How The Mandalorian Breaks TV's Cardinal Rule

Feb 22, 2021
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The Mandalorian: Can a masked man show emotion?

The most compelling and emotional on-screen moments usually involve a close up of an actor’s face. And yet, the main character in The Mandalorian barley takes his mask off and still makes us feel things. We’ll explain how that's possible in this Wisecrack Edition: How The Mandalorian Breaks TV's Cardinal Rule.
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=== Watch More Episodes! ===
How The Mandalorian Kills the Past ►
Star Wars: An Apology ►
Star Wars: The Tragedy of Episode III ►
Written and Hosted by Michael Burns
Directed by Michael Luxemburg
Editing by Mark Potts
Video Title Card by Amanda Murphy
Produced by Evan Yee

#starwars #themandalorian #wisecrack
© 2021 Wisecrack / Omnia Media, Inc

  • Your explanation and analysis gave me an incredible appreciation of theater, movies, and science fiction. You do this so well. I am amazed by your completeness in research of the visual arts. Thank you. I am a scientist.

    Jeurel SingletonJeurel SingletonDay ago
  • It's also the Kuleshov effect. The associated shots, music, circumstances get the audience to project emotion to an otherwise expressionless subject.

    David GarciaDavid GarciaDay ago
  • I like how the to-camera parts aren't annoying at all with these videos. Helps that he's cute as a button

    Glenn DaveyGlenn Davey2 days ago
  • "Yugen, an aspect of Noh, can be thought of as the umami of emotion." needs more Japanese words.

    Spriteless MyselfSpriteless Myself3 days ago
  • I would state V for V for Vendetta, but his voice showed A LOT of emotion.

    William PlaudWilliam Plaud3 days ago
  • The plural form of Jedi is Jedi....

    XL DubXL Dub3 days ago
  • Well the Clone Wars has a lot of characters that break that Cardinal Rule... A Whole Army's Worth...

    J. DelJ. Del4 days ago
  • its also important to note that the expressiveness despite a lack of face is aided by the camera work and editing since we're able to use context and recognize patterns of film language we've been exposed to over the years. its essentially the kuleshov effect, natural human pattern recognition, and music/narrative association combined with everything mentioned in the video.

    mintyglitchesmintyglitches5 days ago
  • baby yoda is the only good thing about the Mandolorian.

    TheJasonmorettiTheJasonmoretti6 days ago
  • Honestly Star Wars has kinda already done this with the clones. They all had individual personality’s under the helmets. And you began to recognize them from their markings on the helmet

    cmcdermott85cmcdermott857 days ago
  • Check out “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud. It is a better tool of understanding what we see. The emptiness is filled by our own imagination. And the less detail, the more we identify ourselves with that character.

    Al CamAl Cam8 days ago
    • @scottmccloud

      Al CamAl Cam8 days ago
  • lol pedocard gj

    ano nymusano nymus9 days ago
  • Masked Acting is extremely hard to make work. You need a talented physical actor and a great director. My 2 favourite instances of masked acting are in ROTJ, just before Vader saved Luke and when Mando is about to leave but decided to save Grogu instead.

    EastCoastLifestyleEastCoastLifestyle11 days ago
  • i am the raccoon coo coo cachoo

    staples homecentrestaples homecentre12 days ago
  • just say "noh"!

    Moby t.Moby t.15 days ago
  • Some stories are better without the face... Halo for instance it's like saying you can't understand John 117 because you don't see his face. Which is bs....

    Sean PruittSean Pruitt17 days ago
  • Almost all the examples mentioned (in a good way) in the video are also very thoughtful, well-written works. As the video also mentions, the direction is top-notch as well. The prequels were (arguably) well-directed, but the dialogue didn't match what the audience wanted, and therefore failed. The prequels have aged well, though FOR ME. I enjoy them more now than I did when they first came out.

    Ken MeredithKen Meredith19 days ago
  • All that sequel bashing wasn’t necessary.

    RedCaioRedCaio20 days ago
  • "We See 3P0" was great.

    Jordan McLaughlinJordan McLaughlin21 day ago
  • I wish every episode was not written from his perspective. Imagine an episode seen from the side of his opponent? he is a terrifying force to be reckonned with.

    anonomous anonomousanonomous anonomous22 days ago
  • I think you should have mentioned how the show is basically a Western, and Westerns tend to use a restrained palette of emotional expressions, or perhaps I should say, the hero tends to be spartan in his expressions.

