By: Dominic Jones
Warning: Contains Spoilers from the Star Wars Rebels Season One finale!
Star Wars fans are still freaking out over the amazing finale to Season One of Star Wars Rebels that aired on Monday night and featured the return of fan favorites Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader. Recently, Rebels executive producer and show runner Dave Filoni sat down with IGN to talk about the finale. Below are some highlights from that interview.
IGN: I saw everyone on Twitter freaking out Monday night as the episode aired. Do you watch the live reaction?
Filoni: I don’t. I don’t really do that. It’ll come to me anyway. [Laughs] My email starts to pile up with links. I don’t have to watch anything live. It’s going to hit me whether I want it to or not. But it was pretty fascinating. Someone even sent me some reaction videos where people film themselves watching it, which is really fascinating. It’s mind-blowing man, I gotta say. I thought it was a big deal bringing Ahsoka back, but I helped create her, so for me and my crew it was a big deal because that’s our character. But watching the reaction online… You take this character that when she first appeared, there were a lot of naysayers. We all remember hearing people say, “This is the worst character since Jar Jar Binks.” Add just seeing stuff like that that fans say, we were like, "We’ll see. "We’ll work on it and evolve her." Now to have this resounding cheer go out from fans… At least the positive fans are far louder than the negative. I don’t think any of us were prepared for that. It’s cool though. I love it.
IGN: From the outside, I was convinced that Ahsoka was showing up on this show from the second it was announced. Was I right? Did you know that from the second you were working on the show or did you think maybe, but with a question of how? What were your first thoughts on it?
Filoni: I think it’s always a question of how. I mean, of course it’s something I would have wanted but I was very aware of one fact, which is, it wasn’t just that we had been bought by Disney. That was one aspect of a huge amount of change that was occurring at the time we were trying to create this show. George [Lucas] was also stepping down creatively and administratively from Lucasfilm prior to that when he brought Kathleen Kennedy on board. So I had Kiri Hart and Rayne Roberts and Carrie Beck and I was working with them and I’d never known them or worked with them before. I wanted to create an atmosphere of collaboration. I didn’t just want to say, “Well, I want to use my characters!" or characters from Clone Wars. And we all wanted to be very careful, rightfully so, about using Clone Wars characters because we were afraid people would confuse the show for Clone Wars and it’s not Clone Wars. There was some debate on when would we bring Ahsoka in or would she even come in. Would any Clone Wars characters? I think what was great was from the very beginning, Kiri and everyone were very big fans of Ahsoka. They had watched Clone Wars and they were fully on her side of the court. It was something they wanted. Plus it was a character that, by the end, George was particularly proud of and so were we. So having been, I don’t want to say cut short, but having her story end, we could see a need to continue it but we wanted to make sure we did it in the right way. But so far, so good.
IGN: This is quite a few years later in her life. Now that she’s in the mix, how much room will there be to learn about the years in between? Or does the fact that with Star Wars there’s plenty of other outlets to tell that story mean maybe we’ll just get a little of that information?
Filoni: Well, I think it’s a little bit of both, right? We do have many outlets but one thing I’ve been very thankful for, as far as Ahsoka is concerned, is that Kiri Hart has been very particular about that character and always comes to me whenever it comes up, if there’s interest in Ahsoka. Of course, you can imagine that after she left the Jedi Order and after Clone Wars was taken off the air, there was actually a tremendous amount of interest about Ahsoka in other forms of media, creatively, wanting to explore her character. I didn’t feel like that was the right thing to do it and something that’s great is getting the creative support from your peers around you to say yeah, you’re probably right and let’s hold off on that. I always feel strongly that while we can have everything at our fingertips right now, something that made Star Wars so powerful to me growing up was we would go through a long period of time where we wondered what happened to Han Solo. He was stuck in carbonite. Now, everything’s instant. But I think we built a deep love and connection to our characters because, for lack of a better term, we dreamed about what they were going through. We wondered and we anticipated, so when the payoffs came, I think it was a lot better, a lot stronger, so I thought making people wait to find out what happened to Ahsoka just built up her mystique a little bit more, a little bit better until we nailed her down. But there are things happening in Season 2 where I’ve thrown a line here and a line there that I know will land with the fans, and they’ll be like, “What is she talking about? What is that referencing?” I think it will drive them insane with curiosity, in the best way possible. People will start to piece it all together and then hopefully, I can one day tell these kind of stories that I want to. I myself am curious at what medium it will be in at the end of the day. I don’t know.
