The events of Star Wars Rebels episodes "Jedi Night" and "Dume" have left many a fan with an overabundance of emotion and a number of questions. SYFY WIRE sat down to talk with Dave Filoni about the significance of certain events within each episode and how they may or may not influence the rest of the series as it ends its run.
**Spoiler Warning: This interview contains spoilers for Star Wars Rebels.**
The voices in the beginning ... I recognize some from the episode. Am I correct about that? I had to go back and listen several times. Was there anything in there from previous episodes?
Dave Filoni: It's a tricky thing. Sound is very important to me as a storyteller. I think part of that stems from my love of Skysound and the work Matt Wood and Ben Burtt and Dave Acord have done, and I've worked with them for years, so I have a lot of appreciation for what sound can do for you in a story. To the very last moment of this series, we really orchestrated the sound to tell you important third and fourth layers of the story.
You will hear [more] voices before the end of the season. ... Everything is pulled specifically. Bonnie and I worked quite a bit on getting that sound to tell a story. It's the kind of thing that if you don't hear it ... you don't lose anything from what you're watching. But if you're into this sort of thing and like a deeper dive in some things, like how the Force works, the sound will help tell you parts of that story.
Is Kanan seeing the future?
I always subscribe to the possible future idea. I don't think anything's ever set in stone. When Yoda warns Luke that "If you leave now, help them you could." I always think that when Luke sees his friends suffering on Cloud City he sees that, but he doesn't see whether or not his friends get out. By taking his own action he kind of robs them of their own agency, and he can be throwing them into more peril and he could be throwing himself into peril, so I think you have to be careful how you read what you see in the future.
You have to be careful how your own feelings are coloring it. Which is why Kanan's asking Ezra to take up the point on the mission to rescue Hera, so his own feelings don't color the rescue mission. But then also you know there are other forces at work in the universe that do try to manipulate the future to their advantage. We'll see how that plays out as we go forward.
What is the significance of the haircut?
Well, I think for me it just deals with an idea of purification, and Kanan knows something's going to happen. I play in my head with the idea of how much he actually knows is going to happen in a literal sense. But he knows this is a transformative moment for him. So in that there's almost this ritualistic idea that he needs to recenter and somewhat transform himself. The way that he became, growing his long hair and growing the beard and all those things are kind of things he inherits and takes on as he lost his sight and as his world got strange and complex. So it's almost like him revealing himself again by taking away these things, letting go, taking his hair off symbolically. It plays to me in that realm of a transitional thing.
Then I started thinking ... what did he look like when he first met Hera? I don't think for him it's as conscious as that. For me, creatively, to say he looked more like this. You know, you look younger when you shave and cut your hair. So it's kind of an interesting identity that he takes on at the end.
I have to know, what was he gonna say to her? Kanan to Hera? "I have to tell you something ..."
Well, I put that in really late. Because I always played with the idea that if he has an inkling that he might die that day during that mission, I thought he would have an instinct to want to tell her, but that could be dangerous. ... I think it's very human in that moment to say, "I need to tell you this, something really bad might happen today." And how he feels about her. I thought without that moment where he wants to be completely truthful to her it just feels false.
Speaking of which, having the whole moment between Hera and Chopper ... the second they show up Chopper just rolls right for her.
That was a super important moment to me. I've always felt Chopper has this secret high emotional level. People don't realize sometimes the reason someone is cantankerous or picks on them is because they care a great deal. You start to see the beginning of Chopper's little facade break there a little bit, and the idea that he would be the one that could approach her and know not to say anything but just take her hand was a powerful image.
For me, how Hera deals with this is very important. She's very distraught, but she's also a powerful leader. I didn't want her to melt into nothing because Kanan was gone. I think she has a lot of pride. For me, finding images to depict that, just her hand closing on her little droid's hand, at one point she had a line there where she said, "I don't know what to do." I got rid of it. I was like, "I don't want to hear her say that right now."
I always get worried about the audience hearing the writer. ... I want to read it on her face. Vanessa can deliver so much through her voice, she's so good in those scenes. Her and Freddie, frankly, it's the best they've ever been. They're so great together. I want to do 20 episodes with these two ...
How did Ezra not pick up on [the Dume Wolf being] Kanan? The marking on the forehead, the blue eyes ...
I think that's a subjective question. Is that Kanan? I have answers for all of that. ... What I will say ... is that Dume the Wolf can't exist until Kanan the Jedi is gone. Those two things don't exist at the same time. Dume the Wolf has a lot in common with Bendu as far as what kind of thing they are.
There's a similarity between these type of occurrences. The only wolf that's particularly what you would call real are probably the gray ones that are always running around but don't really say much. The white one is more of a guide. We can get into that later. There's a little more you need to see before we really break it down. Since Season 1 I've been obsessed with this idea of Ezra falling asleep in the wilds and waking up and there being this giant spirit guide there to talk to him. For a while, it was this giant Loth-cat.
It worked later for the mythology to change it to this wolf. But you know you have these ideas and kind of figure out where they fit and then later it actually works. It's interesting how that happens. I drive the crew nuts with these wolves because they have to look a certain way and move a certain way, but they did a brilliant job bringing them to life. They're equal parts friendly and ferocious.
Do you have a message for the fans, anything you want to tell people that you want to let them know after you break their hearts?
It's very simple, they just have to trust me. They have to trust me here in where we're going with it. None of it is done recklessly or because of a line in a different movie. It's all important. It's as important to the people making it as it is to the people watching it, the reason we're trying to do this so well is because we value the people that have stuck with us for all four seasons. This is how the story has to go. I think we'll see what they think when they come out the other side.
You can read more of my interview with Dave Filoni, including more about Kanan and Hera specifically and why Kanan's death was so personal for the showrunner himself, later this week. Until then, may the Force be with you.