by FKO! Cub Reporter Rebecca Pauley and Steven Green
On the once-peaceful planet of Tattooine, our heroic Jedi Night, Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan learner, Ahsoka, face an uphill battle on a mission to rescue the son of a notorious galactic gangster, Jabba the Hutt, kidnapped by the equally villainous Count Dooku and the Sith Asaji Ventress.
The enemy droids fire upon our heroes as they battle their way to the top of a cliffside fortress. With non-stop action and amazing animated special effects, the Star Wars saga continues to bring fans old and new to the edge of their seats with "Star Wars: the Clone Wars."
In this movie, droids are sweeping through the galaxy and the fate of the Galactic Republic is uncertain. Battling the forces of the dark side, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda, along with many new characters continue their quest for peace in the Clone Wars.
The genius behind all of this action is Dave Filoni, executive director of Star Wars: the new animated "The Clone Wars" and the new animated TV series. It was an enormous thrill for us to speak with Mr. Filoni, and gain insight about him and his new animated ventures.
"I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and I always loved Star Wars. No one had ever seen anything like Star Wars at the time, and it was the "big thing" back then. My mother also read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to me so they became a big influence on me," he explained. Now older, he decided to create “Star Wars: The Clone Wars" because, George Lucas, who created Star Wars...was very interested in animation…and he never got the opportunity to explore animation.
Later, in the prequel Star Wars films he explored animation. I think George really wanted to experiment with animation again, so we started a new division of Lucasfilms called Lucas Film Animation," Dave explained.
When Mr. Filoni went to school, he had very good teacher and he says they were a very big influence on him. He also said his hockey coach was a very big influence on him because he played hockey all throughout high school and college. Now he has a wife, a dog, two cats, and a turtle.
This exciting movie will satisfy die-hard Star Wars fanatics while introducing a new generation to the saga through animation. There will be new worlds all over the galaxy to visit as well as vehicles that have never been seen before.
You may wonder if there will be any new characters in this new Star Wars saga. Per Mr. Filoni, "We try very hard to stay faithful to the characters that George (Lucas) has already established in the movies, but I think that some episodes in the TV series will make you look at some characters you know rather well and see them in a slightly different way only because you know more about them," he said.
Mr. Filoni followed in Mr. Lucas's footsteps, while still making the movie full of unpredictable thrill. But, Mr. Filoni's sense of adventure shines through in more than just his movies.
In fact, if he wasn't a director he would love to be a professional wolf tracker. He studied wolves in northern Canada with a professional wolf tracker. He studied wolves in northern habitat and to be out in nature.
“I am also very interested in ecology of wolves as a natural resource, and their history, and as an endangered species," he revealed to FKO! Mr. Filoni also loves drawing, especially wolves in their natural habitat, painting and woodworking.
The Clone Wars" is a digital creation. Since everything is created on the computer, from epic battles to faraway worlds, the sky's the limit for the amount of cool special effects Mr. Filoni put in this movie and television series.
"The hardest thing about making the movie was figuring out what we were going to make the Star Wars world look like in animated form, as opposed to live action. The drawing is limited to the design of a few storyboards that we did for the movie, but everything else we did is completely computer animated," he explained.
One thing to consider when making a TV show or a movie is cause and effect. Mr. Filoni spoke to us about cause and effect. "There are many levels of cause and effect from when someone shoots a blaster, and something blows up or a ship is going to take off and we need to turn it on...but the bigger battles might not seem to have a cause and effect, but the effect will come much later," he explained.
Cause and effect is very important for a movie or a TV series because it has to do with what happens later on.
According to Mr. Filoni the interesting idea of having Jabba's son in this movie came from Henry Gilroy, writer of the movie. Also, Mr. Gilroy liked the idea that the Jedi were very Samurai-like as George Lucas described them. Mr. Gilroy thought it would be a neat idea to have the Jedi protect this innocent baby even though the baby's father is a gangster.
Mr. Filoni concludes, "To the Jedi it shouldn't matter in the end who they are protecting because they should always protect the innocent."
Mr. Filoni said,"One of the most fun scenes to create and watch was when the Republic tanks and army along with Anakin and he driods go up a cliff to fight a high-ground battle."...suddenly everything in a ground battle was going up or going down and driods were falling and it was a very high risk scenario,' he told us. Anakin and his Padawan, Ashoka, battle for their lives straight up the cliff.
It is a surprise to see Ahsoka in this new movie. As mentioned before, Ahsoka is Anakin Sykwalker's Padawan, or Jedi in training. "Initially that was kind of a big secret, revealed Mr. Filoni, but then I liked that that was revealed because fans didn't realize that Anakin had Padawan and I thought that they needed some time to adjust to that idea."
But, Ahsoka is just one of the many new characters. There is also a new Sith that has never been seen before except in the comic books. Her name is Ventress and she is Count Dooku's apprentice."You have a kind of parallel here going on with Anakin training Ahsoka and Dooku training his own student Ventress in two very different types of schools," Mr. Filoni explained.
This talented director believes the most challenging part of directing goes along with the best part of directing. This is trying to communicate the image in his mind to others and making that image a reality. He thinks this is the most rewarding part of creating a movie.
When he explains his mental image to the rest of the creators, different people think about it differently. "What you find is that along the way that image comes out a little bit differently, but arguably always better because its such a good collaboration with everybody," he said.
Mr. Filoni thinks his biggest accomplishment is producing this TV series and the "Clone Wars" movie. He is not just proud of the movie, though, he is also proud of everyone behind it.
“It's very gratifying not just to have an exciting movie and an exciting TV series, but still the people behind it are people you like and respect," he said.
Every good movie has a message, and Mr. Filoni thinks, 'Whenever you are telling a story, especially in Star Wars there is a message."
The relationship between Anakin and Ahosoka, and how he is going to teach her is very relatable to parents and children. Anakin must accept that he has a Padawan, and must teach her, as a mentor, everything he knows.
For Ahsoka, she is a girl going out and being thrown into a bigger world. These messages are throughout Star Wars.
This movie keeps you at the edge of your seat at all times, keeping the thrills of the original Star Wars while adding a fun twist with animation.
New characters are introduced and old characters are very relatable. This movie expresses many emotions and gives you insight about friendship and the difference between right and wrong.
George Lucas's early Star Wars movies inspired many people, and Dave Filoni's "Clone Wars" movie will do the same thing. This movie and the TV shows give kids the idea that anything is possible, and fans can't wait to see a new movie or TV shows.
Later on, Mr. Filoni would like to work on a live action movie. We will just have to wait and see what he storms up for us. "My grandparents were storytellers, and I think that they have had a huge influence on me, and now I'm still telling stories today," he concluded.