There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Star Wars over the years. Not all of it was bad, mind you. Darth Vader announcing that he was Luke Skywalker’s father was nothing if not controversial back in 1980. Few things, however, have been more controversial over the course of the franchise’s forty-three year history than The Last Jedi. That divide came courtesy of director Rian Johnson and his departure from the Star Wars norm. So, it comes as a bit of a shock to hear Dave Filoni dub the embattled Episode VIII director instrumental to Filoni’s work on The Mandalorian.
Okay, Okay, I know what you’re thinking. If you’re a regular reader you know that I’ve written a few editorials about Rian Johnson. But…. You will also know that my issue isn’t with Johnson as a director, generally. It’s mostly with Johnson as Star Wars writer. He is, notwithstanding the fact that many perceive TLJ to be one of the biggest Star Wars missteps in franchise history, still a talented director. (See, for example, Knives Out.) Take the writing of The Last Jedi out of the equation and you have a visually stunning film. It was Johnson’s hands-on approach to film-making that Dave Filoni found to be crucial to his work on The Mandalorian.
Rian Johnson Instrumental to The Mandalorian
Filoni recently spoke to Deadline about The Mandalorian and its multiple Emmy nominations. Dave Filoni, of course, is the genius visionary who worked hand in hand with George Lucas on The Clone Wars. He also brought us Star Wars Rebels. Notwithstanding, directing live-action was still new to him. So, he spent time on the set of the Star Wars blockbusters (The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi) to learn. On working with Rian Johnson, Filoni had this to say:
Rian Johnson, I gotta say, was really instrumental for me as far as just grabbing me, getting me right up next to the camera, with him and the [director of photography], blocking a scene. He was very supportive of my early efforts….”
Filoni would go on to recall how “[d]oing live-action is something that hadn’t really occurred to me until I started working with George Lucas on The Clone Wars.” Perhaps there is a bright side to Rian Johnson directing The Last Jedi, after all. The technical insight he was able to impart finally helped to fulfill fans’ desire for Filoni to take part in live-action Star Wars. And he’s not going away now, either.
The Mandalorian Season 2 will purportedly premier October 7, or thereabouts, and Filoni’s hands will be all over it.