    John KeckJohn Keck22 days ago
  • Not directly related to anything in this vid, really, but I think one of Mandalorian's strengths is that it forces us to think about the people under the masks. Star Wars has always had a lot of masked characters, mostly bad guys. Having us get to know a masked character, to see him as a real person and not just the mask, makes us think the same about the stormtroopers and TIE pilots and so on who get mowed down. Not only does that make us think about whether we're really okay with seeing these people getting murdered in various horrible ways, it also makes us _enjoy_ seeing some of them get murdered even more - specifically, those two arsehole Scout Troopers from the season 1 finale.

    Werrf1Werrf127 days ago
  • A new hope? Noooooh.. ^^ I feel like Clunt Eastwoods emotional minimism is also in the mix

    Colin BennettColin Bennett29 days ago
  • I call baby yoda Gringo because i forget his name and baby yoda implies that he is yoda as a baby

    Elliot HellyerElliot Hellyer29 days ago
  • *facepalm* because hana literally means flower

    Andrei PufuAndrei Pufu29 days ago
  • now do how Disney broke starwars

    Alex PachecoAlex Pacheco29 days ago
  • By not being "on TV"

    Robert ZeiglerRobert ZeiglerMonth ago
  • Do a video on lovecraft country.

    Laroyal MarshLaroyal MarshMonth ago
  • Mandalorian peaks when there are no human faces and barely any dialogue, like the first few episodes of the first season. Just weird landscapes, intriguing races and misterious cultures. As soon as it became a "human focused" story the show started to drag. Cara Dune is the absolute worst, with that constant smirk that reminds me of garbage TV shows like Xena.

    oktchauoktchauMonth ago
  • I realize Noh's influence on Power Rangers now.

    Elan'Elan'Month ago
  • Well, between Bunraku, Noh theater, Lone Wolf and Cub manga and film, Kurosawa, etc., Disney's cultural appropiation from Japan is so vast they're gonna have to cancel themselves...

    PD ZombiePD ZombieMonth ago
  • One of the things that always impressed me about Darth Vader is how he manages to show So Much Emotion without us ever seeing his face. And not just basic emotions either, but complex, subtle emotions.

    Cowgirlcadet 1701Cowgirlcadet 1701Month ago
  • The Mandalorian was stunning 👍👍

    Red Jet 7059Red Jet 7059Month ago
  • Please do a philosophy of the weekend

    Blessing FakudzeBlessing FakudzeMonth ago
  • Anything that makes the director care more about character-focused emotional camera work is a good thing.

    RJ EhlertRJ EhlertMonth ago
  • Loosing the mask will ruin the series. Being enigmatic is the whole point.

    AllanAllanMonth ago
  • While I agree they were emulating classic japanese narratives in The Mandalorian, it also had some really inadvertedly Tokusatsu momments, specially when several mandalorians teamed up. Bobbing their helmets up and down to communicate, very Power-Rangery

    Diego SartoratoDiego SartoratoMonth ago
  • I feel like we actually connect to Mando more because of his helmet... like in emotional scenes as we don't see his face we have to imagine what he is feeling and we project our feelings or the feelings we would feel in that situation on to his character. On top of this we have a great voice acting and physical acting to help, but I think we feel more of a connection because we are forced to imagine what he is feeling. I'm no psychologist but I feel like that sorta makes sense

    Ethan ReesEthan ReesMonth ago
  • whats the deal with power rangers/super sentais heavy gesturing tho

    dino thunderdino thunderMonth ago
  • Mandalorian broke a big Star Wars rule by NOT turning the new movies into fucking remakes! That's why Episode VII is the worst Star Wars movie, because it marks the moment when the creators just said "Eh, fuck it, we don't even have to try!". That said, not sure if Luke's cameo is a good thing, it smells of the old "not needing to try" mentality that brought down the new movies.

    Rui PedroRui PedroMonth ago
  • Well yes, but noh.

    Javed AhmedJaved AhmedMonth ago
  • Emotions can be shown through more than just your face. It's just shows how great of a show that the mandalorian is because you don't need to see Mando's face to know what he is feeling

    MericanJoeMericanJoeMonth ago
  • Not a single mention of Eisenstein. That's unexpected.

    skepticallypwndskepticallypwndMonth ago
  • Are you forced by contract to copy the other guy accent? I just don't buy it that you to talk the same way

    Tobe DossTobe DossMonth ago
  • I didn't know poor actor directing was now called noh

    Vitor OrtonaVitor OrtonaMonth ago
  • "Darth" isn't a name. It's a title. 🤦‍♂️

    Christopher FoxChristopher FoxMonth ago
  • May the force be with you always

  • Pedro and his stunt doubles do such an amazing job communicating emotion through nothing but body language and it kinda blows me away.

    Ioi LeilaniIoi LeilaniMonth ago
  • 2:41 So he's subscribed to MatPat?

