Tag Archives: Dave Filoni

Riley’s Bantha-sized Recap of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Star Wars land? Well, I found out at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. What an incredible event. Seeing old friends, meeting new ones, Watching the Rebels season 2 premier, watching the TFA teaser 2 with thousands of other SW fans, there are so many highlights, I know I’ll never be able to commit them all to this post, but I’m going to do my best. Before jumping into the heart of this post, be sure to check out the very special “Audio Diary” edition of the Star Wars Report podcast. It’s a great way to hear what celebration is like.

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I flew out to Anaheim at some ungracious hour to be able to have as much time Wed. as I could to pick up my press badge, take a look at the scene at the convention center, and of course, see a bit of Disney. This was my 1st visit to California, and I figured that I couldn’t possibly get all the way to Anaheim and not see Disneyland. Continue reading

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Who Is Fulcrum? Now We All Know!

Who Is Fulcrum?
Now We All Know
—shazbazzar

For those of us who loved Star Wars: The Clone Wars from its outset to its premature end, the announcement of a new Star Wars animated series on Disney XD resulted in mixed emotions.  Many of us were frustrated that one of Disney’s first moves after purchasing Lucasfilm was not only to Ahsoka Walks Awaycancel The Clone Wars but to halt production on many several episodes which had been planned, written, recorded, and in various stages of production, from animatics to final rendering.  However, we were also cautiously curious about this new series.  We had questions, some of which remain unanswered:  Would Disney give this new series a fair chance to attract an audience?  After all, the ever-changing and inconsistent scheduling of TRON: Uprising (a Disney property) led to viewers wondering when it would air.  Would the audience be left hanging (again) by a premature, inconclusive end to the series?  Star Wars fans are still wanting an appropriate conclusion for The Clone Wars and the aforementioned TRON: Uprising came to an abrupt halt on a cliffhanger.  Most importantly, would our favorite characters from The Clone Wars be seen in Rebels (specifically, Ahsoka Tano)?

Anticipating the upcoming series, I was diligent to seek out all information regarding Star Wars Rebels prior to its release — especially interviews with Dave Filoni.  Empire Online asked him about tie-ins to The Clone Wars to which he responded, “It’s possible, I’ll just say that. I think people would be disappointed if there wasn’t some connection…”  On the official site, during a video entitled, “The Lost Missions Q&A Rebels”, he admitted, “It would almost be crazy for there not to be anything that is related to a show I loved so much in a new show I’m doing.”  These statements, combined with my admitted bias for Ahsoka, convinced me that we would indeed be seeing her return at some point in the series.

During the fifth episode, “Out of Darkness”, we heard about Hera’s mysterious contact, Fulcrum.  When Sabine and Hera go to an outpost to pick up supplies from Fulcrum, SWR Fulcrum.002Hera specifies which crate she will move to the Phantom, based on a mark on the outside of the container.  In the same episode, we heard Fulcrum’s voice, albeit altered to disguise the voice.  Some fans put together the clues and believed Fulcrum was none other than Ahsoka Tano (though I was a believer, I wanted to argue all the angles, just to challenge my own first impression).  However, these clues were certainly pointing us in her direction.

SWR Fulcrum.005As the season progressed, the makers of Rebels actively focused on turning our attention from my favorite Togrutan by showing previews of holographic images of a hooded Fulcrum speaking to Hera — a hooded form that was distinctly different from the familiar scenes of a hooded Ahsoka from The Clone Wars which clearly showed Ahsoka’s montrals and lekku.  Thankfully, we were not kept waiting for long (like a season-ending cliffhanger), but Fulcrum was revealed at the conclusion of the season finale, “Fire across the Galaxy,” when we saw the return of Ahsoka to the screen as she descended the ladder, revealing herself as Fulcrum.  We discovered who Fulcrum is, but what is the significance of her code name?

