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Return of the Moff: Giancarlo Esposito talks about his Emmy-nominated 'The Mandalorian' role

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Disney+(NEW YORK) — Without giving away any of the many surprises included the new episode of The Mandalorian, which dropped Friday on Disney+, we can say Giancarlo Esposito returns as the calculating Moff Gideon. 

The Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star earned an Emmy nomination for his character’s first appearances at the end of the show’s first season — and he’s back in a big way in the brand-new chapter. 

Considering he only appeared for a few minutes in total in the show’s inaugural season, Esposito answers “It sure did!” when asked if his Emmy nods came as a surprise.

“You know, I came into this show, I was asked to do it by [creator/writer] Jon Favreau and was so very excited to accept when I knew what the concept was,” he tells ABC Audio.  “And to play Moff Gideon was such a great challenge.

As a Moff, or Imperial governor, Esposito is following in the well-polished boots of another fine actor, who portrayed the icy Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars.

“I really respected a great deal, Peter Cushing, who was so aristocratic and political in his portrayal of a Moff. And I … went, ‘Oh, OK. So maybe they’re choosing me for my grace and aplomb and my good looks,” Esposito said with a laugh. 

He adds, “I wanted to bring…power to this character. I wanted to wonder what he really wanted.”

What Gideon wants is The Asset — the little critter we know colloquially as Baby Yoda, whose real name was just revealed to be Grogu. “When [Gideon] emerges to…find The Asset for reasons that he hasn’t really explained, we get some mysterious things going on,” the actor teases. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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