    TheWeirdNerdTheWeirdNerdMonth ago
  • Makes me remember V for Vendetta. The character was very expressive, and also had subtle movements.

    MateusMateusMonth ago
  • OH oh I know this one uhh. Being Good?

    Dat catDat catMonth ago
  • Always love Michaels videos

    James WuJames WuMonth ago
  • 4:23 Nah, you're fine. Filoni already said that it's fine to call Grogu "Baby Yoda".

    LecTriXxLecTriXxMonth ago
  • One of my favorite examples of this is when a desert thug holds baby Yoda hostage for Mando's jet pack. After making sure he's OK, Mando just let's the thief take off, activates the pack. Then after awhile he finally falls to his death. Baby Yoda just does this slow emotionless turn to look at Mando who just does this very minor shrug. Then the jetpack sloooowly comes down.....and falls over. That scene destroyed my sides

    David KnightDavid KnightMonth ago
  • I think Dave Filoni really started experimenting with this in the Clone wars where all the clones had helmets on for most of the show. While they took them off for key moments, Dave and the animators were able to create an incredible amount of emotional attachment with the clones throughout the series

    swole quoleswole quoleMonth ago
  • only a philosophy channel would talk about the importance of face-to-face interaction for 12 minutes and not once mention psych and neuroscience, which, you know, provide the underpinnings for these systems?

    iansteelmathesoniansteelmathesonMonth ago
  • Baby Yoda is the correct term.

    Naveed HasanNaveed HasanMonth ago
  • Like how Hayden did not show one once of emotion for the entire prequels yet we still felt how coarse sand truly is.

    DaytronDaytronMonth ago
  • that 'D W Griffith is Awful' tag was kinda....lame and unnecesary. (Added by the editor, the producer, the author?) yeah, Birth of the Nation is justifiably criticised today, but without explaining what exactly is 'awful', or, more importanly,, WHY its 'awful', the claim is just lazy, empty lip--service. Many are going to assume that he's an 'awful' film-maker, which of curse is untrue. I enjoy your channel, but that sort of enforced (and i'm loathe to use the term) political correctness, devoid of context, is tiresome. At this rate, no-one is going to be able to mention anyone from the past who transgressed conteprary norms (i.e. all of them )without a lengthy disclaimer and a vapid expression of self-righteous indignation that serves only to diminish and trivialise the issues. Rant concluded.

    ben prastitisben prastitisMonth ago
  • I should dislike and report this video just for that awful pun 11:25

    Ricardo MoralesRicardo MoralesMonth ago
  • They already screwed it up so bad with the firing of Gina! I doubt that it will go past season three if there is even a season three, I took Disney and dropped it over what was done. Calling The Muppets racist is just Icing on the cake.

    George SemelGeorge SemelMonth ago
  • American problems require American solutions.

    Felix MinglFelix MinglMonth ago
  • it makes me sad you have to advertise for credit companies.

    654pedro123654pedro123Month ago
  • The helmet IS his face.......

    Barry VercueilBarry VercueilMonth ago
  • Would you consider doing an analysis of Little Nightmares 2? It seems ripe for analysis and is very popular right now.

    Matthew EricksonMatthew EricksonMonth ago
  • This is possible because emotion is conveyed more by the tone of a scene than whatever the actors are doing.

    Sid ZeroSid ZeroMonth ago

    Julia MayJulia MayMonth ago
  • I honestly was constantly disappointed by how much they showed Tony Stark's face when he was in his armor in the MCU. Now I understand why.

    Mr. PtolemyMr. PtolemyMonth ago
  • 10:40 earned my like

    Chompt DownChompt DownMonth ago
  • No mention to Red Vs Blue? Characters are super expressive and never take their helmets off

    Patricio BastonsPatricio BastonsMonth ago
  • When it comes to things like the Mandalorin, Bane, or Dredd. The mask in a sense becomes their face because there is a specific reason for hiding it. And to see them without the mask seems invasive or wrong.

    Sarifa XionicSarifa XionicMonth ago
  • Can you guys please do an episode on The Expanse that show is so good

    Supernova ProductionsSupernova ProductionsMonth ago
  • It's body language, which at one time we were evolved to read, but society is breeding it out of us.

    Christopher FieldsChristopher FieldsMonth ago
  • Make a video on Gina Carano case.

    Charanjeet SinghCharanjeet SinghMonth ago
  • The actual cardinal rule for any entertainment is: "Don't be boring." Viewers decry talking heads in media all the time. We could be staring at the back of the main character's head for the entire broadcast so long as the story intrigues us. Seeing actor's faces just makes that easier to accomplish. The fact the audience can't see Mando's face allows us to project out own feelings and motivations onto the character, thus creating the emotional connection.

