Like most of the Western world, we at Hard Drive are enormous Star Wars fans. It’s impossible to discuss the series in 2023 without mentioning Dave Filoni, a man whose influence on the galaxy far, far away is outstripped only by George Lucas himself. As such, we were thrilled to receive a call from someone purporting to be Filoni’s mother. When she invited us over to their backyard for what she called a, “playdate,” we took advantage of the opportunity to sit down with the creative mind behind one of the world’s most profitable media properties.
Hey, bud. Whattaya got there? Dolls? Do they have names?
“This one is Sabine. She’s a Mandalorian, so she’s really tough. But she likes art and stuff too, and she’s always changing the color of her hair. And then this one, she’s super strong, like, POW! Her name is Ahsoka and she used to be a Jedi, but not any more. They’re gonna fight Thrawn even though he’s super smart. Like, he’s the smartest guy in the world.”
Do you think you could put your toys down for a minute so we can talk?
“Oh, I can do both. I’m really smart. Mr. Lucas says I’m very advanced for my age.”
How did you first meet George Lucas?
“Mr. Lucas pays a lot of attention to ‘merch-and-dice-ales.’ It basically means who’s buying all the toys. And he noticed that I was buying the most toys, like, every year! So he called my mom and asked if I wanted to take a tour of Skywalker Ranch.”
When did George Lucas offer to let you work on The Clone Wars?
“When I got to Skywalker Ranch for my tour, I saw a picture of Plo Koon. I pointed at it and said, ‘I’ve always wondered what his voice sounded like.’ He asked me if I’d like to help him write a show where we get to hear the voices of a bunch of background characters from the prequel movies. I was like, ‘Boy, would I!’”
Is Plo Koon one of your favorite characters?
“Yes. [Giggling] His skin is all weird and he’s got a mask and goggles! He’s so ugly! [Giggling continues]”
What did you learn from George Lucas while working on The Clone Wars?
“Mr. Lucas taught me a lotta stuff. He said that all heroes are the same guy, but with, like, a buncha faces. So I don’t have to worry about writing my characters different, since they’re all just the same guy.”
How was working on Rebels different from working on The Clone Wars?
“Well, Ahsoka was in The Clone Wars right from the beginning. I had to work really hard to figure out a way to shove her into Rebels.”
Level with us: Is Kanan Jarrus based on Kyle Katarn?
“No! Kanan is an original character, copyright me! Those guys probably stole Kanan from me when they made up that Kyle Butt-arn guy.”
What new challenges have you encountered while working on live action shows?
“It’s really annoying because the actors look different than the way you picture the character in your head. In a cartoon, you can just make them look right the first time. But with real people you have to use lotsa makeup and computers and stuff. It’s really upsetting. Mr. Favreau doesn’t even let me come on set anymore. He says my tantrums slow everything down.”
What is it like working with Jon Favreau?
“Mr. Favreau is really cool! He lets me stay up way later than Mr. Lucas does. For lunch, he makes me sandwiches and I don’t even have to ask him to cut the crust off of it. He just does it! Sometimes he shows me pictures of ladies on his phone.”
How has “The Volume” affected the way you produce your shows?
“It’s so cool! It’s like the biggest TV you’ve ever seen! If we finish shooting early, sometimes Mr. Favreau lets me play Super Smash Bros. on it. He makes me turn off items and stage hazards, though. He says they’re not fair, but I think they’re cool!”
Why do so many Star Wars stories take place on Tatooine?
“I do most of my brainstorming with my toys, right here in my sandbox. It’s my favorite place. I guess it bleeds into the shows and stuff.”
At the end of Rise of Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano’s voice is heard among the other Jedi speaking to Rey, implying that she is dead. Were you involved in that decision?
“No, they didn’t talk to me about that. I’m sure I’ll find a way around it.”
You portray New Republic pilot Trapper Wolf in The Mandalorian. Did you have a hand in creating that character?
“Yes! It was all my idea. I picked the name and everything. I love wolves. They’re so cool. My mom got me a wolf shirt for my birthday, but she says I’m not allowed to wear it every day and I have to let her wash it once a week.”
You’re set to direct an upcoming live action Star Wars film, closing out the story of the current run of TV shows. Have you settled on a title yet?
“I want to call it The Book of Heroes: Legacy of the Force, but Mrs. Kennedy won’t let me. She’s so mean! I know Mr. Lucas would let me do it, and Mr. Favreau helped me think of it. I wish one of them was in charge.”
What is it like working for Disney?
“It’s just like when I worked at Nickelodeon. I thought that was gonna be getting slimed and playing Double Dare every day, but it was all just grown-ups telling me what to do. Disney promised me I would get to meet the real Mickey, but so far I’ve only met a guy in a suit! You know those Mickeys at the park are fake, right? Only babies don’t know that.”
Do you have any interesting memories from when you worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender?
“I guess that was fun. I had some ideas for cool characters but Mr. DiMartino and Mr. Konietzko wouldn’t let me put them into the show. It worked out, because now Ahsoka Tano is the most beloved Star Wars character of all time instead of just an extra on a Nickelodeon cartoon.”
What is your favorite ‘Star Wars’ movie?
“I can’t pick just one. If I could take the Ewoks from Episode VI, Darth Maul from Episode I, and General Grievous from Episode III, I think that would be a perfect movie.”
Can you share any secrets about upcoming Star Wars projects?
“Mrs. Kennedy will yell at me if I say too much, but keep an eye out for a story about Ewoks, Darth Maul, and General Grievous!”
So, what’s the deal with the cowboy hat?
“When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. I don’t want to any more. That stuff’s for babies. I’m just used to hats like this, even though I’m a big boy now.”