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Star Wars Animation and Live Action Series: I'm Not a Fan of Dave Filoni But I'm Coming Around

The Clone Wars, Season 7, Episode 9, Old Friends Not Forgotten.
The Clone Wars, Season 7, Episode 9,
Old Friends Not Forgotten.

From the outside looking in Dave Filoni seems to be the keeper of the Star Wars Universe, outside of the feature films - though his influence is definitely heading that way as well.

If you're not aware Filoni has been mostly the creative vision, and driving force behind Star Wars animation since he co-developed The Clone Wars Animated series with George Lucas, long before Disney bought the Star Wars franchise.

Other animated Star Wars series he's been key to include; The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars: Resistance, and Star Wars: Forces of Destiny.

Ever since he was invited to help develop Jon Favreau's live action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett, characters from Filoni's animated shows have been crossing into live action. So much so that Filoni has written and directed entire episodes featuring his animated cross-over characters. The entire third season of The Mandalorian could have been called 'The Book of Bo-Katan Kryze' - a Mandalorian character played by Katee Sackhoff in both animation and live action.

It is because Filioni has had so much input into the live action shows - noting that the upcoming (as I write this) live action series, Ahsoka, is being viewed as a continuation of Star Wars: Rebels - that I decided to go back and watch all of the animated shows.

While I had previously watched all of The Clone Wars up to season five, that was pretty much where I parted ways with Star Wars animation. I didn't like the show as much as I would've hoped because it was set between the second and third prequel films - still two of my most least liked films of the Star Wars Saga.

This time I didn't go back and watch each series in chronological order. I decided to give The Bad Batch another go after initially watching the first episode when released and not really getting into it. I then watched the last two seasons of The Clone Wars (Season 7 is the best of all of these shows and I'd strongly suggest watching that before The Bad Batch - which is a spin off from Season 7). Next I went to Rebels, and finally Resistance

Note that I had already watched all of Forces of Destiny but that show is more of a fun aside than essential viewing since the episodes are so short.

Dave Filoni - 2010 Image:
Dave Filoni - 2010

Watching all of Filoni's animated shows, he definitely has a formula of four or five archetype characters he throws together. Usually the smart one, the wise experienced hero, the goof ball, the muscle, and a droid (because it's Star Wars). Sometimes he mixes up the combinations but you can see them if you squint.

The shows themselves are often difficult to get into at the start because the characters are new. They tend to potter around in their corner of the universe, as we get to know them, before they start to bump into bigger themes and characters of the Star Wars universe overall. That's usually when the shows become interesting.

I was most reminded of this most, watching Star Wars: Resistance, which had to overcome a new animation style from the previous series, as well as a time jump into the rise of The First Order period (which I liked once that became more part of the story, because the main character really is the 'Mr Bean' of spies and is just awful).

My viewing of the Filoni-verse (as it is often referred to) was helped greatly by watching it projected large on a wall using a mini digital projector. Somehow watching cartoons on a big screen is way more engaging than regular TV or a mobile device.

Overall, I wouldn't call myself a fan of Dave Filoni's Star Wars. I particularly don't like that his animated shows have kind of hijacked the live action shows. After seeing Andor, while I was frustrated that so many episodes early on seemed to drag, that series matured into a story that was really worth going through the frustration. I'd like more of that. Filoni's Star Wars kind of pales by comparison.

That said, Filoni's Star Wars isn't bad by any means. I'm definitely coming around. I just hope he doesn't become the only game in town and we continue to get other creative voices adding their vision into the Star Wars universe too. Filoni is great for the more mainstream, action based, stories that keeps a majority of fans engaged. However, every once in a while, we need an Andor to remind us there's more to Star Wars than light sabers and space battles.


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