    WJCuffeWJCuffeMonth ago
  • V for Vendetta Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Purge Friday the 13 there are so many... Heck the rule should be, if you want to create interesting content HIDE the face

    Ibis FernandezIbis FernandezMonth ago
  • About D.W. Griffith, he is on a long list of artists whose work was exemplary or even groundbreaking, as in Griffith's case, but who were a-holes in their real lives (or produced work that was both groundbreaking and despicable at the same time as with Griffith). Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Picasso, Lionel Barrymore, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Chevy Chase, Mel Gibson and oh, so many others are on this list.

    Glicksman1Glicksman1Month ago
  • I always liked Iron Man as a kid but didn’t know why, Stark is a true hero suited up or not

    Thirty and RetiredThirty and RetiredMonth ago
  • I could just feel the emotion through his mask. I loved every single second of the series.

    Darth BaneDarth BaneMonth ago
  • Baby Yoda ftw!

    Matthias MatssonMatthias MatssonMonth ago
  • Red vs Blue did this years ago

    Caleb ProutyCaleb ProutyMonth ago
  • What drives me crazy is that people label episode every episode as "filler" just because something astronomically huge doesn't happen.

    samsamMonth ago
  • "How The Mandalorian uses a technique that's also been used in many TV and films", what? Great episode, just... that title...

    pingosimonpingosimonMonth ago
  • I swear wise crack has some of the best hosts like literally non of them are bland

    Imagination .Imagination .Month ago
  • great video the only thing that was missing is the fact that the masks themselves have meaning and express a certain emotion or state of mind in Noh theater and I can't help but feel that mando's helmet does much the same with its design to me it expresses a calm cool and collected person regardless of any adversity to the point where I don't need to see his face cause I know that even underneath the helmet it is much the same but hey that is just me

    TheCreepyproTheCreepyproMonth ago
  • If you can emote while wearing a mask that completely covers your face, you are a master of the craft of acting.

    jesternariojesternarioMonth ago
  • Goblin Slayer be like

    Lancelot4Camelot - Knight of CecileLancelot4Camelot - Knight of CecileMonth ago
  • I disagree him not showing his face is the best thing about mando I hated when darth vader showed his face same goes for kylo ren and mando him being mysterious is why the show is so popular in my opinion and it will be easy to recast him as long as the mask stays on at all times especially knowing that other mandalorians take their mask off he should be the one that doesn't at all

    Rob smileyRob smileyMonth ago
  • Another great faceless performance is by Jeremy Renner in The Town, when he and Affleck don some hockey masks to go "hurt some people."

    RuffShotsRuffShotsMonth ago
  • Ben doesn't kill the students. Comics confirm he wasn't involved.

    Melody AckermanMelody AckermanMonth ago
  • I just loved how they built up the importance of Mando covered up his face to build up the emotional impact of the final scene with him and Grogu 😭

    rpandya97rpandya97Month ago
  • Some people freaking out about Mando not showing his face didn't watch RvB for 17 years and it shows

    Sargon Of ACABSargon Of ACABMonth ago
  • I see not even going to bring up the 3rd most popular character in Cara Dune .. Disney trying to act like Cara Dune never existed

    Majic NinjaMajic NinjaMonth ago
  • This is just more mask worship from a dupe who still believes in government propaganda.

    Jeremy ClineJeremy ClineMonth ago
  • Loved this video. Great insight into subtlety in Star Wars, something that sometimes I think a large part of the fans miss. Thank you.

    Nélia M. TulikNélia M. TulikMonth ago
  • Please do a DEEP OR DUMB or an analysis on the newest anime: “Wonder Egg Priority” it’s REALLY good and tackles many subjects in an abstract manner

    Pierre HarbinPierre HarbinMonth ago
  • Vader emotes really well through body language in Empire Strikes Back, I like at the end when the Millennium Falcon gets away and he stares off into space, turns away, looks back, then walks off.

    The Eternal WandererThe Eternal WandererMonth ago
  • Please review "I care a lot". You'll have fun tearing it apart.

    Mar TovMar TovMonth ago
  • Let’s not forget the Halo Series lol

    Scarbr1Scarbr1Month ago
  • i freaking lost my mind when Luke came to take baby yoda, i was samething like ''WTF! please tell me Ben will/has not kill baby yoda!!!'' Kylo Ren is my favorite caracter in the sequel trilogy, i don't think i could like him anymore if he actualy killed baby yoda :O

    Cristina ClaudiaCristina ClaudiaMonth ago