[NOTE]: USA Today reported that there were 12 more episodes featuring Ahsoka left to be told from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
IGN: How did you decide you wanted to (kill The Inquistor) pretty early in the show’s run? I think that’s what really surprised me the most was this is only the end of Season 1.
Filoni: I think it just speaks to… We always want there to be consequences and that goes for the villains. We saw that a little bit with Aresko and Grint when Tarkin showed up and their brand of kind of carelessness is dispatched. We discussed the Inquisitor. It was painful because Jason [Isaacs] is so brilliant playing him, but it was a pivotal moment in the season and everything’s going to change. Season 1 is like A New Hope. Season 2 becomes more like Empire Strikes Back for our heroes. They’re starting to pass through this new part of their journey and things become ratcheted up, more exciting, more adventure; but darker, more dangerous like you would expect. Having the Inquisitor hang on, after such a failure, having captured this Jedi and let him go - It’s really a problem for the Inquisitor because he knows that Vader and the Emperor will not suffer this failure. He knows what they could do to him is, to him, worse than death. That’s a critical difference between an inquisitor and a full fledged Sith. A Sith sees death as an absolute. They’ll do anything they can to avoid it because there’s nothing for them after death and they know this. That’s why the Emperor is so obsessed with trying to prolong his life, to find immortality - because if he dies, he loses all his power. He can’t see a way to be part of the eternal existence of things and just selflessly be a part of it like Obi-Wan can and like Yoda can. They’re opposites.
An Inquisitor though, he says, there are some things far more frightening than death, which is an interesting thing for him that I’ll let people puzzle over what it means. It’s not accidental, the way he perishes. And he does perish. This isn’t me being sneaky or clever, having him fall off screen. I know that once Maul got cut in half, pretty much everyone was like, “He could be alive!” But I don’t see that happening. We felt it would have a big impact, obviously not just for the villains, but for Kanan to have this happen in front of his eyes. There’s a moment where he thinks he’s lost his main adversary in the Inquisitor and he’s lost Ezra, he believes, so there he’s kind of alone in all this chaos – the very symbol of a Jedi at that point for how things have gone for them. It was a dramatic moment and we have, I think, in some ways some better things in store for Season 2 that could play off of that moment.
IGN: You mentioned that Ahsoka isn’t going to be bunking there every episode. In general, what about the larger Rebel Alliance, now that you’ve brought that into the show? How much can they lean on them for support?
Filoni: I think we’re going to wait for a lot of these for Season 2 to answer, but what’s really been revealed to fans and what we’ve been demonstrating, is everything is a lot more of a gradual build than we wanted to believe. So Season 1 really dealt with the Rebels pretty much on their own, as an individual group, really bonding. Obviously we brought Blockade Runners in at the end and they played their hand a little bit to save our heroes. One thing I liked about the final episode was when we were all talking about it, Simon [Kinberg] and I were like, “This should be a plan that was really good but that, at the end of the day, if Chopper hadn’t gotten those other Rebels to come get them, they would have lost.” It was just too much for them sneak onto Tarkin’s Star Destroyer and escape and fly away. They were going to get shot down. They really had no way out of it, so things had to dynamically change in order to rescue them. It’s a chance that they’ve taken as a larger cell now and we’ll develop that relationship, we’ll just say, in the next season because again, it changes the dynamic of the group and we’ll have to see what that means.
You can read the entire interview over at IGN where Filoni discusses more about bringing back Ahsoka, working Frank Oz and more about Rebels in general.
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