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A fulcrum is the pivot point for a lever.  Therefore, Fulcrum may carry the connotation that Ahsoka is the hinge for all the work being done amongst the separate cells of rebels.  This fits the current storyline, since it appears that each rebel cell only knows Fulcrum outside their immediate context.  As Hera pointed out in “Fire across the Galaxy,” this would prevent any cell from being used against the others.  With Fulcrum as the contact point for all the cells, she could manage all the cells efforts for a greater impact in their resistance against the Empire.  In doing so, she increases the efficiency of the rebels’ efforts, enabling more work to be accomplished (like a lever) due to a well-placed fulcrum.

The Empire has amplified their efforts to quell rebel cells, focusing on Lothal because of the reported presence of a Jedi and his Padawan, as well as their successful attacks on the Imperial base and supplies (Kyber crystals).  Perhaps, they concluded that the force behind the rebels’ recent success was the Jedi they had repeatedly encountered on Lothal.  Interestingly, it is the Empire’s capture of Kanan that spurs a larger attack on Imperial forces, enlarging our Rebels’ perspective of their place in the galaxy.

A fulcrum is the balance point for a scale.  In a balance scale, the fulcrum is in the central position, perfectly set to enable each side to be equally balanced.  Perhaps, Ahsoka is able to fulfill this position, as well.  Given her history with the Jedi Council, wrongfully accused, yet turned over to the Republic’s (biased) legal system, she recognized that something was out-of-place in the Jedi Order before many others did.  She tasted the Dark Side on Mortis, was warned by a vision of her future about her Master, and made at least one true friend on the “other side” of the Clone War (Lux Bonteri).  She understands the need for balance.

With Dave Filoni’s latest comments regarding Ahsoka’s white lightsabers, SWR Fulcrum.003stating that they are neither green or blue (Jedi), nor red (Sith), we will clearly see in Season Two that Ahsoka is something different: neither Jedi, nor Sith, yet still using the Force.  (Maybe she will team up with other “third party” characters like Hondo Ohnaka or Bo-Katan.)  Ahsoka may well be the perfect person to usher in a new era of Star Wars by revealing the need for a true “awakening” of the Force with a balanced perspective of light and dark, as alluded to in the Mortis trilogy.

A fulcrum is a prop or support.  I’m sure I was not SWR Fulcrum.006alone in my trepidation going into Rebels.  Even as the series progressed, something just didn’t feel “right” about the new endeavor — likely because of my adoration for the former series, the look, the feel, the richness that had developed over the years, and above all, the characters.  The code name Fulcrum could be a signal to audience members like me who have needed an anchor to the previous series to prop up and support this new show.  The unveiling of Fulcrum as Ahsoka certainly did that for me and my family.  Now we can’t wait to see what happens in Season Two.

Crystal Crisis: A Legacy Refracted

Greetings Bothans! What follows is a post about the recent Star Wars: The Clone Wars Crystal Crisis arc by friend of the Star Wars Report, Joseph Tavano! Be sure to check out Joseph’s new website RetroZap, a pop culture and narrative art site which currently has some of his thoughts on Star Wars Rebels. Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Joseph! ~ Bethany Blanton

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In 1985, there existed a fully formed concept for The Clone Wars. It was conceived entirely in my five-year-old mind. I envisioned the Jedi overrun by scores of doppelgangers sent forth by their Dark Side enemies, invading the universe and attacking the true Jedi from within. I imagined the Clone Wars to be a hall-of-mirrors nightmare across the galaxy where nothing could be trusted and danger was omnipresent.

When The Clone Wars was finally realized on screen, I was way off the mark. And yet, that’s an aspect of Star Wars I love more and more as the Galaxy Far, Far Away grows and matures. One of the best things that Lucasfilm has managed to do is to keep Star Wars moving in new directions virtually no one would have predicted. With every new installment, audiences get to cast off preconceived notions and fastidious theories for an inspired, radically unique story that is not afraid to go down roads less traveled.

