Day 1: Celebration Japan: Clone Wars Panel

Pablo Hidalgo | July 18, 2008

Where else but Star Wars Celebration Japan would you possibly expect to see this sight: A real life Ahsoka Tano joined on stage by members of AKB48, an all-female idol group dressed as Japanese school girls?

Early during the run of Celebration Japan, this is how the first Clone Wars panel started out. After the girls left the stage, the screen came to life with a special behind-the-scenes video introducing The Clone Wars. As with all Lucasfilm produced shows, the sound was cranked up to eleven, and the ground shook. No, really it shook, because as this intro video played, an earthquake sent tremors through the floor and made the ceiling lamps sway. The few seasoned San Franciscans in the audience — Lucasfilm employees sent to document the convention — gave each other knowing glances as the quake subsided. No one blinked an eye, though, and as the video wrapped up, Clone Wars director Dave Filoni took the stage. What follows is a transcript of his responses.

“Hello! I’m really glad to be here today and I’m really excited that you guys are going to get a special look at Star Wars: The Clone Wars this weekend.

“I love coming to Japan. I’ve been here three times before. When I found out last year there was going to be a Celebration Japan, I absolutely wanted to come, and was really hoping to share some of what we’ve been doing with you.

“The most important thing when you’re doing Star Wars is trying to maintain what was established in the live action movies. We were very fortunate with The Clone Wars, when we started to devekop the look of it, the feel of it, that George really liked what we were doing in the beginning. Because of that, George is really involved in The Clone Wars, and I’ve been very much his student for the last three years on of how to make Star Wars. When you have the creator of the universe working with you, it really helps make sure that you’re going to get it right.

“The action scenes in Star Wars have to be dynamic. We have shoot a scene and not just say, this is just going to be a ground battle, but you try to try and direct it and shoot it and tell the story in a new way. Star Wars always challenges what was done before. So A New Hope was one level of action. Empire Strikes Back set another level of quality. The Clone Wars is an extension of that type of storytelling, and we had to keep the action dynamic and exciting in it as well.

“To develop the look of The Clone Wars I turned to several sources. One of course was the live action films. The other was a bit of previous micro-series, the Clone Wars. I had been working on a show called Avatar the Last Airbender at Nickelodeon, which was very anime-influenced. So I drew from… I liked Princess Mononoke. I drew a little from there, especially for Ahsoka. I grew up watching Macross, so I took some things from there, and tried to bring it all into a look and design for Star Wars.

“Ahsoka being a new character, she’s exciting. She has to find a way to establish a relationship with Anakin. Her dynamic is between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Old Republic. He’s the old way a Jedi was before the Empire. Anakin is the new dynamic, where the Republic is heading, into an Empire. Between the two of them, you have this student, this young girl who is learning and trying to gauge where her life is going in the middle of this war. She becomes a lot like Anakin at first, and adopt a lot of his qualities at first, just so she can put up with Anakin’s somewhat cocky attitude.”

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