The Clone Wars final episodes not only answer burning fan questions, but will change how you watch the Star Wars films, supervising director Dave Filoni promises.
Today Netflix unveils the final 13 unaired episodes of The Clone Wars animated series, along with all five previous seasons, marking the first Star Wars title to be released on the streaming service. Production on the Emmy-winning Cartoon Network series was shut down by Disney after the company took control of the Star Wars empire last year. The company then promptly ordered a promising new animated series, Star Wars Rebels, which is coming this fall to Disney XD. But fans have not forgotten about Clone Wars, and below Filoni takes our questions.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your honest reaction to Clone Wars getting pulled from Cartoon Network?
Dave Filoni: I think because I’ve been with show since very beginning and I was well aware of where it stood I wasn’t too surprised. We achieved what we set out to achieve with Cartoon Network. The pinnacle was winning the Emmy for season 5. An animated series running this long isn’t very common except in prime-time. Kids that started watching this when they were 10 were now 15 and they might be getting into different things. Cartoon Network let us do a lot of bold things for animated shows. We were intense at times, we were dark at times, and they hung in there with us. I’m just happy now these episodes have found a home – I couldn’t be happier with this launch. It’s a great way to watch the story.
How did the final batch end up on Netflix as opposed to a Disney-owned network?
Filoni: I wouldn’t be aware of specifics around the decision. As a creative, it gives Clone Wars its own place in its own room. We’ve shifted to a whole new regime here, we’re shifting to new story content. I love the place Clone Wars has on Netflix; it’s very accessible and I think its great. Could it have played on a Disney Channel of some sort? I’m sure it could have. But we’re making an exciting new vision that I think fits our new relationship and it has forged a relationship with Disney that we’ve excited about. I think everything has found its proper home.
So does the show have an ending? Or is 13 where the production basically stopped?
Filoni: One of the reasons I was okay with us ending when we did and production shifting from Clone Wars to Rebels is I liked the idea of having this Yoda arc available to us because I felt like this was a great place to have an ending if it’s going to end. There’s been so many threads throughout the five seasons, if you were to try and wrap them all up each one would be its own big episode. Here we have two story acts within this the 13 that have a strong connection to the franchise, they’re very important to understanding the overall saga. They’re [creator George Lucas’] last statement about Yoda and The Force and how things fit together. If you’re a die-hard fan, they’re absolutely must-watch story content. As I think fans realized, this wasn’t just fun storytelling in the Star Wars universe. These were very much George Lucas’ stories and he felt they were as important as his other work.
What’s the coolest thing about these last episodes?
Filoni: I would jump right to Yoda. One thing people ask year after year is when you are going to do more with Yoda. We tried several seasons to tell a Yoda arc, but the problem is he’d come in and be able to solve a problem in five minutes. In the end, George finally decided to tell a big story about The Force and the balance of The Force and what it means when some people appear after they die and some don’t. Fans have long wondered about that. This goes a long way to explaining that issue. These are things that were the backbone of his Jedi ideas. How can a Star Wars fan not get excited by that?
And the Order 66 storyline where the clones are ordered to kill the Jedi? How far into that do we get?
Filoni: We get heavily into Order 66. This is the other big thing George really wanted to lay down – these are the mechanics of how and why this worked. It’s all told from the side of the clones and that’s not something you saw in the movies at all. Because we’ve made the clones so personal it became a compelling question: Are they aware of all this and what would happen if they became aware of it? It will change the way you look at the third film.
Fans also wonder about an original Clone Wars character, Ahsoka Tano. Is there closure for her?
Filoni: I can’t say she’s not in the 13, but she’s not a main character. There is a moment. Obviously there were plans for Ahsoka that haven’t happened yet. I love the character. She was one of those things we were proud of. The fans really came to respect her. That story isn’t finished yet but I’m still here so you never know.
So is this firmly It? No chance of any additional content, such as a two-hour special or something, to wrap up some more story threads?
Filoni: I always think of Yoda in these moments – the future is always in motion. Projects you think are no-brainers stall, and other things see the light of day. You never count anything out. I know the stories that are untold. I think they’re great. I’d love to see them told in some medium, some how. I’ve become a protector of those stories. [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy understands the value of the stories we were going to tell. I’m sure we’ll find a way to find root for them in some manner in the future. I hope to be around for a long time.