news Giancarlo Esposito Couldn’t Stop Breaking Lightsabers on the ‘Mandalorian’ Set

Few actors make for more convincing villains than Giancarlo Esposito, so he made playing an evil Galactic Empire leader look easy on “The Mandalorian.” But his performance on the Disney+ series didn’t go off without a hitch: Esposito had to compensate for his inability to handle a lightsaber without breaking it.

Appearing on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” this week, Esposito explained that he was constantly breaking lightsabers while filming Season 3 of “The Mandalorian.” The problem got so bad that the show’s props department had to warn him that he was depleting their supply.

“I did break six lightsabers,” Esposito said. “The prop guy comes to me on the fifth one, and he’s sweating because he’s not telling anyone that I’m breaking them. He’s just shoving them away. He comes over to me and says, ‘I just want you to know I just have one more. You gotta be careful.’ Because you want to pull your shots. You want to be really careful, but you have to make it look good. We made it through and I got a great, great, great scene and I learned a lot.”

Fortunately, the last lightsaber made it through and Esposito was able to complete his Season 3 story arc as Moff Gideon. Many viewed the series finale as a farewell to his character (to the extent that anyone is ever really gone in the “Star Wars” universe). But even if this means goodbye, Esposito has always been open about how much it meant to play a nuanced “Star Wars” villain who wasn’t white.

“It means a lot to me because I’ve strived in my career to be colorless,” he said in an interview with IndieWire. “I am of mixed race, half Italian, half African American, and I grew through the period of time where I was relegated to playing thieves and thugs. I learned how to do a Spanish accent, to play Spanish street characters, who were murderers, killers, robbers, the like. So for me, it’s a crowning moment when I could get a phone call from Jon Favreau, to say, ‘I wrote a role for you.’”