Season Four is already showing on Cartoon Network in the US, but for us loyal Clone Troopers in Blighty, the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season Three on DVD and Blu-ray on October 17 via Warner Home Video is very much the main event. Check out this amazing interview with showrunner Dave Filoni and almighty Star Wars overseer George Lucas on what to expect from the expansion of this incredible, immersive animated series.
After six live-action films and two seasons of The Clone Wars, is there anything we haven’t seen yet?
DAVE FILONI: You’d be surprised. In fact, you will be surprised by some of the things we’ve got in store for Season Three. We’re going to jump around in the timeline; we’re going to see prequel episodes that allow us to add new perspectives to the stories. It’s fun to be able to have access to the full history of our characters. As Obi-Wan says, many of the truths we cling to are dependent on our point of view – and we’re going to shift that point of view quite a bit. We’re expanding on a lot of the things that have been established previously – in both the series and the films. We’re also going to revisit some of the fan-favorite characters from the live-action Saga, exploring their backstories and how they relate to the Clone Wars. As we continue to dig deeper into Star Wars, it just becomes more and more evident that there is no shortage of stories to tell.
GEORGE LUCAS: We’re looking at some classic characters, and introducing some new ones based on universal archetypes. We’re going back to the roots of Star Wars. Much of Season Three is going to explore the mythological aspects of the universe and the Force, in ways that we haven’t seen before. When I first wrote the original Star Wars, it was rooted heavily in archetypal mythologies. It’s always been an important part of the story, but we’re taking it further and revealing more. We’re going beyond the war effort that we’ve seen in the first two seasons.
DF: It’s a big universe. There’s still a lot to explore.
DF: If I told you, they wouldn’t be secrets. But I can say that we are to learn so much more about the galaxy and the characters. We are really delving into some important territory, uncovering some really interesting facets of the Star Wars universe. Anakin’s destiny – and the prophecy of the Chosen One – was introduced tangentially in Episode I; it was discussed by Qui-Gon and the Jedi Council, but we are going to explore what that means. Ultimately – and for obvious reasons – it’s really important to Anakin’s future and the future of the galaxy.
GL: The movies are just the tip of the iceberg. The galaxy is vast, and the stories are more complex than anything we’ve seen. The movies focused on one thread of the Skywalker story, but there’s more to the war than that. We are going to learn more about the characters – where they’re coming from and where they’re going.
What are some of the changes we can we expect from the characters?
GL: Time’s passing, and the characters are changing accordingly. Ahsoka’s growing up, and Anakin’s getting closer to his destiny.
DF: We’re also going to see quite a bit more from the clones. It’s really interesting to be able to get their take on the Clone Wars; we have had a few episodes in the first two seasons that focus solely on the clones. In Season Three, we’re going to follow some clones through the war, beginning with their training on Kamino. They offer a unique perspective, because they’re not supermen like the Jedi. They’re relatable. Everybody loves the clones, and we’re going to see a lot more of them.
GL: The prologue for Episode III said there were heroes on both sides. We are going to see what that means and how that affects the characters.
DF: We’re going to see some significant growth from our characters, and we are going to start to see those changes reflected in their aesthetics. Because of our extremely tight production schedule, we are limited by our character assets – the digital models that we use in animating the series. But stories are changing and so are the characters. After three seasons, we are going to see changes in the way they look, too. It doesn’t happen right away, but we are moving toward the look that fans know from Episode III. We’re beginning to explore Anakin’s destiny and the prophecy of The Chosen One, and those revelations reverberate throughout the Star Wars universe – from the characters to the look of the series.
Speaking of the look of the series, how has the production improved over the course of three seasons?
DF: We keep improving our tools and our production pipelines. It just keeps getting better and better, and that allows us to tell bigger, more dynamic stories. You can already begin to see the improvement between the first and second seasons; well, the improvement between the second and third season is even more exponential. We’re doing things and telling stories that just wouldn’t have been possible before. We brought in Industrial Light & Magic’s Joel Aron to share some production tips; it’s one of the benefits of sharing resources with other Lucasfilm companies. He’s helped tremendously; we’re building our asset library and learning better ways of bringing existing assets to the screen. It’s allowing us to visit planets we couldn’t have imagined in the first two seasons, simply from a production standpoint. In Season Three, we’re going to Kamino, for example; the sheer volume of water is something we wouldn’t have been able to realize before, but now our canvas is so much broader. We can go farther into the galaxy. We’re bringing feature film quality to TV. It really feels like classic Star Wars.
GL: I haven’t limited myself with what stories I’ve wanted to tell; this is Star Wars, and I don’t make a distinction between the series and the films. It’s just a different format and a different delivery. But the fact of the matter is that our improved processes for the stories have allowed us to tell consistently bigger stories. Our teams are constantly pushing the envelope, so that the standard keeps raising itself higher and higher. And we keep asking for more than can be delivered, so we’re always reaching and the show is always improving. Each week is a Star Wars feature, boiled down to 22 minutes.
Bounty hunters played such a major role in the second season. Do you have any new villains in store for Season Three?
DF: Bounty hunters are an integral part of the Star Wars universe, and I know that those characters have become favorites among the fans. You can never be sure when they’re going to come back to cause trouble for the Jedi Knights, and that’s part of the fun. But they’re still out there somewhere – and they hold grudges. In the meantime, we’ve got some cool villains for Season Three. Darth Maul fans are going to be pleased by our newest villain. Things aren’t going to get any easier for the heroes; this is the third season, and the stakes are being raised appropriately.
GL: We’ve got a new character – Savage Opress. He’s like Darth Maul, only bigger and angrier. When he’s around, you’ll forget about the bounty hunters for a while – but they’ll be back, too.
DF: We are packing more and more into each episode. We’ve got more planets, bigger space battles, more dynamic lightsaber duels. There are weird aliens, noble heroes, ruthless villains, everything you expect from Star Wars – and even some fan-favorite characters from the features. As a director and as a fan, this feels like the Star Wars I grew up with.