‘Taking me for a ride:’ ‘The Mandalorian’ actress talks the Armorer, MegaCon Orlando debut

Emily Swallow, who plays the Armorer in the ‘Star Wars’ show, will be appearing at MegaCon Orlando April 1-2

Emily Swallow, who plays The Armorer in "The Mandalorian," spoke with News 6 about her role and upcoming appearance at MegaCon Orlando. (Diana Ragland)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Emily Swallow’s acting trajectory is one for the books, of Boba Fett or otherwise. She’s gone from playing Ewok adventures as a child in her backyard to donning the Mandalorian suit as one of the stars in the hit Disney+ series of the same name.

The actress, who will be appearing alongside several other “Star Wars” giants at MegaCon Orlando later this month, is no stranger to fandoms, though.

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She’s appeared in a number of beloved series, taking on the role of FBI special agent Kim Fischer in “The Mentalist” and none other than God’s twin sister herself in “Supernatural.”

“I love all my fandoms equally, I have to say that, but ‘Star Wars’ is so special just because it spans so many generations,” said Swallow, who plays the Armorer in the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian.” “And it is remarkable to me that, you know, I was born while the first trilogy was coming out and there’s never a time in my life when ‘Star Wars’ did not exist.”

Emily Swallow will be appearing alongside several other “Star Wars” giants at MegaCon Orlando later this month. (MegaCon Orlando)

Swallow credits the sci-fi franchise’s heart and soul for helping the stories survive and evolve through the years.

“Through these decades, the technology has improved. Now we’re at this point where we’ve got the volume, which is incredible, and it looks even better. But still, what endures I think is the heart of the movies,” she said. “Like, I don’t think it would still be going if we weren’t... connecting to these characters.”

Her character in particular, a de facto leader of the Mandalores and stalwart champion of their creed, is one that’s transfixed audiences.

It’s a role shrouded in secrecy, even for Swallow, in part because the keepers of the franchise, showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni, keep future plot points and twists close to the chest. In fact, Swallow said her character was originally meant to die sacrificing herself in the Stormtrooper fight at the end of season one.

But things changed.


Emily Swallow, who plays The Armorer in "The Mandalorian," sat down to talk with News things about all things acting, Star Wars and MegaCon Orlando.

“You kind of just have to make friends with the fact that you’re not going to be allowed to know everything. Normally, I like to know as much as possible about a character’s history and a lot of very personal details about them, but I feel like the Armorer exists in service of Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal) and in service to the Mandalorian people,” said Swallow, hinting at the special bond she shares with the titular character.

But that hasn’t stopped Swallow from crafting her own backstories for the Armorer, a part unlike any other the NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate said she’s played.

“I have sort of come up with different foundlings (children adopted by the warriors of Mandalore) that I think I might have helped along the way and come up with more specific stories for that because... she talks about the foundlings a lot and I think that she must have formed more personal relationships with some of them along the way... She’s taking me for a ride,” she said.

Swallow added it’s interesting and challenging to play a person more stoic than she is, limited in her movements and expressions by the armor and helmet, an attire she’s developed a love-hate relationship with.

Emily Swallow will be attending MegaCon Orlando, which runs from March 30-April 2. (MegaCon Orlando)

“Any of my friends will tell you that I am not somebody who sits still. I’m constantly going, I’m constantly moving, I’m constantly wanting to do more,” she said. “(But with the Armorer), I really have to trust a lot of economy of movement and simplicity. And when I’m most worried about, ‘But what if they don’t know what I’m thinking?’ ‘What if they don’t know what I’m feeling?’ I have to actually do less. And that is such a gift to me.”

Swallow studied Samurai warriors to help master the gracefulness and dignity the character demanded. Extra movement at the wrong time, she added, could be distracting and lead the audience to believe less in the character, so subtlety is key.

She likens it to the same command a magician has when they’re getting the audience to look where they want them to at any given moment.

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But these tricks of the trade aren’t limited to her work in the “Star Wars” universe. She’s also a student of Shakespeare and the stage, a background she said lends itself to both discovery and self-improvement.

“Shakespeare I think is a wonderful foundation for anything because the language is so complex, and there are so many ideas that build on each other. And there are so many long thoughts that you have to make the energy of the thought carry through all the way to the end or else it doesn’t make sense,” Swallow said. “I always learn the most when I’m doing theater, I think, partly because it’s just, there’s the repetition of it. You get to spend so much more time with a group of actors on a particular text and so you get so much deeper into it.”

Emily Swallow is known for her roles in "The Mandalorian," "The Mentalist," and "Supernatural." (Diana Ragland)

And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also waded into the world of voice acting, most notably in “The Last of Us Part II,” the sequel to the fan-favorite game following hardened survivor Joel and 14-year-old Ellie, who may be humanity’s last hope, as they journey across a post-outbreak America.

“I am obsessed with being in season two because people keep asking me that. I feel like it’s a natural connection,” Swallow said. “Maybe I could do a scene with Pedro (Pascal), y’know? Because we did ‘The Mentalist’ together and ‘The Mandalorian’ together. Why not make it a trifecta?”

For now, though, you can catch her at MegaCon Orlando, which runs from March 30 - April 2 at the Orange County Convention Center, where she will be signing autographs, taking photos with fans and belting out some karaoke.

“I love that I get to see entire families who come to the conventions and like the babies are in cosplay, the grandparents are in cosplay. And it’s so much love throughout the fandom and so much good being done,” Swallow said. “I love that they have built this community around their love for these stories, and they’re just spreading all sorts of good in the world. It’s so much fun.”

For more information on MegaCon and what to expect, click here.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.