The latest issue of Star Wars Insider contains an interview with Dave Filoni and an article on Dark Horses’ Dark Empire story line that undoubtedly played a major part in the Star Wars revival in the 90’s, and we have a couple of excerpts from both…
BRINGING BACK THE BOUNTY – SUPERVISING DIRECTOR DAVE FILONI ON SEASON TWO OF STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS
Star Wars Insider: The first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was a massive hit that defied everybody’s expectations. Did that help you with Season Two, or did that add pressure?
Dave Filoni: I think that the main thing for me was I knew that we would have an audience, and I just wanted to find a way with my team to meet that audience’s expectations. I think that’s the hard part.
I know Star Wars is going to grow a new audience—plus the fans that it already has—and that makes it a difficult thing because you’re going to be serving these two different groups of people. I think the entire audience likes all like the action, adventure, drama, and the characters that Star Wars has presented fans with for over 30 years. It wasn’t going to be a problem, it was just meeting the expectations and maintaining the quality. I think that as a crew we had our own expectations having grown up with Star Wars, and we wanted to push things. And really, because we work so far ahead, by the time we see the audience reaction we were well on the way with Season Two. It was more validating because we saw people talking about things that they might like us to do better or that they were confused by and we were already improving that stuff, so we knew we were at least on the right track going into Season Two.
Was there a lot in Season Two that you couldn’t have done in Season One?
I would say, technically and story-wise: absolutely. Mainly because we have more action figures—so to speak—at this point [laughs]!
You know, when they released the original set of action figures, you had Luke, Han, Leia, a stormtrooper, Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2 and maybe Chewbacca. Actually, it was kind of exotic as a kid if you even had Chewbacca! You could only do certain types of story, but you certainly didn’t have any Rebel Fleet Troopers. When the TIE fighter pilot came out I almost fell over! It’s been the same thing working on this show. For a while all we had was clones and battle droids for the most part. Getting a whole cast of individual characters like Cad Bane or Robonino into one episode was a really big challenge. But we were very committed to figuring out how we were going to do that, and it’s just opened up tons of possibilities for us story-wise, tons of possibilities for us in the environments, and it’s really improved a lot of things we can do.
HOW DARK HORSE COMICS REINVIGORATED THE STAR WARS SAGA! BY DANIEL WALLACE
“We wanted to create sequels to the movies we loved,” says Mike Richardson, the comics fan and entrepreneur who challenged publishing giants Marvel and DC in 1986 when he founded Dark Horse Comics—one of the most successful independent publishers in the industry. Though it was Marvel who first got the ball rolling on Star Wars comics in the 1970s and 1980s, Dark Horse revitalized the license in the early 1990s and proved it could do as good if not better a job than either of the ‘Big Two’.
“The Star Wars comics that came before us tended to look like other comic books,” explains Richardson. “They were line art with a four-color process and an inker putting in the black outline. It looked very traditional. They also had giant rabbits with ray guns. That, for me, didn’t really suit the Star Wars universe that well. [At Dark Horse] we wanted to make it very cinematic and as close to the films as possible.”
One of the challenges at Marvel was that they had their own universe to worry about. Over decades Marvel had built up an interconnected superhero setting populated by Spider-Man, Captain America, and the Hulk. By necessity, Star Wars took a secondary role, but Richardson vowed to make it the centerpiece of his company’s portfolio if he could bring the license to Dark Horse. “I knew the potential that Star Wars had and I knew that Marvel wasn’t realizing it,” he says. The proof that Dark Horse could do it came by developing other popular sci-fi movies into hit comics in the late 1980s.
“We wanted to achieve higher sales than the new character launches we were doing, and thought we could do it by taking movies and creating sequels to them,” he says. “It was a shortcut to creating established characters, because it takes years to build up a Superman or a Spider-Man.” Up until that point, comics based on movies tended to be straight adaptations, or received only a fraction of company attention, which limited their potential. “At the time nobody cared about comics based on movies.”
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