Dave Filoni on Kanan's future and how George Lucas and Tolkien impact Star Wars Rebels

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Feb 22, 2018, 3:00 PM EST

Spoiler Warning: This interview contains spoilers for Star Wars Rebels.

In Part One of my interview with Dave Filoni, we talked about the meaning behind some of the events of Star Wars Rebels episodes "Jedi Night" and "Dume". One of the big questions I had was in regard to Kanan and how, when, or where we might see him again.

You'll notice that I left this pretty much as is, but I was truly loath to edit this because Dave has a tendency to drop little insights while he's talking -- and Star Wars fans love speculating.

kanan against the fire rebels.jpg

Credit: Lucasfilm

I am assuming you can't answer this, but will we see Kanan again?

Dave Filoni: That's a great question. I'm not gonna say. The only thing I would bring up about that, and I'm imagining flying force ghosts, is that I learned from George that being a force ghost isn't just as easy as dying and then you reappear. There's actually a whole philosophy and methodology around it that we got into in Clone Wars with Yoda and Qui-Gon and how Jedi in the prequel era don't actually believe that you can maintain your own individual consciousness after death. They believe you're part of the living force at first and then you pass on and become part of the cosmic force and part of the whole.

In that way, when you see the Dume wolf, to say that Dume isn't exactly Kanan, it's not his individual consciousness, but it is a part of the whole. All material is matter, all things at one level on the same level in different states constantly changing. So Dume is kind of a version of that. There's a consciousness to some degree of Kanan in it, but not so active that it would say, "Hello, Ezra."


I really didn't want Kanan to die, [but] the fact that he was being a hero in the moment and completing the mission and in a way fulfilling his promise to Hera, all in that moment, was incredible. If he had to go, that would be the way to do it.

I really appreciate that. I do not subscribe at all to the idea that because there's one line in a movie that says "When gone am I the last of the Jedi you will be" that my characters have to die. I don't buy into that in the least. I think all those lines are subjective. When I see people saying they have to die, that's absolutely not true.

I definitely try to make it the story it needs to be for Star Wars Rebels. That's something that when I talk to Kiri Hart and she and Simon Kinberg and I have always been focused on. I know the movies, but we have to answer the problems and questions we set up in this show and show how to deal with them and remain very true to what George always taught me about Star Wars and about the Jedi and about selflessness and selfless actions.

The most significant action of Luke Skywalker is to throw away his weapon [in Return of the Jedi]. That's when he becomes a Jedi. Not because of some power he learns as a Jedi, not because of some way to use the force, it's his capacity to care about his father and to be willing to die for him. That's the entire ball game right there. I will lay down my arms. You cannot hurt me.


What he's telling the Emperor there is the same thing that Obi-Wan told Vader, "If you strike me down I'll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." But people that are evil and filled with fear don't understand that when Obi-Wan dies to Vader's hand that he's become powerful. They only think the Death Star is powerful. But Obi-Wan becomes the inspiration that motivates Luke to become something that Luke couldn't have become otherwise.

That's how you really win over evil in the end. It's not about being the hero, it's about doing something that's right and good just because you believe in it. That's what we need a lot of right now. I think Kanan being able to embody that for this boy who grew up on this planet who needs to understand that, he lost his parents before, you could, of course, lose them again, what Kanan's trying to show him is how he led his life and what he chose to have his life be about is important. And that it's for others.

Those are the key things that I think drive the story of Rebels and hopefully, it works. It's not easy stuff in the story but I think we get somewhere that we'll see what people think. We're so close now. I'm so glad you guys are getting to watch it. I like that we can have these discussions. It's exciting for me.

[Right about this point, I may have started to cry. Like one does.]

I ask myself all the time why do I do these stories the way I do. They tend to have this drama unfold in them. I don't know, I like that people feel. I think it's important to feel and be invested in things. When I see that people care about the good things, it makes me think there's a lot of hope out there that we all in-kind want the same thing. For good things to happen and for us to prevail over what is otherwise known as evil.

We have to accept that sometimes, Kanan leads the way, Obi-Wan, Gandalf even, "Fly you fool, fly." Those are the heroes I grew up with. Obi-Wan and Gandalf and Frodo. For me as a kid, reading Lord of the Rings, I realized at one point reading the books that Frodo's up there on this Mount Doom, he's never met anybody from Gondor, he's never met anybody from Rohan, and he doesn't know the people. He didn't live there or grow up there. But he's ready to die for all these people. Because it's the right thing to do, it's for the greater good. That's very powerful to me. Those things lasted with me obviously all the way through my life. Working with George really helped focus my storytelling to help get you guys. And we have a great team here that love these stories and characters too.

hera and kanan kiss rebels.jpg

Credit: Lucasfilm

Part Three of this interview with Star Wars Rebels' Dave Filoni touches on Kanan and Hera's relationship, along with how the loss of a father can impact an entire series. Stay tuned.