Dave Filoni wasn’t one to shy away from testing boundaries, with either Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels. This is the man that introduced us to hyperspace-traveling space whales, after all. Filoni is a master when it comes to weaving the improbable into his stories and making the incredulous fans believers. I suppose we really shouldn’t be surprised that Rian Johnson now claims to have taken inspiration from Filoni. The director recently cited the Clone Wars Mortis arc as that inspiration.
The Last Jedi was the most controversial and divisive of all the live-action, feature films to date. As much as people hated Ewoks, George Lucas never received any death threats that I’m aware of. I’m sure there were plenty of reasons why Johnson took the franchise in a decidedly… unexpected direction. It’s a bit of a surprise that he cites the Mortis arc specifically.
‘Clone Wars’ Mortis Arc Inspired The Last Jedi
Johnson took to Twitter to once again explain and/or defend his choices for The Last Jedi. This time he did so by responding to a question posed of him regarding the Mortis arc. We see the question, and Johnson’s reply, in this Twitter screen shot ScreenRant posted recently:
The Mortis Arc
The story arc to which Johnson references took place during a three-episode arc of Clone Wars Season 3. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka find themselves in a sort of ethereal plane with three embodiments of the Force itself; the Daughter (the light); the Son (the dark); and the Father, the balance between them. The dying Father worries of who, or what, will keep the Force in balance upon his passing. (The trio would later appear in a mural at the Jedi Temple on Lothal in Season 4 of Rebels.)
The arc is an allegory for the underlying battle between good and evil that permeates Star Wars. Criticized when it first aired, the Mortis arc has, over time, come to represent Filoni’s ability to push limits while still staying true to the heart of Star Wars.
It’s easy to take inspiration from that, although Johnson doesn’t particularly elaborate on just what inspiration he took. If it was simply the inspiration to do something subversive and shocking, well, mission accomplished. Where Filoni succeeded, and Johnson failed however, was in creating a tangible connection between the shock and awe and the rest of the franchise. Johnson, on the other hand, created such a disconnect that many fans now wonder if the saga can rebound with Star Wars Episode IX.
It’s one thing to take inspiration from something. Creating something inspirational from it? That’s something different entirely.