After a brief hiatus following seasons of The Mandalorian and Andor, Star Wars roared back to the Disney+ streaming service with the first two episodes of Ahsoka. Rosario Dawson continued to play the Jedi master in live-action form, and those who were up to date on the animated series Star Wars Rebels knew exactly where Ahsoka fell on the overall Star Wars timeline. Both Rebels and now Ahsoka fall under the creative umbrella of Dave Filoni, who has worked hand in hand with Jon Favreau on so many recent Star Wars streaming projects. And now that he’s making the leap to Star Wars feature films, I wanted to get his take on some of the groundbreaking tech that’s available to him now.
Ahsoka writer and director Dave Filoni spoke with CinemaBlend earlier this year during Star Wars Celebration over in the UK (and long before the current WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes). And one of the topics of conversation, particularly with regards to the Disney+ shows like The Mandalorian, was the use of Lucasfilm StageCraft, which is a high-tech video wall designed by Industrial Light & Magic that allows directors to create the appearance of a location without leaving a studio space. StageCraft has been used by The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Andor, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It only makes sense to me that Filoni would employ the tech on the Star Wars movie he’s supposed to be directing.
But he told me at Star Wars Celebration:
That’s a great question. If it applies, 100 percent I would. I’m fortunate to have been on the ground floor of that, and having experienced it with my team, I know when it works and when it doesn’t work. There are certain situations where you absolutely want to use it, and there are certain situations where it’s better to do it on a regular stage with blue screen. There are certain situations where you just want to go outside. You have to just know and trust your team for when is the right time to use it.
Listening to Dave Filoni talk about StageCraft, it sounds just like another miraculous tool that is at a filmmaker’s disposal – one that has been designed by ILM the way others have in the past. In the same way, Filoni currently is exploring the best ways to bring his animated creations to life in live-action, be it Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka, or the pending appearance of Grand Admiral Thrawn. And as he continued to talk about StageCraft, Filoni told us:
For me, in animation, I like to do a lot of previsualization. I like to work out a lot of things virtually beforehand. I can watch a cut of the film before I’ve shot it. And I brought the DPs into the process. So we look at it a lot, up front. Yeah, I would definitely say it’s on the table, but I Have no fear of doing it in other ways. I think it’s a different tool that you have in the box to use at this point.
Back when George Lucas was filming on the original Star Wars, he had to go out of his way to find geographical stand ins for planets like Tatooine. StageCraft makes the process of bringing that galaxy far, far away to life in an easier, quicker, and cheaper process. We don’t know yet when Filoni’s Star Wars movie is going to take place, but if I had to gamble, I’d say that he was bringing his beloved Rebels to life in live-action alongside Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka so they can play a part in whatever story he wants to tell. As we get details on any of the upcoming Star Wars movies and shows, we will report it here.