With the season one finale of “Star Wars Rebels” airing next week, StarWars.com has posted the first installment of a new series of interviews with Dave Filoni, where he talks about the early stages of the show’s development, how his job on “Star Wars Rebels” differs from “Clone Wars,” and he also shares some new early concept art that shows some very different versions of the Ghost crew!
Here is a portion of the interview:
StarWars.com: You and Simon Kinberg and Carrie Beck are credited as the co-creators of Star Wars Rebels. I talked with Simon, and it sounds like he primarily contributed the idea of a family dynamic to the Ghost crew. Can you tell us a little about how the overall concept for the show came to be?
Dave Filoni: It’s hard to say. It was such a collaboration. Rebels isn’t an idea that any one of us came up with. We just wanted to make a quality show and follow The Clone Wars in a good, but different way.
We all had different concepts for stories. Carrie had an idea we all liked for an A-Team-style group, so that stayed on the table. I had an obsession with the pilots of Star Wars. I’m dying to do something that’s non-Force related and completely about pilots, which is what I thought a large part of Star Wars was about as a kid. So, we each had different ideas, but really with [creative executives] Kiri [Hart], Rayne [Roberts], Carrie, and I sitting around the table, we decided to focus on the A-Team idea. I’m always drawing in these meetings and that’s where some of the early character design started. When we met with Simon, he said “Let’s focus on this family dynamic,” so I drew a kid, mom, and a dad.
StarWars.com: Now that you’re credited as both executive producer and supervising director on Rebels, how has that changed your day-to-day responsibilities on the series, compared with The Clone Wars?
Dave Filoni: My job is actually no different than it was on Clone Wars, except on Clone Wars, it was just George and I. After the first two years, I didn’t really have to bounce as much off of him. I had my writers to bounce ideas off, but on a day-to-day basis, there was nobody there but my episodic directors and I to make the stories work, which meant I had to handle all the rewrites in editorial myself. Star Wars is different than other shows that way; we don’t just get a script and execute what’s on the page. We develop each scene through staging, cameras, dialog. Everything is challenged in an attempt to improve the story. An example of this would be in the Clone Wars Yoda arc from Season Six. Originally, Yoda sees a vision of Petro laying on the ground talking to him, but I changed that from Petro to Ahsoka — someone the audience knew better and cared about. It was a simple change, but the new dialog gave the scene a deeper meaning.
On Rebels, once I’ve reworked something in editorial, I have a team to help refine the dialog and check for logic issues. For the final half of Season One on Rebels, Kiri, Simon, and I were all writing and rewriting, then passing the script off to one another and tweaking things. A good example of that is the Yoda episode in Rebels, which was very different at script. Cikatro Vizago used to be in that episode, and he tried to capture Kanan and Ezra outside the Temple.
Everyone works hard when we make these changes because we have very little time to do them, but in the end, it’s always worth it. We try to take an entire feature-length story process and compress it into a few short weeks. Having a group that collaborates well and rolls with the changes is essential to our success.
Be sure to head on over to StarWars.com to read the full interview, and to see all the cool early concept art by Dave Filoni!