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Dave Filoni Revealed His Biggest ‘Star Wars’ Mentor (Besides George Lucas), And Some Fans Might Find This Controversial

After The Mandalorian proved to be a massive hit with Star Wars fan, Dave Filoni received a mountain of praise for “saving” the franchise from the Sequel Trilogy, which had an extremely rough landing thanks to The Rise of Skywalker. The animation veteran worked directly under George Lucas on The Clone Wars animated series, which Filoni later expanded on with the spinoff series Rebels. The guy knows his stuff, and his love for Star Wars was evident when he made the jump to live-action and joined forces with Jon Favreau on The Mandalorian.

However, Filoni’s path to live-action filmmaking actually started years before The Mandalorian even existed. When Disney bought Star Wars in the early 2010s, new Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy immediately started shipping Filoni off to film sets after George Lucas raved about him. According to Filoni, his most useful experience was on the set of The Last Jedi where Rian Johnson took him under his wing more than any other director. In fact, Filoni still seeks his advice to the day.

Via The Hollywood Reporter:

I visited J.J. [Abrams] on The Force Awakens, I visited Gareth Edwards [on Rogue One] and I visited Rian on [The Last Jedi]. But Rian was the one who shoved me up front, sticking lenses in my hand and really getting me immersed in it. And so I still talk with him to this day. He’s obviously a very talented filmmaker, and I was just very fortunate to be in such an environment where I could sit and listen and learn.

What makes Filoni’s admission fascinating is there’s a vocal contingent of Star Wars fans who think Johnson “ruined” the franchise with The Last Jedi and that Filoni is the only creator who “gets” Star Wars. Turns out, Johnson has been a valuable sounding board for Filoni this whole time as well as being Filoni’s biggest mentor in helping him transition to live-action. It’s certainly a twist that Star Wars fans probably didn’t see coming.

New episodes of The Mandalorian stream Wednesday on Disney+.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)