Star Wars: Rebels producer talks canon, easter eggs and the future of the franchise

We might still have a while to wait until J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII arrives, but the new era of Star Wars officially kicked off this past weekend with the new animated series Rebels.

Producer Dave Filoni, a carryover from the Star Wars: Clone Wars series, is a key member of the modern-day Lucasfilm braintrust and chatted with Collider about the new series in the wake of the Star Wars: Rebels premiere this past weekend on Disney Channel.

The premiere didn’t blow our socks off, but it was solid. You could tell they were playing it safe to reintroduce the world of Star Wars with a whole new cast of characters out to fight the evil Empire in a different corner of the galaxy. But it did have a few nice nods to the original trilogy, and not surprisingly, that was done largely by design.

Filoni opened up about the challenge of meshing with the larger universe while avoiding the easter egg farm problem, and he had some interesting thoughts after a decade of creating Star Wars canon. Oh, and he also borrowed some tech from the classic Star Wars toys made by Kenner. Now, that’s what we call one epic easter egg:

“It’s hard to tell with Star Wars fans what constitutes an easter egg anymore. I could do something very simple, and then people are so excited about it and act like I put it there for them, so I’m like, ‘Yes, I did!’ The answer is that it’s not hard, at all.  What I find is that I’ll do something that feels selfish and go, ‘Well, I saw this in the Return of the Jedi sketch book, as a kid, and it’s never been in a film, so I want to put it in a film.’ An entire generation of people relates to that. We put the Troop Transport into the show, and that was a Kenner toy that was never in the films. We needed a transport for the Imperials, and I said, ‘How about that old Kenner one? I had that. I loved that thing.’ People are very excited about that. Star Wars works best when you can watch it over and over again and see new things in the background and realize that droid was in the background there, or this species that never talked before does now. There are a lot of fun things that you can do.”

Along with sneaking in well-placed Kenner toys, Filoni is also tasked with telling stories that legitimately fall within the new film canon (as well as the original trilogy) with Rebels. He takes the challenge seriously, of course, but notes the best thing to do is just try and tell the best stories possible. While, you know, making sure they don’t wipe out a film or two worth of movie canon:

“Everything that I’ve worked on at Lucasfilm has been considered canon. Working on Clone Wars, it was always canon. I never really worry about it. I always figured that most things that are done in a cinematic form, whether it be television or movies, are the only things that George considered canon because it was the stuff that he helped produce. So, it made sense that this would be, as well. And I’ve always thought of it that way. I think it’s exciting that we’ve tried to align everything, so that fans are getting a real multi-media, multi-dimensional experience.  It is a lot work. I can fill my day with just working on scripts and shootings stories, let alone trying to keep up with what the novels are doing and the comics are doing. But, we have a large amount of people dedicated to it. I’ll definitely give my notes and I’ll say, ‘If anyone is trying to use this character, I want to know about it.’ We’re all taking great care to make this work.”

The full interview is a fascinating read, and includes some additional stuff talking about how the series changed during development. Well worth the time, especially if you checked out Rebels this past weekend.

Did you watch the premiere? What’d you think? 

(Via Collider)

More from around the web