"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett...
Loud cheers, standing ovations, fans shouting “Save the Clone Wars!” It was pretty clear throughout Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, that a significant portion of the audience wanted more stories from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Dave Filoni, Pablo Hidalgo, and the crew at Lucasfilm are fully aware that this is the case and understand the need.
“Making that show meant so much to me. It meant so much to the crew of Clone Wars,” said Dave Filoni, who was the supervising director of the series. “The outpouring at the cancellation blew our minds, so it was really Pablo and I who said, ‘Let’s give something back to these people. They obviously love Clone Wars. We have a bunch of stuff, so let’s get together and talk about it.'”
With that in mind, Pablo and Dave created the “Untold Clone Wars” panel for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, to give back to the fans and share concept art and footage in various states of completion.
The content kicked off with a piece of art by Dave Filoni, featuring Aurra Sing, Boba Fett, and Cad Bane.
Bounty hunter sketch by Dave Filoni. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
According to Filoni, “The next arc that involved the bounty hunters was really finally bringing the two big bounty hunters, Boba Fett and Cad Bane, together. It was a story about their interaction and got into Cad Bane knowing Jango and their history about that. For that, we did an updated Cad Bane, so this was going to be his costume which is actually slightly different from the one he had in previous episodes of Clone Wars.”
Updated Cad Bane costume. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Cad Bane’s ship, Justifier, designed by Russell Chong. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
“We were going to go to Tatooine in this episode,” Hidalgo added, before Filoni introduced the next piece of concept art. “This is a Tusken Raider shaman leader . . . We were doing an episode where Boba and Cad teamed up to rescue this kid that had been kidnapped by Tusken Raiders.”
Tusken Raider shaman leader. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Tusken Raider. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Dave Filoni: “It’s kind of cool to think of Cad and Boba riding these dewbacks out into the desert.” (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Tusken Raider village. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
A clip of Cad Bane and Boba Fett featured the two sitting on the deserts of Tatooine, preparing for an ambush by Tusken Raiders.
A Wookiee riding a tree spirit. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
“George [Lucas] had this idea that the Wookiees knew these giant tree spirits, so I sketched this for him,” Dave said, before he went onto explain that the yellow area marked around the creature’s face is a post-it. Lucas didn’t like the first head he drew for it. “I put a post-it on it and re-drew it, and I like that one much better.”
The Wookiees had the ability to summon these “tree gods”, but like them, they didn’t like to do it or ride into battle, since that wasn’t their purpose in nature.
A clone trooper with helmet markings inspired by Yoda. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
As for the clone troopers stationed on Kashyyyk, Filoni said, “I look at the idea that the clones who worked with Yoda would have smacked his face on their helmets . . . [there’s] a silhouette of Yoda’s ears going back along the helmet, which was kind of fun.”
Tarfful speaking to the trees and seeking permission. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
“This was a scene that happened in the arc, where Tarfful basically was asking permission of the forest to kind of go into battle and do some things that were rather challenging. In a bigger portion of the story arc, [there was] a Trandoshan leader who was working for the Separatists and they had aligned with the Separatists to attack Kashyyyk, and in order to get them out of the city of trees, the Wookiees were going to have to burn a portion of the forest. The clones had no problem doing this because strategically it made sense, but it was very upsetting to the Wookiees. So you had kind of a push and pull dynamic between the Wookiees and the clones and they didn’t really get along, but they were trying to find a common purpose to fight the Separatists.”
Pablo added that the story dates back to past interviews with George Lucas, where he described the connection between the Wookiees and the trees as Force-like.
The Bad Batch: Wrecker, Tech, Cross Hair, and Hunter. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Meet the Bad Batch. “George wanted to explore the idea that there were clones that had specialized traits. And after the clone 99 incident . . . the Kaminoans and Republic decided not to dispose some aberrations, like 99, but to impose further mutations on them to create genetic super soldiers. The Bad Batch was an expression of these elite squad super soldiers . . . It’s very different to have clones that aren’t quite clones and works in one of the original super commando ideas that you see Boba Fett being thought of in Empire [Strikes Back], more along that line.”
In terms of placement in the grand story, the Kashyyyk arc follows “The Bad Batch” arc that premiered at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. The following clip features the Bad Batch fighting netcasters on Kashyyyk with the Wookiees.
One of the characters to be developed the most throughout the series was Asajj Ventress. Her story had about eight more episodes to go before the series was canceled. She last appeared in Ahsoka Tano’s final arc in season five, but Dave informed the audience that he wanted them to cross paths again. He had a story where Ahsoka and Ventress had teamed up, but George never caught onto it.
Based on a Doug Chiang design from Attack of the Clones, Ventress’ ship was known as the Banshee. Since nothing gets thrown away, the ship transferred over to Star Wars Rebels and fans will see that at a later point in time.
Filoni tried to stay visually faithful to the Expanded Universe as best he could while also adhering to George’s vision. “George was particularly enamored with that character,” Pablo said in relation to Quinlan Vos. “He read the comics, he liked this character. His first appearance in season three was a little bit more jocular and more fun-loving. This story arc would put him through a lot more gears that would turn him more into the darker, broody character that we’re familiar with from the comics.”
In the clip, Ventress uses a bow with an energy arrow and that’s a nod to the 1980’s Dungeons & Dragons animated series. Hidalgo adds that Ezra’s slingshot also draws inspiration from that series. And throughout the chase, the statue of Papanoida appears, a character who was originally portrayed by George Lucas.
