Dave Filoni – The Jedi News Interview – Part 2

We’ve kept you waiting long enough, so here’s the second part of our interview with Dave Filoni, Director of ‘The Clone Wars’… 

We were left ‘hanging’ in the middle of our interview when Dave had to take a call with George.  During the break I had a good chat with Josh and then Dave came back on the line a few minutes later…

DF:   Here I am, sorry about that!
JN:   That’s OK!
DF:   That’s an exciting moment for you…
JN:   If there’s anybody we can wait for then I guess its George!
DF:   Yeah exactly right…
JN:   So what did George have to say?  Can you tell us?

Read on here

DF:   (Laughs) All good stuff!
JN:   Cool! So we were talking about Ashoka….
DF:   She’s the character I like to work with the most, the reason for that is we don’t know what happens to her, and the fans don’t know anything about her so it’s really fun you know to develop that character.
JN:   Whose idea was it to give Anakin an apprentice – it’s quite a weird thing for someone who isn’t yet fully qualified as a Jedi to have an apprentice.
DF:   Right, definitely.  That’s all George, right there.  Henry Gilroy and I threw round the idea and talked to Catherine about having a young girl Jedi in the series, and George really took that and said “ok, well I always really wanted Anakin to have a padawan”.  It’s one of the things he wanted to do but didn’t have time to develop.  That’s where it came from.  And much like everyone else, Henry and I were like, really, wow, that’s different but then he started to explain it and we were like, well that’s gonna work great.
JN:   So it will be explained why he’s got an apprentice?
DF:   Well, I would think so…
JN:   Because otherwise the Star Wars mythology people are gonna start saying, that doesn’t work.
DF:   Right.  Well the great thing about Star Wars fans is that they really analyse their universe and look I am a fan myself, we all look at everything that comes out and we all start to think how much we think something works or doesn’t work, part of that discussion is what keeps Star Wars strong, even hearing from people out why they don’t like something can be valuable.
JN:   One of the things that I think everyone looks forward to when they go and see a Star Wars film is obviously the 20th Century Fox fanfare which we’re not going to have but the rumour is that Warner has something special up their sleeves.  Will we have an opening crawl though?
DF:   Well, those are questions that I cannot answer, so I would rather that you just stay tuned and see how or what goes down when the film gets into the theatre and it will be exciting for everybody.
JN:   Like us, you’re a huge Star Wars fan, so when did you first get into Star Wars?
DF:   You know I believe that the first time I saw the film was when they did a re-release a year after the first screening of Star Wars because I was so young my parents wanted to watch it first.  I remember driving home from that vividly with my brother and I sitting in the back of the car like we were in the Millennium Falcon and then I remember my dad bringing home my first Star Wars figures for my brother and I and we were blown away by that, by those little miniature action figures.  Ever since then it just kinda stuck and being raised in a house where my father and mother played a lot of opera I think a lot of themes from Star Wars and the music just really stuck with me as part of that whole idea.
JN:   And on the subject of the music, I know you’re using some of the John Williams music, and some new music as well.
DF:   We have a really great composer for the Clone Wars and he’s doing some really exciting stuff and it’s kinda like everything we’re doing we’re trying to stay true to what has been in Star Wars but really do some new things that are exciting as well like we’ve done with the design and the look of the show.
JN:   Do you collect Star Wars merchandise yourself?
DF:   I do, it’s funny, but nowadays I don’t really have to do it as much because people tend to give me things, but I’m limited to collecting Plo Koon stuff and I have the AT-AT driver from Empire, those are the big ones.
JN:   Do you collect from other genres, or just Star Wars?
DF:   Oh yeah, I’ve got my favourites; I’m a big fan of different things.  I grew up liking anime, Robotech & Markoff, Godzilla among other things.
JN:   Did you like what Peter Jackson did with King Kong – were you into that?
DF:   I was never really a big King Kong fan – I think it’s great and really exciting but I always preferred the giant lizards with fire-breathing ability over the monkey.  Godzilla was really great.
JN:   We’ve seen a lot of pictures of your office, and it’s packed with Anakin, Jedi Starfighter in Lego, maquettes, various bits and pieces… what’s your favourite piece?
DF:   Probably the maquette of Plo Koon that Darren Marshall sculpted because he’s a super-talented sculptor and to have that version of Plo Koon, that Kilian Plunkett designed and I helped direct that’s just great and really one of a kind.
JN:   In terms of Clone Wars merchandise, I don’t know if you’ve had that much input yourself, have you?
DF:   Not particularly, and to be honest it’s kind of fun not to because when I see stuff like that new AT-AE they made, that big one, that’s so exciting, and we’re all pretty excited at work because a lot of people collect so it’s fun to kinda still have that excitement factor when you see the action figures.  It’s just a little bit bizarre that there’s stuff that I helped design with everybody.
JN:   Have you seen the big Millennium Falcon that’s coming out?
DF:   I saw pictures of it online, that’s really amazing, oh my gosh, you know when we were little we would pull the paper walls out so we could actually make that transition to the cockpit from cockpit to the back, and now they’ve built it in and that’s just awesome.
JN:   It’s going to be really good – I think my kids are going to be screaming at me to get one as soon as it comes out.  Are you going to be coming to the UK to promote the film?
DF:   I have no idea yet – my schedule to promote just keeps getting bigger and bigger and at the same time I have to keep working on the episodes with everybody.  I’m totally for it, I do what I can to get out there and talk to the fans and promote the film and whatever LucasFilm want me to do.
JN:   It’s much appreciated by the fans.  Is there going to be a Premier of the film?
DF:   I don’t even know about that.  You’d think I’d be the guy to know, but I think that’s handled really well by a bunch of other people so they’ll just tell me one day, and I’ll just go and take my wife.
JN:   One last question, a question about your hat… is there any reason, is it linked to something else at LucasFilm?
DF:   It’s not connected to Indiana Jones at all.  I love Indiana Jones, I’m really looking forward to seeing it this summer because I’ll get to see it as a fan like everyone else.
JN:   Have you seen it yet?
DF:   I haven’t seen it yet.  I tend to really steer clear of any spoilers on anything else nowadays because I know all the spoilers on this thing.  Matt Wood and I talk about that all the time, about how we really still like to go and see a movie for fun and not know anything about it.  The hat is not symbolic of Indiana Jones and has no significance.  That’s fun for me to know, let’s put it that way – I like wearing a hat.   I was told by the team to leave that a mystery.  They want nothing revealed.
JN:   Thank you for everything you’re doing, and we wish Clone Wars a huge success and we can’t wait to see it, and also hopefully on our small screens September, October time.
JN:   How many episodes are we getting in Season 1? 
DF:   Oh, you’re getting a good many episodes!  You’ll see something exciting every week.
JN:   Thank you very much for your time, I know you’re really busy, and it’s appreciated.
DF:   Happy Birthday Jedi News, and thanks for supporting Star Wars.  Thank you very much, take care. 

We’re really grateful to John, Josh, Megan and especially Dave (as well as everybody at LucasFilm) for making this happen and giving up their time – it’s very much appreciated.

Dave Filoni Interview: Copyright 2008 LucasFilm and Jedi News.  No part of this interview can be reproduced without prior written consent from Jedi News.

James is an active member of the Star Wars collecting community, and is the Brand Director for Jedi News. James is also the host of the Star Wars Collectors Cast, and co-host of RADIO 1138 on the Jedi News Network.