Dave Filoni and the writing team of The Clone Wars kept this trailblazing spirit alive for over six seasons, chronicling the events of a three-year war that transpired in a way no one would have ever predicted. Ten years ago, we were left to assume that the wars were going to be a nonstop conflict similar to the battle on Geonosis in Attack of the Clones. Clone troopers versus battle droids. Blaster fire everywhere. Lightsabers leading the way through the fog of war. And, in their tour of duty, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi would become brothers-in-arms, inseparable throughout their legendary adventures across the galaxy.

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Dragon Con 2014: An Hour with Sam Witwer

Greetings all! Bethany Blanton of the Star Wars Report here to give you more coverage of Dragon Con! What follows is a recap of the Sam Witwer panel at Dragon Con this year, but first I’ll quickly tell you how my brother and I met Sam.

Riley and I first met Sam Witwer at Dragon Con a few years ago, where he was kind enough to take the time to do an interview with us. He’s an awesome Star Wars fan who is passionate about the franchise. One of Riley’s highlights of this year’s convention was when, while in conversation with him later, Sam mentioned listening to the Star Wars Report. Yes, Riley’s face at that moment did make me laugh. :)

This year saw me, Teresa, Riley, and Aaron all together again for Dragon Con! While the convention is over, we are still releasing coverage of it including photos, event coverage, and panel recaps like this one. Dragon Con has so much wonderful content from Marvel panels to parties, from Doctor Who to My Little Pony, and of course the Star Wars track, which had panels, parties, a costume contest, a trivia contest, and more. Riley and I attended the Sam Witwer panel on Sunday morning. Moderated by Bryan Young, this panel was more like a conversation with Sam, Bryan, and the audience than a panel. Sam was cool and entertaining as usual.

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Why Star Wars Rebels Will Be Better than The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was an Emmy Award winning series which premiered in theaters on August 15, 2008 and subsequently on television on October 8, 2008. The series’ television run ended on March 2, 2013 with the conclusion to Season Five, before seeing a brief, 13 episode revival on Netflix on March 7, 2014.

The early story of The Clone Wars is one of highs and lows. Debuting in third place in its opening weekend, The Clone Wars brought in $14.6 million on its way to a domestic total of $35.2 million in its theatrical run. I remember walking out of the theater with my then roommate, and despite some high points we were rather disappointed in this new Star Wars movie. On the small screen The Clone Wars fared better premiering with 3.96 million viewers, a record for a series premiere on Cartoon Network at the time.

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At the beginning, with the very stylized animation design used in the series, the rather obnoxious banter between Anakin and Ahsoka, and the relative lack of music of John Williams, The Clone Wars’ early days were filled with hits and misses. As the show evolved over the seasons it continued to improve each year, with animation, sound, story and acting all deepening as the show grew.

The interesting thing about The Clone Wars is that it was really a massive R & D project for Lucasfilm as well as a labor of love for George Lucas.  Through The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm was able to develop a new branch of the company: Lucasfilm Animation. So without The Clone Wars a show like what we are to get in Star Wars Rebels wouldn’t be possible.

Having seen the premiere of Star Wars Rebels, I am confident in saying that we will get a show that is better than The Clone Wars in Star Wars Rebels.  Here are nine reasons why.

1. The Empire is back

Love or hate the Prequel films, the truth is that the Empire has a much more compelling set of villains than the Separatists. The return of various types of Stormtroopers, TIE fighters, AT walkers, speeder bikes, Star Destroyers, and arrogant and capricious Imperial officers has me incredibly excited, more so than seeing legions of clankers.

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This hearkening back to the Original Trilogy should also appeal to older fans like myself and help younger fans transition from The Clone Wars to the Original Trilogy, and then to Episode VII in 2015.

2. Chronological Order: “216, 116, T, 301, 303, 101…”

The Clone Wars was a show that was released in one order, but that order is not the same as the in-universe chronological order of the events in the show. For example, chronologically the series begins with Season 2 Episode 16, then Season 1 Episode 16, the film, Season 3 Episode 1, Season 3 Episode 3, and then Season 1 Episode 1.

Star Wars Rebels is beginning with the 1-hour premiere “Spark of Rebellion” and then continuing in order after that. This will make it much easier to follow the show, the character developments, and events in the world of Star Wars Rebels.

