After watching the second episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, which was titled “Legacy”, I couldn’t get over how this is the team of people, Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, and George Lucas, that should have been the ones to give us the final trilogy in the Skywalker Saga! After the fans watched The Mandalorian, this was the topic of conversation, but this episode of Disney Gallery really drove the point home.
Favreau and Filoni get exactly what Lucas was doing with this story. Hell, they even brought him on the set to consult on The Mandalorian and they listened to what he had to say! They didn’t throw out his opinions, ideas, and thoughts like J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy did.
The new episode also brought in Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisors John Knoll and Richard Bluff, animation director Hal Hickel, and Dave Filoni, to talk about the franchise, and it pays tribute to the legacy and vision of George Lucas.
Favreau explains in the very beginning that when making The Mandalorian, they are looking to draw from all over Star Wars, and that brings in an infectious excitement. It’s really fun to listen to these people who are hardcore fans of Star Wars talk about how these films affected their lives.
During the roundtable, John Knoll talked about how the prequel films came to exist and explained that the ILM employees would always ask George Lucas at the annual company meetings if he was going to make anymore Star Wars movies. He always just kind of brushed the question off, until one year he responded with, “Mmmm, yeah, maybe.” And we all know what happened from there. While many Star Wars fans don’t like the prequel films, at least they followed a story that made sense! Kennedy went on to say that Lucas never stopped thinking about making Star Wars movies. He was just waiting for the right time for the technology to catch up with what he wanted to do.
At one point during the discussion, Favreau and his guest start talking about the various breakthroughs in filmmaking technology that Lucas is responsible for. Kathleen Kennedy reveals that she was surprised to learn that there were at least 126 patents for new technology that Lucas was responsible for creating.
Some of the Lucasfilm technology discussed include the creation of the first fully computer-generated character, which was a knight made of stained glass from Steven Spielberg’s Young Sherlock Holmes. There’s also EditDroid, which was the first computerized analog non-linear editing system, and it became part of the Avid editing brand. There were also the motion-control cameras, which involved the creation of rigs that moved around the model ships to simulate their movement.
Filoni goes on to talk about Lucas and how people don’t give enough credit to what it means that George Lucas created Star Wars. He explains:
“I think Star Wars is such a part of people’s lives that it’s something that they just see on a regular basis that when you say George Lucas, I don’t think people give enough full value to what that really means. I like to think I do, but I worked with him. So, I’ve seen him create. I’ve seen the person that comes up with a line of dialogue and understands Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker in a very deep level because the characters are a part of him.”
He went on to say that he felt privileged to be a part of telling these stories and that he was able to work with Lucas. Filoni explained that as he would write these stories and take them to Lucas, Lucas would guide him in the direction he needed to go and would force direct it. He then added, “Because he should. It’s his story. He created the universe” the characters all came out of his brain:
“You just need to tap into that, stay true to kind of what this is and do what George did which is constantly find new ways to tell these stories.”
Lucas knew these characters inside and out, and it’s one of the many reasons why the creative teams from the films should have listened to him! But, they have Filoni who is the next best thing next to Lucas and he has proven his value to the franchise and during the round table discussion in Disney Gallery, he takes a deep dive into what it is that drives Star Wars. He shows that he has a deep understanding of the franchise and he kind of blew my mind with the end segment of the episode.
In it, Filoni talks about the brilliance of Lucas as he discusses the climactic lightsaber battle in The Phantom Menace and sheds some fascinating new light on what Lucas was trying to say with that scene and how it played out in the course of the films. The final lightsaber battle in The Phantom Menace is largely considered by many to be one of the best in the franchise as we see Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting Darth Maul. As awesome as it is, there’s a deeper meaning to the scene and the Skywalker Saga as a whole. Filoni explains:
“I love the lightsaber fight with Darth Maul, not because it’s a lightsaber fight but because George is so good at crafting why that fight’s important every time. You know that Darth Vader and Obi-Wan fight isn’t the most wonderfully staged combat you’re ever going to see, but there’s so much a stake. it’s so meaningful when Obi-Wan dies. We all feel like luke.
“In Phantom Menace, you’re watching these two Jedi in their prime fight this evil villain, Maul, who couldn’t be more obviously the villain. He’s designed to look evil and he is evil. And he expressed that from his face all the why out to the type of lightsaber that he fights with.
