By now, you’ve most likely heard the exciting news that has engulfed the Star Wars world. The brilliant creative genius of Dave Filoni, who brought Ahsoka (2023) and The Mandalorian (2019) to live-action, has been promoted to Lucasfilm’s Chief Creative Officer (CCO).
Following a proper “dragging through the mud” by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Disney, possibly realizing their fallacy, decided to give the man behind what fans call “real Star Wars” unlimited power regarding the future of where popular characters like Ahsoka, Anakin Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi could be headed.
The implication of providing Dave Filioni, who is also responsible for popular animated series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and Star Wars: Rebels (2014), goes well beyond Disney+, where he’s shined lately, and fans of a “galaxy far far away” couldn’t be any more excited about where things could be headed.
As rumors have swirled regarding the potential removal of current Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who many feel has utilized arguably the most popular brand in the world to push agenda-based propaganda, the move to bring Filoni’s talent to the forefront of the Star Wars universe may be a genuine move to save the franchise which Disney purchased from George Lucas in 2012.
Ahsoka (2023), the story of an excommunicated Jedi, played by Rosario Dawson, performed well for Disney+ this year, highlighting some of Dave Filoni’s best work in the popular Rebels series featuring characters like Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). Bringing the extremely popular strategic villain Grand Admiral Thrawn to life, Star Wars fans swarmed to the streaming service in anticipation of the brand new story.
The implications for Filoni regarding streaming, which Disney CEO Bob Iger has clearly stated is of the highest priority for The Walt Disney Company, are limitless. As Disney reels coming off of a questionable sequel trilogy series, Filoni and Jon Favreau breathed new life into the universe in 2019 when they introduced the highly marketable series The Mandalorian.
Although Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) currently sits as one of the top-grossing films of all time, its following sequences took a weird turn regarding creative decision-making. At the hands of Kathleen Kennedy and J. J. Abrams, fans of the original trilogy and the prequels were left flustered and confused after the culmination, Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker (2019), arrived in theatres, bringing back a once-dead villain with little to no explanation.
Seeing Star Wars fail is one thing; however, Kennedy is now responsible for a lackluster farewell to another extremely popular and beloved franchise featuring Harrison Ford. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) rolled into the theatres over the summer and promptly flopped, as have many of Disney’s latest box office endeavors.
Put plainly, Disney had to do something, and it seems like Dave Filoni is the only person with his pulse on what Star Wars is supposed to be. Seemingly approaching the franchise as a fan, keeping the fandom at the forefront of his creative process, Filoni’s touch and ability to tell unique, expansive stories outside of the typical fanfare surrounding Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader (although we love those stories as well), is refreshing.
At some point, the regurgitation of old Star Wars stories, like we’ve seen with the sequel trilogy, with characters that don’t resonate with audiences, has to change. Although fans are more than happy to have Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor return as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, many are notably tired of forcing politically correct alien characters down viewer’s throats.
It’s interesting that Disney and Lucasfilm have made the change of promoting Filoni to Chief Creative Officer just weeks after South Park premiered a new episode entitled Into the Pandaverse. The latest episode of the long-running controversial animated program pokes fun at Disney executives and their approach to rehashing old stories, utilizing diverse casting options that many feel are pandering attempts at cashing back in on once successful stories.
Star Wars, a multi-billion dollar franchise, has yet to be immune to this approach, as many were quick to point out the familiarities of The Force Awakens (2015) to A New Hope (1977). Weirdly enough, Disney’s choice to cast a black-Stormtrooper turned force-sensitive hero in John Boyega was made even stranger after they did nothing with his arc moving through their sequel trilogy. Disney, who typically takes the stance as a progressive company, shrunk the character to barely noticeable proportions on marketing posters in certain parts of the world.
The genius move to allow Dave Filoni and his creative reckoning from Lucasfilm animation to live-action was certainly a no-brainer. Fans adore Filoni and Favreau, who often speak to cheering crowds worldwide at Star Wars Celebration events. Moving past direction and into a more executive role, based on Filoni’s popularity and trust from Star Wars fans, seems like it should’ve happened long ago, bringing into question if this is a direct result of the proper dragging Lucasfilm execs received at the hands of Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
It’s more likely that Dave Filoni and his latest project, Ahsoka, which brought to the screen remnants of popular animated series like The Clone Wars, combined with new storylines based on Rebels, was the final nail in the executive decision-making process for Iger and company. The brilliantly told story, following up the success of Grogu and The Mandalorian, was one of Lucasfilm’s most anticipated projects ever. Although it was met with mixed reviews, those who fell in love with Filoni’s animated direction praised the Disney+ original for its fantastic storytelling and drawing of galactic lore.
It was undoubtedly the correct one despite why Disney moved to bring Filoni on as Lucasfilm’s Chief Creative Officer in the forever-moving chess game of entertainment. By hiring Filoni, they’ve indeed regained some of the trust lost due to abysmal storytelling in the sequel trilogy. Star Wars fans have something to look forward to, as Filoni has been highly open regarding a future film project that will combine Ahsoka (2023), The Book of Boba Fett (2021), and The Mandalorian (2019). If this project gets remote to meeting the expectations of Star Wars fans, Filoni’s hiring will be a slamdunk.