The Mandalorian premieres later this fall on the brand new streaming service Disney+. Up until now, the Star Wars saga included only a few Indigenous actors in its story. Yesterday Deadline reported  Julia Jones was cast in The Mandalorian in an unknown role. She joins Maori actor/director Taika Waititi as the only Indigenous actors on board with the series.  

Familiar Faces

Jones has Native American heritage and is known for portraying many Native American roles in film and television.  Fans may know Jones best from the Twilight Saga as the only female member of the Wolfpack, Leah Clearwater. Since then, she appeared in Native American roles on Netflix’s Longmire, and most recently HBO’s Westworld. Her film credits include Wind River and Winter in the Blood. Her character in the series has not been named. Entertainment Weekly released the photo below, featuring Jones.

The Mandalorian First Look

Gina Carano, Julia Jones, and Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian. Melinda Sue Gordon/Lucasfilm Ltd.

If you haven’t heard the name Taika Waititi by now, then you have been missing out. Waititi made a splash in Hollywood after directing Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok. Since then he’s been everywhere. Not only has he joined the cast of The Mandalorian on top of directing an episode, he is also directing Thor: Love and Thunder, adapting Flash Gordon for an animated movie, and he is in talks to star in the Suicide Squad sequel with much more on the way. Waititi is believed to be voicing the character IG-88, a bounty hunting droid first seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Waititi and Jones are well known in Indian country.  It’s great to see more Indigenous representation in a story that I love. Including Indigenous actors in long-standing mainstream stories are long overdue. I’m so excited!

The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, and Omid Abtahi. The live action Star Wars series premieres on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

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Noetta Harjo
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