Season three of Star Wars Rebels premiered on Saturday (oh hey, I have a recap for that), and something besides Ezra’s haircut was different. The supervising director credit said Justin Ridge instead of Dave Filoni. Big Shiny Robot noticed the change and reached out to Lucasfilm. Dave Filoni has been the supervising director for every episode of Rebels until now, and he was also in that role for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, so, yeah, it’s a noteworthy change. But! Before anyone panics and thinks Dave is stepping down or away from Star Wars Rebels, take a deep breath. It’s all fine. It’s all great, really. The change in roles will give Filoni more time to focus on the story and to develop other Star Wars animated projects.
The entire statement from Lucasfilm:
“Dave is still just as involved as ever – overseeing all aspects of Star Wars Rebels production as Executive Producer and occasionally directing episodes. In many ways, mentoring Justin and moving him into the role as Supervising Director has made it possible for Dave to be even more immersed in the writing and story structure of the show as well as creatively overseeing future animation development. Justin started with Lucasfilm Animation on the first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and worked with Dave before that on Avatar: The Last Airbender, so they’ve been working together for quite some time.”
Of course Ridge isn’t an unknown quantity. He’s spent a lot of time in the Star Wars animated universe working as both a storyboard artist and director on The Clone Wars and Rebels. This is his chance to get involved in a bigger way. As Lucasfilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo said on Twitter, “Justin’s stepping up. No one’s stepping down. Dave is his George, one might say.” George Lucas mentored Filoni during the production of The Clone Wars, and now Dave gets to do the same. Filoni’s still going to be hands-on with Rebels; I don’t think we’ll see any changes in the series.
With that cleared up, let’s focus on the most exciting part of Lucasfilm’s statement–the part about Filoni creatively overseeing future animation development. I can’t say that’s hot off the press or “news” as it’s not out of the realm of possibility Filoni has been doing that for a while–maybe his role just wasn’t labeled as such publicly. In fact, season three of Rebels has been in the works for months, so any behind the scenes changes happened a while ago. The point is knowing Filoni’s at the helm in the animated arena is exciting and reassuring.
We know another animated project is coming. Between Jennifer Muro, a known animated series writer and editor talking about starting a new project at Lucasfilm and ABC News president Ben Sherwood telling The Hollywood Reporter, “We are deep into a very productive relationship with Lucasfilm making [Disney XD’s] Star Wars Rebels. And we are in ongoing conversations with them on what is the next Star Wars animated show,” it’s not a silly guess to say it’s a done deal. And whatever that series is, Filoni will be overseeing it. If moving away from a supervising director role on Rebels helps free him up to do that, I’m on board.
Do you have any theories about what the next animated series at Lucasfilm will focus on? Share ’em in the comments.
Image: Disney XD/Lucasfilm, When in Academia