'The Mandalorian' EP Dave Filoni Talks Season 2 and Live-Action Ahsoka Tano (Exclusive)

Filoni and Favreau are still 'working away' at season 2 despite COVID-19.

The galaxy far, far away's longest-running sagas came to their respective ends with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Monday's series finale of The Clone Wars. The future, it now seems, is Disney+'s The Mandalorian.

Season one was widely hailed as the best Star Wars since the original trilogy. A second season was announced for this October, which executive producer, writer, director and general Lucasfilm mainstay Dave Filoni tells ET's Ash Crossan The Mandalorian team is currently "working away" at, despite industry shutdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As for what adventures the upcoming chapters will hold for our eponymous Mando, that's top secret. But if recent reports are to be believed, we could be seeing a familiar face via a new medium: Ahsoka Tano, the erstwhile Jedi and fan favorite first seen in Filoni's animated series, The Clone Wars, who is purported to appear in in the flesh in The Mandalorian, as played by Rosario Dawson.

Naturally, Filoni would not straight-out confirm nor deny, but he did open up about what seeing Ahsoka rendered beyond CG-animation would mean to him, plus the nom-de-Baby Yoda and if he sees himself directing a Star Wars movie of his own in the future.

ET: Whether it's happening or not, do you want to see Ahsoka in a live-action project? Do you think fans are ready for that? Do you think that could happen?

Dave Filoni: I've been asked about a live-action Ahsoka for a long time, and I see it as, "Wow, it's amazing how far we've come with the character." To go from The Clone Wars movie, where a lot of fans were like, "What do you mean Anakin had a Padawan? Who is this kid and why is she talking back so much?" [but] she's really transformed the fans' opinions and come into her own as a character. And for me, a successful character is one that if I say Luke Skywalker, you know who I mean. If I say King Arthur, you know who I mean. Frodo Baggins, you know. They're just iconic characters.

A character like that, they can live in any medium. It's just about telling stories. So if there's a good story and a good reason, then she could take shape or take form in any medium. All the headlining Star Wars characters-- You could write a book about Leia, it would do well. You could write a book about Han, it would do well. I'm like, let's see, can a book about Ahsoka do well? And it did, because she's kind of reached that level. So you never know. The most important thing is, is there a good story and how well can something be done? There's a lot of considerations around that, as there was bringing her into Rebels. I'm just really glad that people like the character enough to ask.

Looking ahead, because COVID-19 has halted everything, has season two of The Mandalorian been impacted at all?

I will say that we are working away. We're pretty fortunate. We're in a really good position to do the work we're doing, so Jon and I are just all in on it at this point. I won't talk too much about season two-- I always like to have Jon with me when we talk about that stuff, because we're such a team on that. I really have enjoyed working with him, and it's been a really fun collaboration. Neither of us really could have guessed the reaction that the show got.

As you can see in [Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian], we're having a really fun time doing it. We were aware of the responsibility and the pressure that can be involved in making Star Wars, but Jon has an incredible knack at assembling a team of likeminded people, really creative people, top talent. I don't know if you've seen the episode with the directors, where we're all talking around the round table, but forget even if there was an audience watching, it's such a gift that Jon wanted to make that show. Because I know those people. I love hearing their stories. It makes me remember what they taught me about directing. That goes for the entire cast and crew. Even when we went back to make Clone Wars, it's so much about the people that you got to work with. I mean, this is 15 years I've worked for Lucasfilm, and it's just flown by.

Are you ready for The Child to not be called Baby Yoda anymore by everybody on the Internet?

I don't know if that will ever not be the case, you know what I mean? Maybe I'm weird, but I don't really have a problem with it. I look at it and think, "Well, what else would you call it?" As a kid, we called the one alien a hammerhead. Well, he looked like a hammerhead shark. I don't know what to tell you. I still call them hammerheads, even though they're Ithorians. It's such a fun thing and what an amazing job Legacy did with the puppetry and ILM [did] with the visual effects. It's a living, breathing little guy.


I know you're a professional, but that had to feel like the coolest thing ever to make your live action debut as an X-Wing pilot. [Filoni cameoed as Trapper Wolf in "Chapter 6: The Prisoner."] I would die.

It was a stressful thing. I have this thing against bringing down the quality of the show. The story behind that was Jon, coming from acting, was like, "You should jump in front of the camera one day. You should get that experience. It'll really help you." I said, "I don't know..." Then when the pilot roles came up, I said, "Well, wouldn't it be fun if Rick [Famuyiwa], Deb [Chow] and I did it? That'd be hilarious." And Jon just thought that was a great idea. I was half joking, and I was also dragging those two into it because I didn't want to do it by myself. So, we shot that back-to-back-to-back, all three of us grumbling because we've made our role behind the lens, not in front of it.

But all day, to be honest with you, I thought of ditching because it was on a Friday. But I knew that if I don't do this, Jon's really going to give me a hard time. He gave me some lines on the spot and his only directing was, "Just be boring." I'm like, "I can crush that." So that's what we did. I don't know if it was the treatment they gave the lens or what, but Deb, Rick and I felt like we were pilots that weren't good enough to be in A New Hope, but could have been in A New Hope. We weren't the top cut, but we were there. And I desperately kept it a secret from my brother. I don't tell him anything I'm doing, and I almost wanted it to ruin it for him in the middle of his watching the episode when I pop onscreen. But my mom called and told him I was doing it, because she watched it before him. I'll be honest, it was more surreal for him than me. But it's neat. I got a pilot helmet. I'm more known for my appearance on Chef Show than I am as an excellent pilot, so I don't know.

When are you going to direct a live action movie?

Oh, I don't know! I'm happy doing these live-action episodes now. I'm learning a lot, and I have a lot to learn. That's the thing. I don't like getting involved in something until I feel like I can really command the medium. Like I said, there's a lot of people involved that are really depending on you for your answers and your knowledge and it's such a different thing. It's such a large scale. I think I've been prepared well by George [Lucas], by Kathy [Kennedy], by Jon. My gosh, for three people in the industry to help me out and advise me and guide me and mentor me, those are three pretty good names. So I'm very fortunate.

First I look at, what stories do I have to tell? Then I ask, well, what medium? Is this an animated thing? Is this a live-action thing? How much of this story do I think is going to translate and where is it going to be best? I gotta tell you, I personally loved those four Clone Wars episodes at the end. I think they're some of the best stuff I've ever been a part of, and it doesn't matter to me that they're live action or not. To me, they're just pure Star Wars. The characters are as real as anything I see in live action. I wrote it that way and we directed and shot it that way. And I'm really proud of those. A good story is a good story.

To wrap up, it's May the Fourth, so I would like to know what Dave Filoni's May the Fourth looks like. How do you celebrate?

I'm ;working. I'm making Star Wars, that's what I'm doing. I got a lot going on, as always. It keeps me busy and I'm really happy about that. We're working away at Lucasfilm. There's so much good stuff that I think we're able to do these days and so many creative people are involved with Star Wars. But it's fun for fans to have a celebration, I think we can all use some positives. The ending of the Clone Wars isn't the biggest celebration -- there's no medal ceremony at the end -- but at least fans get an ending of that saga. That's a thing to celebrate, as we look to the future and what more stories we have to tell. There's always another story, and we got to get to work on them now.

This is part two of our exclusive interview with Dave Filoni. Check out part one for a spoiler-filled breakdown of the series finale of "The Clone Wars."


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