3. Everyman versus the Ruling Class

Much of the Prequels and The Clone Wars contained stories about the ruling elites of the galaxy far, far away. Sure, there were some episodes on remote planets and in the under levels on Coruscant, but for the most part we were dealing with the power players in the universe.

In Rebels we are focusing on a small group of outcasts in Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra. These are street level characters not dealing with the fate of the entire galaxy, but with the fates of their friends and neighbors. I can’t wait to see where they take the story of the population of Lothal as individuals oppose and support the Empire.

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4. Opening Misfire

As I mentioned in the opening, The Clone Wars theatrical premiere was hardly the strongest set of episodes in the series, and was a rather unimpressive debut overall. On the other hand, the premiere of Star Wars Rebels while not perfect is an immeasurably better beginning to a show. If this is the quality of the show at the beginning, I cannot wait to see where it goes as the creators develop these characters further.

5. Animation

The Clone Wars matured into a very beautiful animation style, but it took a long while to get there. It is visually difficult to watch some of those early episodes after being spoiled with the later seasons. Star Wars Rebels has some interesting influences from Ralph McQuarrie and Disney’s Tangled. While there are budgetary realities that will mean there are likely fewer resources available to the team creating Rebels than was available for The Clone Wars, the experience working on the previous show and the advances in technology give the current creative team some real advantages. The animation style for Rebels is more accessible and palatable for casual viewers.

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6. John Williams

On the musical front, Kevin Kiner who was responsible for the music in The Clone Wars returns, but his use and innovation based off of John Williams’ Star Wars scores is much more present in Rebels than it was in The Clone Wars. This tonal shift is important because it adds to the sense that Rebels feels more like Star Wars than The Clone Wars.

7. An Experienced Crew With Some Great Additions

A good portion of the crew that is working on Star Wars Rebels are, as Dave Filoni says, “veterans of The Clone Wars.” The experience of telling Star Wars stories from The Clone Wars seems to have given Filoni and his crew a greater mastery of not only the mythology of Star Wars, but also a better sense of what feels like Star Wars. Of course, the additions of Greg Weisman and Simon Kinberg as well as the work of folks from the Lucasfilm Story Group provides great quality storytelling experience.

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8. Fewer Limits

The Clone Wars was set in a narrower period of time than Star Wars Rebels. Taking place between Episodes II and III, The Clone Wars dealt with some major and minor film characters from the Prequel Trilogy, a number of whom had fates that were fixed by those movies. While characters like Captain Rex, Ahsoka, Asajj, Cad Bane, and the resurrected Darth Maul evolved into major characters in the show with unanswered fates , we know the fate of many more of the characters seeing frequent screen time. There are also limitations on how characters can interact, for example Anakin and General Grievous based on dialogue from Episode III.

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As Rebels begins we are dealing with an almost entirely new cast of characters. There are some first season cameos that were revealed in a trailer for the show, but the characters we are following around are all new, and we do not have any sense of what their fates will be before the events of Episode IV. I am very excited by what creative freedom this is providing for the writers of Star Wars Rebels .

9. A Core Group of Characters

One of the beauties of The Clone Wars was that we got to see a lot of different characters take the spotlight. If a certain character was not your favorite in a few episodes you wouldn’t be seeing them again. This allowed us to meet and get to know a number of really interesting characters, and I particularly enjoyed spending time with the Clones, Asajj, and Ahsoka. Of course this does make it harder for casual fans to jump on board to the show midstream, or to follow a particular characters story.

In Rebels we will be on the Ghost with Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine and Ezra and these will be the characters that we get to know and follow around. This will allow us to get to know these characters more deeply and quickly than we were able to do with many on The Clone Wars.

What are you looking forward to in Star Wars Rebels?

~ Peter Morrison writes at his blog Lightsaber Rattling, as well as here on the Star Wars Report. He also co-hosts a podcast about Star Wars Rebels called Rebels Report.