d prefer to see it play out unbroken, but it came out looking impressive either way.