Count Dooku also appears midway through the eight episodes that make up Ventress and Vos’ story. The following animatic clip features Boba Fett in full Mandalorian armor, Latts Razi, Bossk, Embo, and Hizinger fighting Dooku during the Dark Disciple arc.
Pablo and Dave went through a series of photos in a lightning round segment.
The gunships would drop medical units–almost like M*A*S*H units–with supplies onto the battlefield. This particular drawing depicts the aftermath of a big battle between the Separatists and Mandalorians that occurred on Ord Mantell, and the art inspired the Son of Dathomir comic book series.
According to Filoni, “Maul’s Mandalorians really took to the whole red and black paint scheme. On a filmmaking level, any time you’re having bouts between similar groups, you need to keep them identifiable on the screen, so most of Maul’s equipment became red and black.”
“For those dying to know to know what Oppo Rancisis’ lightsaber looks like,” Pablo said as the photo appeared, “There it is!”
Dave added, “We thought it’d be fun to make it similar to Dooku’s [lightsaber] to show that it’s not just one person’s lightsaber, but it’s a style of lightsaber.”
“This is a funny joke because I realized that none of the clones, outside of Rex, actually knew that Anakin and Padme were married,” said Filoni, explaining the fact that the piece of art showed up on the side of the Bad Batch’s shuttle. The conversation between Rex, Wrecker, and Anakin is one of my favorite moments from “The Bat Batch” arc.
Anakin: [sees the art of Padmé] What is that?
Wrecker: That’s our girl, the Naboo Senator. She can negotiate with me any time!
Anakin: [turns to Rex, clearly not pleased]
Rex: [unsure of what to say]
Anakin: That is not staying there.
“A lot of churches are built on ancient sites,” Filoni said in relation to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. “They were other things before they became present day churches. [George Lucas] and I discussed how if you delve down deep into the Jedi Temple, it’s probably built on top of other ancient ruins and other religions of the Force. And ultimately, there’s the possibility of there being a Sith Temple way down at the bottom of it.”
At some point, a story would have explored the deepest part of the Jedi Temple, where these giant folding rock creatures would have existed. It would have unfold into a skeletal kaiju-like beast.
Rex and R2-D2 would have shared an arc together as well.
“This is Top Gun with clones,” Dave said, the audience joining in his laughter. “Basically, the army clones–the ground forces–got into an argument with the pilots and their astromechs got into an argument as well. Rex ended up having to fly a fighter with R2 as his co-pilot. Rex doesn’t fly, so he’s mad at R2. It’s like a military servicemen battle-filled royale, and then Rex of course crashes.”
Clone Wars writer Brent Friedman had mentioned this arc before in an episode of Rebels Report.
Vong scout ship and Jedi starfighter for comparison. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Flipping through Dave’s sketchbook, you’ll also find art of the Yuuzhan Vong. Dave Filoni joked around saying that after bringing Maul back from the dead, anything was possible. “[This is a] scout ship that was trying to assess the strength of the Republic and who the Jedi were . . . I started to explore some of the armor . . . We never got that far.”
The team had also explored the idea of Ahsoka Tano clone trooper loyalists. “We had a pretty big plan for her as far as the end of Clone Wars . . . The final episodes of the series actually explained where Ahsoka and Rex and other major characters were during the Battle of Coruscant, during Order 66, and even after.”
Ahsoka underwent a transformation after leaving the Jedi Order, including acquiring a new speederbike and attire. The speederbike actually appeared later in Star Wars Rebels. As for her new costume, Filoni went with an anime/pop style, “I asked Ashley what animal she would like on Ahsoka’s boot and she said, ‘Monkey.’ I don’t like monkeys personally, I like wolves, but she wanted a monkey.”
Filoni also commented on the fact that she had been sheltered from the outside world and that she wasn’t familiar with how things worked on the street.
The panel ended with a Q&A portion. Topics of discussion included:
- Why was Star Wars: The Clone Wars canceled? To put it plainly, there was a shift in the vision of where Star Wars was going. New stories had to be told as it was heading in a different direction.
- Kyber crystals and the Death Star? Hidalgo said, “We’ve got a couple of pieces of evidence that . . . Palpatine wanted kyber crystals. How we get from A to B? I don’t know. We’re not done telling those stories.”
- Color guides for Clone Wars characters? Filoni hadn’t thought about doing it for Clone Wars characters, but he will consider doing it.
- What happened to Barriss Offee? “That’s a big question,” Dave started off. “I’ll tell you what did not happen to her. In the original script, she died at the end of the episode. She blew up . . . with the same kind of microbots that were in Letta’s [apartment]. I didn’t want that fate for Barriss, so I cut that part. You’re welcome. I have a plan for Barriss and still do. I think Barriss is an interesting character.” As for whether Barriss and Ahsoka will meet, Dave said that that’s a story for another day!
- Will you ever publish your personal sketchbooks? Dave would love to do that and provide context for his drawings in that way. He suggested that the fans should keep asking for it from publishers and let people know that the interest is there.
- Cad Bane in Star Wars Rebels? Technically, he is in Rebels through Sabine. It’s not out of the possibility. Dave said that he would love to see Embo because he loves that character, “It’s never impossible!”
- Kyle Newman recorded any voices, Kitster or Ben Quadinaros? Newman “understands Ben Quadinaros in a way that nobody else does.” He recorded a different Toong in the Clone Wars, however, that we may not see anytime soon.
- Cad Bane and Boba Fett? There was always a dispute of who was better between Cad Bane and Jango Fett. Since Jango died at the hands of Mace Windu, Cad Bane sees the opportunity to find out through Boba, a perfect copy.
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