Dave Filoni’s New ‘Star Wars’ Show Continues One Famous Theme

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dave filoni on disney gallery the mandalorian roundtable discussion

Credit: Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian on Disney+

Star Wars fans have been through a lot over the past four decades. After a heroic start to the science-fiction franchise in the 1970s with Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1997), George Lucas’ epic space opera spawned two popular sequels — including the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — and brought about one of the world’s leading movie universes.

Years later, Lucas would launch Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) — an animated return to the galaxy far, far away with Dave Filoni at the helm as director. Filoni is a big name at Lucasfilm, recently being officially confirmed as Executive Creative Director and working on The Mandalorian Season 2, where he directed “Chapter 13: The Jedi” which introduced Rosario Dawson as the live-action Ahsoka Tano.

Now, his latest show is continuing a famous Star Wars legacy.

clone wars 3
Credit: Lucasfilm

Created by Filoni, Star Wars: The Bad Batch takes a closer look at the rise of the Empire in a post-Order 66 Star Wars universe. The animated series joins Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian Season 1 and 2 as the latest entries into the Star Wars canon and is exclusively streaming on Disney+. Produced by Lucasfilm Animation, Jennifer Corbett serves as head writer and Brad Rau as supervising director — the same role Filoni had on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.

Dee Bradley Baker is back voicing the elite squad of Clone Troopers known as Clone Force 99 or The Bad Batch. But it is the entry of a new character — Michelle Ang’s enhanced clone Omega — that harks back to a key relationship theme that Star Wars has explored time and time again.

the bad batch clone wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

With signs pointing to Omega being a Force-sensitive clone created by the Kaminoans, the young character’s relationship with Hunter — the commanding officer of The Bad Batch — plays with the famous trope of “Wolf and Cub”. While not exclusive to the Star Wars universe, this idea of a somewhat tortured older character mentoring an up-and-coming new potential hero is something that has featured heavily in Star Wars media before.

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn took in a young Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine before the latter was mentored by Obi-Wan Kenobi after Qui-Gon’s death at the hands of Darth Maul. Anakin would go onto play a huge role in the training of Ahsoka Tano in Filoni’s The Clone Wars. Star Wars Rebels introduced Karran Jarrus as a Jedi survivor of Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66 who subsequently took in a young Ezra Bridger as his Padawan learner. And more recently, bounty hunter Din Djarin searched the galaxy to return Grogu AKA “Baby Yoda” to the care of the Jedi.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Not so much a “Lone Wolf” trope in the way that The Bad Batch is primarily around a tight-knit group of enhanced clones, but having Omega as the ward of Hunter does play with the mentor/mentee relationship so often found in Star Wars media. George Lucas even said that Star Wars isn’t about spaceships but family, describing it as a “soap opera”. Found family is perhaps a more all-encompassing term for these iconic relationships. That being said, Filoni has opened up before about his fascination with wolves.

Speaking during the run of Star Wars Rebels in 2017, the Lucasfilm director said:

“The inspiration for me begins with a movie called Never Cry Wolf based on the book by Farley Mowat and directed by Caroll Ballard […] “It just really kind of opened my eyes as a young kid to the world and the environment and wolves.”

kanan jarrus (left) with padawan ezra bridger (right)
Credit: Lucasfilm

Filoni even goes on to describe his interests in detail.

“They’re often vilified, but sometimes they’re seen as teachers […] They have this duality towards mankind and a representation that to me is very similar to the Force. The Force has a dark side and a light side. These animals have stories that seem to have a dark side and a light side.

In Filoni’s own words, it is easy to see how this fascination with the wolf has transcended into his Star Wars creations. Not only is there duality in most of these mentor characters — the “Wolf” — there is significant uncertainty on how that duality rubs off on their mentee — the “Cub”. We saw Ahsoka Tano defy her old master Anakin Skywalker when he turned to the Dark Side but we also saw the journey of Din Djarin, for example, go from a typical bounty hunter to a caring protector of little Grogu in The Mandalorian.

grogu and din djarin in razor crest cockpit
Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

While the family elements of the Star Wars universe are often well-received, it is worth noting that the (almost) retcon of Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) ancestry in the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), drew polarising opinions from fans. JJ Abrams made Rey’s familial connection to the Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine Star Wars canon, seemingly rejecting Rian Johnson’s view that Rey was a “nobody” in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2018). The director also gave Rey Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) surname in an attempt to preserve the legendary name.

rey and kylo force healing
Credit: Lucasfilm

It’s safe to say that Lucas’s family vision for the Star Wars saga is perhaps its most prominent theme and Filoni is continuing that with the ragtag bunch of troopers in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. After only four episodes of the new animated series, it will be interesting to see the development of Hunter and Omega as Star Wars‘ newest “Wolf and Cub”.

What is your favorite Star Wars relationship? Let us know in the comments!

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