Dave Filoni is the supervising director of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” He’s been responsible for keeping the animated version of “a Galaxy Far, Far Away” running like the hyperdrive motivator on the Millennium Falcon for the past four seasons. I had the opportunity to talk to Filoni about the process of making the show and what that entails.
The last few episodes of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” have been pretty dark and possibly scary for younger children. How do you decide where to draw the line? I had my 5-year old watching the episode the other night with the zombie witches and he was scared to death. Do you find it hard to balance the vast age group of fans that are watching the show?
I think that it’s just one of the consequences of “Star Wars” storytelling. We can tell such a vast spectrum of stories and we choose to. The films all have a different tone when you look at them. We set ourselves in that world. When we’re looking at it through one lens, it’s going to be darker. We have Nightsisters, zombies, and witches. If we’re dealing with R2-D2, we try to keep things a bit more innocent.
I go back to my own experience as a kid with “Stars Wars.” My parents went to the theater and screened “A New Hope” before they even thought about letting me watch it. My mother read “The Hobbit” to me and that was a bit scary. She waited a while before reading me “The Lord of the Rings.” It never lessened the story for me. I realize it gets intense at times.
I think a lot of the previews that we show during the week are informing people that this episode is going to be a bit darker and you might want to watch it first to see if it’s too much for the kids. I tell the story and the fairy tale that needs to be told. In Assajj Ventress’s case it’s a bit darker. I think, quite obviously, with C-3PO and R2-D2 it’s going to be lighter. We tend to go in that direction.
I’ll be honest. When I was little, Darth Vader scared the heck out of me. I was real little, but I still had the Darth Vader mask. That’s a strange phenomenon because it scares you. I remember “Gremlins” scared the heck out of me, too. It was pretty intense. I don’t know.
Is it a bad thing to be afraid? I think it shows good judgment if the kids are afraid of zombies and witches. I would think it would be odd if they were cheering and excited. You’ve got a different problem then (Laughing). It’s a true fairy tale for its darkness sometimes.
I’ve always said that one of my predicaments as the director of this thing is that the ending is dark, which is unfortunate. I think that it’s easier if you have these dark situations and they lead somewhere into the light. I do my best to try to draw it back into that at times episodically. Dark things happen but then it leads to a sense of good can prevail.
I think at least with Ventress in “Massacre,” there’s a sense that she finally recognizes she values someone or something. She’s really losing something and it’s not just about her selfishness. It’s about her feeling lost for the first time. To see this character that we thought of as one dimensionally evil have a sense of loss is a big deal.
Then we go to the next episode and she sees she might have a future. She sees it doesn’t necessarily mean an evil one. She takes another step and then in this final episode she’s involved in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s rescue which is something that I think kids watching “The Clone Wars” movie would’ve thought of as impossible way back then.
There actually was a point to all that. It was to see someone be very dark and then be redeemed from it. You realize you can come out of these situations. It’s not an easy thing. It’s something I’ve been asked by parents about before. It’s not something I take lightly at all. I feel a great deal of responsibility for it. I told some kids when I brought them to a screening here at the Outback, “Evil is the way it is often times because it’s more afraid of you.” It’s a challenge that’s for sure.
What do you hope you’re accomplishing at the end of the day with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”?
At the end of the day we’re just trying to have our episodes live up to the theatrical presentations of “Star Wars.” 20 years from now I want you to be able to put in these small movies and watch them and they’ll hold up in the same way as when you put in “A New Hope.” It’s spectacular how that holds up. It’s really mind boggling when you think that the film was released in 1977. I’m trying to do that service to the show.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Interview: Sam Witwer Talks About Playing Darth Maul for ‘The Clone Wars’
Interview with ‘Boba Fett’ Actor Daniel Logan for ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’
Interview: ‘Clone Wars’ Voice Actor Nika Futterman Talks About Assajj Ventress
Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Kenneth Branagh, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.