‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Supervising Director Dave Filoni: ‘George Lucas Drives This Whole Thing’

Regular MTV Movies Blog readers know that I write up recaps every weekend for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” When it’s on, of course. Well late last week I had the privilege of interviewing the show’s supervising director, Dave Filoni. This isn’t just a guy who creates great “Star Wars” TV — though that would be enough — he’s also got a direct line to the king himself, franchise architect George Lucas.

Say what you will of the most recent “Star Wars” movies. The Expanded Universe established in books, comics, video games and now this TV series has been instrumental in fleshing out the history and finer details of this already rich universe. For outsiders, it seems like Lucas takes much less of a hands-on role in the development of the ongoing stories these days. This is not so. In fact, to hear Filoni describe it, the filmmaker is very much involved in the day-to-day evolution of the TV series.

“George is so involved with the show, I’m not sure a lot of people realize that,” Filoni said. “I kind of liken his involvement in the show with what his involvement in ’Empire Strikes Back’ or ’Return of the Jedi’ was. Yes, I’m the overall supervising director of the series, [but] George Lucas drives this whole thing. The story ideas, everything we do, it either originates with George or it goes through him for sure. Nothing gets up on that screen that he is not happy with or aware of.”

Before you start thinking that Lucas sits in his Skywalker Ranch office, overlooking his great Empire through a giant, circular window a la Palpatine, think again. He’s not just reading through a list of ideas, marking “yes” or “no” next to each one. “Star Wars” is still an active item in his daily thoughts, and his notes for the “Clone Wars” team get very specific.

“It’s amazing sometimes the detail that he will go to,” Filoni said. “Even down to what kind of lightsaber someone should be holding. And I think for fans, that’s nothing but a good thing.” Which isn’t to say that Filoni has a problem with it. “For me personally, it was never a goal of mine to come up here to Lucasfilm and make Dave Filoni’s version of the Clone Wars. I don’t want to do that. I want to continue telling ’Star Wars’ the way George Lucas wants it to be told and how he wants to see it.”

That’s all well and good, but there’s a global fan community that cares about the movies of course, but also about the ever-growing Expanded Universe. The fear with anything Lucas involves himself with — he’s always said that his word is gospel as far as the franchise goes — is that something fundamental in the EU, something that fans love, runs the risk of being changed in some way.

“Obviously [George is] aware of the EU,” Filoni said. “He is the creator of the universe for ’Star Wars’ and he’s got things he wants to do. We discuss a lot of the different characters and whatnot in the EU and it’s really ’are we going to do that?’ It’s the same way the [new trilogy was] made. It’s not really beholden to [the EU], but it’s always considered.”

When all is said and done, Filoni’s entire job consists of furthering the ongoing story of the “Star Wars” universe, with guidance from the man who created it. “I’m really lucky that [George has] been so involved to basically take the last five years to teach me how to make a ’Star Wars’ film and be right there with me to do it,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun that way, to be perfectly honest.”

When did you start tuning in for “The Clone Wars”? What is your favorite episode so far? Are you pleased to hear that Lucas is so closely involved with the development of the story, both the ongoing one and the weekly one?