“What’s at stake is how Anakin’s going to turn out, because Qui-Gon is different than the rest of the Jedi. You get that in the movie, and Qui-Gon is fighting because he knows that he’s the father that Anakin needs because Qui-Gon hasn’t given up on the fact that Jedi are supposed to care and love and that that’s not a bad thing. The rest of the Jedi are so detached and they’ve become so political that they’ve really lost their way and Yoda starts to see that in the second film. But, Qui-Gon is ahead of them all and that’s why he’s not part of the council, so he’s fighting for Anakin. That’s why it’s the duel of the fates, it’s the fate of this child and depending on how this fight goes Anakin, his life is going to be dramatically different.
“So, Qui-Gon loses, of course, so the father figure, he knew what it meant to take this kid away from his mother when he had an attachment and he’s left with Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan trains Anakin at first out of a promise he made to Qui-Gon, not because he cares about him.
“When they get Anakin, they find him on Tatooine he says why do I feel like we’ve found another useless lifeform. He’s comparing Anakin to Jar Jar and he’s saying this is a waste of our time, why are we doing this, why do you see importance in these creatures like Jar Jar Binks and this ten-year-old boy? This is useless.
“So, he’s a brother to Anakin, eventually, but he’s not a father figure. That’s a failing for Anakin, he doesn’t have the family that he needs. He loses his mother in the next film. He fails on this promise that he made to his mother that I will come back and save you. So he’s left completely vulnerable and Star Wars ultimately is about family. So, that moment in that movie, which a lot of people diminish as a cool lightsaber fight, but it’s everything that the entire three films in the prequels hangs on, is that one particular fight and Maul serves his purpose and at that point died before George brang him back. But he died.
“That shows you again how the Emporer is completely self-servicing he doesn’t care, he’s just a tool who is using people and now he’s going to use this child. That follows all the way through to the line which terrified me as a kid where the Emporer tells Luke, ‘you like your father are now mine.” And the idea, when I was a little kid watching that movie, of some evil person possessing my father making him do things or making him be evil was terrifying. That was like a thought that was horrible.”
Filoni went on to talk about Luke Skywalker’s story arc in the original trilogy, and ties it in with that, saying:
“It’s amazing when you watch Return of the Jedi that Luke has never done anything that I would call, like he’s a bad character. He has a tendency to be dark and a lot of people wanted Anakin, oh he should have been darker as a character. It’s not at all. I believed Luke would turn to the dark side. I believed he would kill the emperor and because of the way George arranged this story, I knew that was the wrong thing to do. When he’s saying, you want your weapon, you know strike me down, I’m defenseless. He wants him to give into his anger and give into his hate and the feature, the structure that George has laid out in all the movies is coming to fruition now.
“The only thing that’s going to save him is not his connection to the force, it’s not the power’s he’s learned, it’s not all these things are an advantage to him that’s gotten him to the table. But what saves Luke is his ability to look at all that, look at his father and say, ‘No. I’m going to throw away this weapon. I’m not going to do that I’m going to let that go and be selfless.’ And he says, ‘I am a Jedi like my father before me.’ But what ‘s really saying is ‘I love my father, and there’s nothing you can do that’s going to change that.’
The emperor can’t understand that connection. ‘Why would you take something like that over the power of the galaxy, why won’t you take this?’ And Anakin has to decide to be the father he’s never had. He has to give up all the power in the galaxy and save his son and that’s the selfless act he does in return for his son. That’s what saves him. The son saves the father and the father saves the son, and it works out perfectly and I’ve drawn that line all the way to The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi. That’s the story of Star Wars.”
Filoni goes on to explain that this is what he always goes back to with Star Wars is this selfless act and family dynamic, which is so important to George Lucas and so important to the foundation of Star Wars.
“What I like about it is, it’s really saying there’s a lot of hope out there that we fundamentally want to be good people, that we can all be driven to do terrible that but that we can persevere through selfless actions. So, George has this hopefully story and it’s something he’s reiterated most times I’ve seen him, remember to make these stories hopeful. Remember to give that to kids because they really need it.”
Do you see what I mean!? Filoni gets it! He gets it more than a lot of fans do and he’s the one that should be leading the charge in crafting the stories for the Star Wars universe! He should’ve been involved from the very beginning! Jon Favreau knew that and was smart enough to bring him in to work on The Mandalorian.
Lucasfilm had the secret weapon to making great Star Wars films all along with Filoni, but they overlooked it in favor of a big-name filmmaker like J.J. Abrams, who ended up dropping the ball. What do you think!?