Part 2 of the official Star Wars Blog’s interview with Dave Filoni just went up, where he shares more of his thoughts on season 5 of the Clone Wars. In part 2, he looks back at developing the Darth Sidious fight against Darth Maul and Savage Opress, Darth Maul as a character, and Ahsoka’s big arc at the end of the season. Here’s a portion of the interview:
StarWars.com: Can you talk about Maul and Savage versus Sidious? How you depicted it onscreen and the choreography and how it came about?
Dave Filoni: Well, that was definitely one of our biggest challenges, Maul and Savage versus Sidious, because we wanted to have an epic lightsaber fight. We hadn’t really had a big one in awhile, and I really thought this is our chance to show everyone why Sidious is the Sith Lord. Why no one can compete with this guy.
What was great was that we had two massive sword fights in a row. We had Vizsla versus Maul, and then we had Maul and Savage versus Sidious. You can do a bit of your own Palpatine-ing there with your artists and get them competing with one another to be the most dynamic, as far as staging goes. And that’s totally what I did. I pitted them against each other. [Laughs] I really wanted it to be this exciting, dynamic fight, and we had special meetings devoted just to the style of the fight and the staging of the fight. And with a little bit of research, Kilian Plunkett and I realized that Sidious probably had two lightsabers. Because he fights Mace Windu [in Revenge of the Sith] and then loses his lightsaber, and then he has another one when he fights Yoda. And when we researched it in the archive, fans would be excited to know that we actually found that there were two lightsaber hilts. They’re very similar, but there are slight color differences and things between them. So we thought that gave us all the leverage we needed to have him fight with two lightsabers, which I think turned it into a really exciting, phenomenal battle. Like everything we do, it was actually tremendously longer, and we had to cut it much shorter to actually get it onscreen. But the fight inside the palace was probably three or four times as long between Sidious and them, and then when they went outside, I tried to keep as much of that intact as possible, but they fought a longer duel up on the balcony, as well.
The Vizsla fight, if you can believe it, was actually longer, too. And it’s hard to believe, because I kept cutting that thing down and cutting it down. At the end of the day, with Sidious, nobody was really going to be able to touch him. He had to be the strongest, most dangerous guy. And you could see at a certain point, he just puts his lightsabers away at the end of the fight and says, “I’m done with this,” and goes in and mauls Maul, so to speak. I love the part where Maul begs at the end, because that’s the thing about Sith. At the end of the day, if you break them…
StarWars.com: They’re very afraid.
Dave Filoni: Yeah, they’re very afraid. They’re motivated by fear in the beginning. Most people that are terrible and evil, even in our own world, why are they so? Well, they’re motivated by fear and then they create terrible things. And Sidious is the devil himself. There is no mercy.
StarWars.com: I wanted to talk about Ahsoka. My feeling is, if it wasn’t clear before then it definitely is after the four-part finale, that she’s the main character of The Clone Wars. It’s really about her journey and her growth, and her leaving the Jedi Order symbolizes a lot about what the war has done to the Jedi. Was where she ends up at the end of Season Five always the intended path for her?
Dave Filoni: For me, yes. [Laughs] I have always been in the “Ahsoka lives” camp, though, if need be Ahsoka would die. I don’t have a problem with that if the story demands it. I’ve always thought Ahsoka’s existence is tied to two things: A) if we can come up with a story that’s good enough that George said, “Okay, she can keep going,” and B) if fans likes the character enough that we can all say, “Okay, she can keep going.” Those are two pretty important things.
Her ultimate point is that the Jedi are aware of Anakin’s shortcomings. They’re not naive to it. Yoda, in particular, talks to Obi-Wan and they give him this Padawan, saying, “Knowing Anakin as we do, he will not want this girl to be around. He’ll resist it. But if and when she wins him over, he will bond with her like everything else he does. Like R2-D2, like Obi-Wan, like Padmé. But this girl will be different, because he’ll basically raise her. She’ll be trained by him, and he will see in the long run that she overcomes her fears and she becomes a Jedi, and she does not need him. But she respects him and they become equals, and Anakin needs to learn this so he can let go.” And Yoda knows this is critical for Anakin. If you look at her episodes, as early as when she rescues Plo Koon from the Malevolence, and she’s learning from Anakin how to disobey orders but still be creative within following orders. And then she has a big failing when she goes to Ryloth and all these pilots die, in a way, because of her error, and she has to overcome her fear that she’s going to let them down again. She’s learning. Then we see a big, critical episode arc where Anakin and Luminara kind of compare Padawans, Barriss and Ahsoka. And that arc, I think, really set an interesting tone for ourselves and for the fans. We were trying to illustrate the difference between the way Anakin is raising his Padawan, and how much he cares about her, and the way Luminara raises her Padawan. Not that Luminara is indifferent, but that Luminara is detached. It’s not that she doesn’t care, but she’s not attached to her emotionally.
Be sure to check out the full interview with Dave Filoni over at the official Star Wars Blog.