As if working on a successful and visual effects–driven series like Game of Thrones wasn’t enough, Bauer finished his work on The Mandalorian, part of the Star Wars franchise and executive produced by Favreau, last year. “It’s amazing when you get Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic backing something,” Bauer says. “You’re going to hit that level of quality every time. We just worked our brains out on it.”
The show has been a big success, and extremely visual effects heavy. “There were so many shots this year that I took the first four episodes,” explains Bauer. “But there were, gosh, about four thousand shots. I think season three of Game of Thrones had eight hundred shots, but The Mandalorian, it’s just all visual effects. Even the stuff that was shot on the set, you end up doing something to it, so it’s very intense.”
Bauer has played an integral part in a number of revered films and TV shows, but working in Hollywood also comes with uncertainty and dry spells. “When I’m not working—I’m fine now—but I used to get a little panicked and a little edgy as people do,” he says. “But, if you really love what you’re doing, and it’s not just a job to keep bread on the table, if it’s like, ‘I am myself when I’m doing this,’ then you’re fine. I’d say in Springfield, I don’t know if it’s still that way, but you get a job, and you might change jobs three or four times in your career. I’ve gotten 20 jobs in 23 years or something.”
Next up for Bauer is Shazam: Fury of the Gods, and he and Henry are renovating a home on Lake Arrowhead, outside of L.A. He still gets to Springfield to visit his large extended family a couple of times a year, and he’s keeping one eye ahead to what is next in the story of his own life. “I always wonder… I’ve got seven more years of this in me, I moved out here when I was 29 and I’ll be 60 in August,” Bauer says. “All my friends are always talking about retiring now, but, you know, I only like doing this, so I’ve got to figure out what the third act is, you know?”
Chances are, he’s got the ingenuity and practicality to figure it out.