Hollywood Legend Carl Weathers Breaks Down ‘The Mandalorian’ and High Magistrate Karga

Very few names have persisted in the medium of film and television the way Carl Weathers’ name has. From playing Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, to hunting Predators with Schwarzenegger, playing golf with Happy Gilmore, and now ruling over a planet in a galaxy far, far away, Weathers’ name and reputation as one of the greatest genre franchise stars on the planet cannot be disputed.

And now, on the day of The Mandalorian Season 3 finale, a show in which Weathers not only stars as Greef Karga, but has also directed for, we’d love to bring you our exclusive interview with the man, the myth, and the legend himself!

Adding to an already impressive resume of complex heroes, Weathers’ portrayal as Karga has been met with praise since his introduction in the very first episode of The Mandalorian way back in 2019, even leading to an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series during Season 2. Originally set up as a low-life head of the Bounty Hunters Guild, Karga’s character has been one that has grown significantly over the past three seasons, developing into one of the most mature and interesting characters on a series known for interesting characters. The character’s honorable but ruthless demeanor has won its way into the hearts of fans, and Weathers’ performance both on camera as the character, but also behind the camera as a director, has been a highlight for this stellar series.

(L-R): Nevarro copper droid (Chris Bartlett), Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Here’s what Weathers had to say about this season of The Mandalorian:

NOC: I gotta be honest, this is a huge honor and and privilege for me, I’ve been a fan of yours for so long. I’ve followed you through the Rocky days, through Predator. Most of my childhood was spent watching you. And now here you are, a significant part of Star Wars. And it just brightens my day to be able to speak with you, sir!

Weathers: Mike, let me tell you something: you have just made my day with that complement, okay? I appreciate it more than you can imagine. The idea is to really try to move fans in a way that they fall in love with what I’m trying to do as an actor. And now as a director. So I appreciate it!

I gotta be honest, Greef Karga for me, has been one of the most interesting and complex characters, with the best story arc so far on the show. Where we see him in Chapter 1, to where we see him now in Season 3 — he’s just become a very different but amazing person. As a director, but also as an actor, how much of the change in Greef came from you, versus Jon and Dave?

Wow! Well I have to give the writers and creator all the credit for taking this story forward of Greef Karga, and giving this arc to them. And then I have to be very selfish and saying that I am such a great performer that I delivered that and more. Writing is basically a very challenging enterprise. And to do it well is even more challenging. But it doesn’t matter at the end of the day what the words are on the page if the actor cannot deliver and put some meat on the bones so to speak — get some blood coursing through the character in that performance. So I’m really fortunate in that Jon and Dave have written really good stuff. And really fortunate that I’ve been able to deliver that and more, so that fans can really fall in love with this character and see him as an integral part of this story.

(L-R): Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Nevarro copper droid (Chris Bartlett) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

He really is, and your performance sells it. What you’re doing in the first episode of this season and the fifth episode as well, it’s fantastic to see how far he’s come. I really have to say, your episode “The Foundling” was one of my favorites this year. And you were giving a sizable mythology chunk to reveal who saved Grogu at the temple. And it ended up being a surprise to everyone, but a warm and wonderful one because of Ahmed Best, who returned to the franchise. What was it like when Dave and Jon gave you this big secret, and said ‘Hey you’re filming the episode where we’re going to reveal this, and you’ll be working with Ahmed?’

Wow, I wish it was as exciting as you had presented it. It wasn’t much like that really. It was that, when I got the script, I, you know, saw an opportunity there for a great dramatic action sequence. And I love that kind of stuff. It’s been basically my stock and trade for 50 years as a performer. And of course, since 1993 I became a director, and it was the kind of material that sparks for me. So for me, it was another great challenge for how to do this. And in that sequence, it’s the most rewarding part was the reveal of Kelleran as he stepped into the light when Grogu’s in the elevator. Because I envisioned it being, when the elevator doors open, you expect Grogu to be attacked. And who steps in? Kelleran saying everything’s going to be alright. It’s such a cool way of revealing him and having him return to Star Wars. So I approached it the way any director would. How do you deliver the dynamics? Where do you put the camera to make this work? And obviously then, you have the producers and editor and production team to fill in the blanks and make it work for you. The combination of all the people involved makes that sequence work. I’m really really pleased for Ahmed, and how people praised him and The Mandalorian creatives for providing that for fans.

Jedi Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Absolutely. And if I can ask one final question: Now that Dave is going to be taking the story of The New Republic to the big screen, and now that your teeth are cut within the directing world for Star Wars, I gotta ask is a Star Wars movie next for you?

From your mouth to God’s ears, Mike! I would love for that to happen. But I’ve learned so much from this franchise and being involved with Jon and Dave, and of course, the great cast and crew who have been magnificent. I would welcome it. I would be so appreciative if I got the opportunity. And I know I’d have one bang up fun time doing it!

(L-R): A design droid, Civic Engineer (Maya Ramsey), Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Civic Engineer (London Kim) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Well we’d both welcome you as Greef Karga in the movies and as a director on a future movie as well! Carl this has been so wonderful and I’m so grateful for the time we’ve had together!

The Season Finale of The Mandalorian is out on Disney+ today, April 19! And don’t forget to go back and revisit all of Weathers’ exploits as Greef Karga from the entire Mandalorian series, now streaming on Disney+!