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After roaming the globe delivering PPE, mysterious bounty-hunter-turned-public-health-advocate The Maskalorian has finally arrived in New York to battle the Omicron variant, delighting Star Wars fans and healthcare workers alike while distributing free KN95 masks for the public. 

Based on the title character in Disney+’s Star Wars prequel The Mandalorian, The anonymously presented, helmet-clad, and (unsurprisingly) masked figure appeared in Times Square and Midtwon last week, handing out and dispensing the benefits of masks to passersby, the NYPD, and subway riders. Spotting a familiar face in R2-D2 on the train (appearing here in the form of a backpack), he remarked, “Yes! I recognize an old friend! The only droid I’ve ever trusted.” The Maskalorian was accompanied by his trusty ward Grogu — informally known as Baby Yoda and here known as Little Masku — who also appears outfitted with a tiny mask. 

The Maskalorian went on to commune with commuters at Grand Central, congratulating masked travelers for taking the necessary precautions against COVID-19 and thanking transit workers for their service. Most reactions to the Maskalorian were positive — as, despite some initial confusion, most New Yorkers are used to being approached by costumed strangers in Midtown.

The Maskalorian is the work of Matt Adams, a former video producer at popular prank collective Improv Everywhere (known for their large-scale flash mobs and the once-annual No Pants Subway Ride).

After the initial success of Improv Everywhere’s shenanigans, Adams would go on to produce and direct a feature film about the troupe, entitled We Cause Scenes. The feature was selected to show at several festivals (including SXSW), and would eventually be distributed on Netflix, leading Adams to pursue a larger career in video journalism and production. Currently based out of Graz, Austria, Adams began The Maskalorian as a way to “help humanity with masks and a smile,” and to give plenty of performances of the Mandolorian’s catchphrase, “This is the way!” while handing out masks. Adams notes that “the project has gained close to 50,000 followers” on both TikTok and Facebook.

While it’s not known where the Maskalorian will appear next, his combination of humor and advocacy appears to have warmed the hearts of hardened New Yorkers — especially for one who, when asked what they would like to tell the city of New York, responded, “May the Mask Be With You.” And also with you. 

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