A newly published book sees Dave Filoni reveal that he received instruction from Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.
In the newly published The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian book by Phil Szostak, a quote from the show’s executive producer Dave Filoni revealed he received live-action film training from Rian Johnson on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
As first reported, by Disney Star Wars Is Dumb, YouTuber OG Star Wars shared the excerpt from the book to Twitter.
It begins, “But Filoni’s greatest education as a live-action director may have come on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in early 2016.”
It then goes on to quote Filoni, “Filoni recounted that ‘[director] Rian Johnson had me right up next to him with the camera. He shoved lenses in my hand and said, ‘Look through here.’ He would bring me along to show me how to block a scene.”
Filoni continued, “Rian was so supportive of my interest in doing live-action, as was his producer Ram Bergman. They really made me like this was something that I could do.”
You can see the full excerpt below.
This new excerpt is the latest in a growing list of information that connects Filoni to Disney’s much derided sequel trilogy series that includes Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.
Back in April, The Art of The Rise of Skywalker revealed a conversation between Filoni, Lucasfilm story group member Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm executive director Doug Chiang, John Knoll, and Kiri Hart.
The conversation begins with Chiang wondering, “Since these three films are a female-driven story, where’s Leia in Episodes VIII and IX? As Luke’s twin, she should have the Force. Maybe she’s the nurturing character that overcomes the final evil. Maybe that’s the thing we are missing.”
Hidalgo then added, “I could imagine her being the one thing to break through to our villain.”
Then Filoni interjected his own opinion, “Oh, I love that. I love too that I look back down this table and we are presided over by Padme [a Daniel E. Greene oil paining of Padme Admidala, female lead of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Leia’s mother]. There’s a powerful idea there about this matriarchy coming back and subverting what has always been dominantly patriarchal in male heroes: Zeus, Hercules, and everything else.”
“What happens with Kylo and what he does to his father is, structurally, not a redeemable act. There’s no coming back from that, the way he does it currently. But I’ve never seen the mother figure try to do it. And maybe she could.”
Knoll then adds, “The super-intriguing setup in Empire, ‘That boy is our only hope.’ ‘No, there is another.’ I felt cheated in Jedi that this really didn’t go anywhere. But maybe Yoda is really talking about what happens with Leia in VIII, thirty years in the future.”
Filoni then states, “I love that. We should shift it so Leia is the Obi-Wan of this entire trilogy. I don’t even think it hurts that she’s not primarily the mentor figure in VII because, like John had been saying, the audience expectation is so on Luke.”
“And when that proves not to be true, it’s way more powerful. It’s dangerous because it makes it so about the women of Star Wars. Something to me says that’s right,” Filoni continued.
He then went on to explain how it could relate to global warming, “There is something happening culturally. You look at birth, regeneration, the world itself needing healing: All of those things are emblematic of the ‘mother’ character in myth. They are all matriarchal things – Mother Earth itself, global warming is a hot topic.”
Filoni would then add, “George [Lucas] was always so good at tapping into what’s happening in culture. And he hits us with it. The idea that we have Leia, a mother character who needs healing in her own right – that’s something we can get into in a deeper way.”
You can see the full conversation below from the book below.
Not only did Filoni want to envision Leia as an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure and somehow relating that to global warming, but during a speech at the National Center For Women & Information Technology, he revealed that he has been interjecting his personal politics into Star Wars since 2005.
Filoni stated, “I think of myself as very, I like to think liberal minded, but was I as much in practice as I was in theory for what I thought I was. We have to be diligent to break these types of age old biases.”
He went on to state, “This is what we tried to do with the Star Wars Saga. We tried to create more female characters that can represent so many things. Because what we are trying to do isn’t just create one type of character, we are trying to create a diverse range of characters especially female characters that are strong, that are independent.”
Filoni would go on to address fan feedback to Jyn Erso and Rey, “We haven’t done a movie for 10 years and here comes a Star Wars film and here comes Rey. What is it? Panic in the streets? ‘Oh my gosh a female lead in a Star Wars movie!’ And then the trailer for Rogue One comes out, ‘Oh my gosh! How unfair.’”
“We’ve had probably like 2 million straight films, cinematic roles where men have been leads and now we’ve done two in a row that are women. Well, too bad. Oh well. Maybe there are more coming. I don’t know,” he continued.
The now Mandalorian executive producer would later state, “I also want to get these men that are in this privileged position to tell these stories right now to change their dynamic and to start looking at stories and characters, to just make great interesting characters and stop doing the same thing over and over and over again. If that’s your experience, fine, but we have to be a part of this change at least I feel.”
Finally, more recently, Filoni has revealed that he’s quite open to changing Star Wars continuity and canon.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Filoni was asked about Rosario Dawson’s transformation into Ahsoka Tano.
He responded, “I said, “Well, Ahsoka’s eyes are blue and yours are not, but I don’t want you to worry about it. If you don’t want to go for that, we can just say that in this version they’re not.”
Filoni would detail that Dawson would rebut this idea saying, “And Rosario insisted. She’s like, “No, no, no. Let me try it.”
In fact, Rosario would further elaborate on this conversation with StarWars.com saying, “There was one point, actually, where Dave was curious whether I should wear the contacts or not. I had tried them on so I knew what a difference it made. Also, in talking about the fans, I was like, ‘You can’t do this to me. I can’t not have blue eyes. That will just not be okay.’ [Laughs] And it really made all the difference.”
She added, “Because, you know, you have the whole headpiece, and the costume, and the whole world because we’re there on this set — it’s incredible, with these huge screens, you feel all of it there. You’ve got lightsabers. But the contacts would go in and it just dropped you into this character. I wasn’t Rosario playing dress-up cosplay. I was Ahsoka.”
Filoni would also tell Vanity Fair that the Star Wars Rebels and The Mandalorian timeline might not be as linear as many fans once believed.
He was asked, “he last time fans saw Ahsoka was this spring’s finale of The Clone Wars, but in the actual Star Wars chronology, the last time we saw her was at the end of Rebels, venturing off with Sabine Wren to find Ezra Bridger, who vanished along with Thrawn. Where does that scene fit in with where we find her in The Mandalorian?
Filoni responded, “Right. But no, it’s an interesting one… That’s not necessarily chronological. I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion.”
“You do [Episodes] Four, Five and Six and then One, Two, and Three. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don’t really know how much time has passed,” he elaborated.
He concluded the question saying, “So, it’s possible that the story I’m telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I’m saying it’s possible.”
What do you make of the fact that Rian Johnson trained Dave Filoni?