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Mania Interview: Dave Filoni on Clone Wars
A Mania Exclusive!
By Robert T. Trate
September 16, 2010
The third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is upon us. Last season, we learned that there were other villains just a vile as the Sith. New heroes also emerged, and more importantly, the Mandolrians came into the fray. The series truly has come into its own and delivers mythic story telling on the small screen week after week. Mania had the pleasure of sitting down with supervising producer, Dave Filoni, for an exclusive interview to talk about the show.
Mania: Since it is the thirtieth anniversary of The Empires Strikes Back, what is your favorite moment?
Dave Filoni: As a kid, the big impression was definitely the snow walker battle. The Hoth snow battle is something that people have been trying to re-create in different forms. It was such a great thing to see. As kid, you would see those walkers and think dinosaur-robot-Empire win. It was automatic. As an adult, you start to appreciate the total nuance [Irvin] Kershner brought to the whole thing in characters like Chewbacca and R2-D2. They emoted far more than they did in previous films. Then the “I love you… I know “scene with Leia and Han is the greatest way to express that in a Fantasy/ Sci-Fi epic. It took everything George [Lucas] set up in a New Hope and it took us farther in the galaxy and said this is as big as you were thinking.
Mania: As we move into Season 3 of The Clone Wars, do you feel as if anything is possible?
Filoni: It seems so with the ideas that George has come up with for the third season. Some of them were mind blowing when he pitched them. The first half of the season really ties together a lot of strings we put out in seasons one and two explaining in a broader way some of the story lines you saw earlier. So you will really start to feel the whole Clone Wars come together from the Republic and the Separatists. There are heroes on both sides in Revenge of the Sith and we will see more of that. The second half [of season 3] makes a jump to hyperspace as far as I am concerned. Not just in the quality of animation, but the stories are more mythically rooted. This is why many were drawn to Star Wars in the first place. A lot the characters change irreversibly as we move forward. From the beginning of the season, where we are at, to the end you’ll see a change.
Mania: Has there been an end game for the series? If so, how much of it has changed since you began?
Filoni: I always have an end game in mind, always, because I am ready to say this is how we are going to draw it to a close. Whenever we create a new story I think of that end game. I try to move us towards it, depending on how I think it is going to affect the characters. I’ve changed it now, I would say, three times for how I think it ends. From when I started the series what my perceptions on how it would end until now, now I feed my concept of how it will end with everything George has taught me. To make an ending that’s big, that’s dynamic that shows the audience things they’ve never seen before but things they have always wanted to see as well. As the characters evolve and as George feeds me new information about plot lines he and I will talk about it. It really is a fun thing. He and I will jokingly disagree about things about the end. This is fun because we will really forge something really cool when that time comes.
Mania: If you could go back, is there anything you would change about The Clone Wars film?
Filoni: Oh yeah (he laughs), absolutely. I have talked with George about it. He told me once that I need to let those things go. Then I asked can’t I make a special edition (laughs)? The biggest thing, if you wanted a plot point, the Battle of Christophsis they should lose. Like the Rebels lost on Hoth. It would have set a better tone and introduce Ahsoka’s character where she was a bringer of news that they have to retreat; which is the exact opposite of what Anakin wants. You could set up a better point for them to evolve from in a relationship. Like any director, you have to let things go. You learn a lot by making it.
Mania: In The Clone Wars, you have told several different types of stories. Everything from mysteries, comedies, and there has even been a Godzilla story. Will we see anything involving time travel or alternate realities?
Filoni: (laughs) You have hit on something there and it is where we have to draw the line, for me anyway. I think those kinds of stories are very hard to pull off. Plus, I always think of Star Wars as a mythology and a fantasy epic even though it is set in a Science Fiction world. Science Fiction does deal with those more hard core topics especially with time travel and robots. There is a real scientific means for how they are done. In Star Wars you don’t really worry how an X-Wing can pull itself out of the atmosphere. You just go with it.
Mania: You have brought Boba Fett back into the story and Bossk, too.
Filoni: Love Bossk.
Mania: Is there anyone else waiting on the sidelines from the original films that will be in season 3? I hate to say to Dengar, but…
Filoni: (laughs) Dengar gets no love, right?
Mania: Is there anyone else you want to bring into the show?
Filoni: The characters I was most interested in bringing to the show were prequel characters. Mainly because they got a glimpse on screen, guys like Plo Koon. I want to see more of these Jedi and if their personalities were bigger and that they weren’t just all stoic. I’ve been itching to tie those threads together with George. When Bossk came up and Boba Fett came up it is a bigger responsibility when you work with characters I knew as a kid. I would look for things in season 3. There will be ties to the classic trilogy, more than what we have done before. It goes beyond the aesthetics of the show.
Mania: Rum Sleg?
Filoni: You never know.
Mania: Being that you are the series director, you must get all the toys from the series, right?
Filoni: I buy action figures the same place everyone else does.
Mania: They don’t send them to you?
Filoni: Not always.
Mania: Really? You don’t get a box with Clone Wars written on it at your office full of toys?
Filoni: Every now and then licensing will send me something. They did send me the big AT-AT, that was awesome. They do send me Plo Koon stuff because they know I am a big fan. I go to Toys R Us constantly in part just to see what people are buying.
Mania: How far are you into season 3 production wise?
Filoni: We are pretty far out there, at any one time I have twenty different episodes in my head that I have to think about plus the future, which is always in motion.
The all-new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars premiers on Cartoon Network, Friday, September 17, 9 p.m. (ET/PT).