George Lucas: "Well, I started out in animation. That's where I…in school I started out as an animator. I've done a bunch of animated films over the years with people like Steve Spielberg. We produced Land Before Time together and a lot of things like that. My heart has always been in animation. I helped develop CG animation so I wanted to do something in that."
Why focus on the Clone Wars for this one?
George Lucas: "Well, it's like making a story about somebody that's a real personal story and then you say, 'This happened and that happened. And then World War II happened, and then this happened and this happened.' And we say, 'Oh, we're not going to talk about World War II.' You say, 'But wait a minute. There's a lot of stuff that happened in World War II. It may not have happened to our character but it's like a big thing.'"
So does it free you up to open it up to a lot of new characters who were actually in your mind to begin with?
George Lucas: "Well, this we get to deal with Clones which we never got to deal with. I mean on a personal level. We get to deal with a lot of Jedi that we never…they sort of zipped through real fast. We never got to deal with them on a personal level. And mostly in terms of character development, it develops in Episode II Anakin and Obi-Wan are not really that friendly, and in Episode III they are. They've sort of been through the Clone Wars together. So this really helps build that relationship."
Why the two new female characters – the one villain and the one really good youngling? Why focus on them?
George Lucas: "Well I've got a few female younglings. I've raised them so I know a lot about them."
Tell me about being now part of the Star Wars franchise forever. Your name is going to be attached to it. How does that feel?
Dave Filoni: "It's bizarre. I mean, but it's really exciting. We had a big exhibit yesterday up at the Ranch at the Presidio. We had a lot of our artwork from the show there and my approval stamp was right next to George's. I thought, 'Wow, that's kind of weird. It'll probably be there part of the archive now.' So it's really neat. It's a real thrill."
Why is now the right time to bring an animated project into the fold?
Dave Filoni: "I think that George really wanted to finish his six live-action Star Wars films first. He really wanted to do that. And I think that since then he's really wanted to be creative in different avenues. He has a lot of different projects going on, but he always loved animation and now is the time for him to pass that on for us, and develop it with us. It's exciting for me as an animator to get to do it."
The style of animation, why did you guys pick this?
Dave Filoni: "Well, it is computer animated but the style of it had to be different. That's the mandate George gave me. He didn't want to do something people had seen before. He wanted it to be unique and stand out. It was a big challenge. But, you know, I worked with really talented people and we collaborated. I'm really happy with the result and so is George."
The movie just basically introduces some new characters. The series is going to pick up and tell us more about those new characters or are we going to see new people keep coming in?
Dave Filoni: "In the series you get a variety. I mean, we established some characters here in this movie, like Ahsoka. And it's very important to carry on her tale because people wonder what happens to her, especially because she's so close to Anakin. But beyond that also, we have a bunch of new characters you've never met before, characters that were in the backgrounds in the film – that you've only seen and not heard. So there's a variety of stories we can tell in the series and not just be restricted to one timeline, and so it's good."
How much input did you have on what characters are going to be focused on in the series?
Dave Filoni: "Oh, you know, a good bit. Oh, of course. I like an obscure Jedi named Plo Koon and I think it's pretty fair to say that without my involvement he wouldn't be anywhere on the radar. So you know, George lets me play like that with certain things. And then he has a lot of ideas of what he wants to see so then we collaborate. I bring up things like, 'Can we use this guy instead of that guy?' It's always great to work with him and I'm having a great time."
He doesn't veto very much?
Dave Filoni: "No, not really. Not as much anymore. I've learned. I've been a good student so we collaborate well."
Since you're doing an animated TV series and it is about wars, you're allowed to do the violence more so than you would, right? Is that another reason to take it into an animated territory?
Dave Filoni: "I don't really think about that much. I just try to make it as much like Star Wars as we can, whether it's animated or not. I mean, I just wanted a new look for it, a new stylistic sense for it, while keeping somewhat traditional with the way Star Wars always has been. But you know we do intense things, especially in the series, that are more like Empire Strikes Back. But then we have episodes that are a bit more like Return of the Jedi. Each Star Wars live-action film has its own feeling, and I think we've established that well in the series as well."
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