The Force is strong with Dave Filoni. And so, it seems, is Twitter.
Last summer, Lucasfilm quietly promoted the executive producer and frequent writer and director of “The Mandalorian” to executive creative director for the entire studio, a rep confirms with Variety. But the company didn’t update its website with Filoni’s new title until this week, which is when it began to percolate, and then explode, across Reddit and Twitter, as if the promotion had just happened.
— Charlie Schneider (@AwesomEmergency) May 20, 2021
— Okiro (@TheFirstOkiro) May 20, 2021
HELL YES!!! So happy for you, @dave_filoni !! 👏🏼👏🏼
So deserve this!🥰🧡 https://t.co/IloxFTH1uI
— Ming-Na Wen (@MingNa) May 20, 2021
The excitement is understandable. The 46-year-old has been a fixture at Lucasfilm ever since George Lucas selected him in 2005 to oversee the animated series “The Clone Wars,” which launched in 2008 and ultimately ran for seven seasons.
Lucas was such an important mentor to Filoni that many fans see the latter as the true heir to the “Star Wars” mythology — the creative mind who best understands what makes “Star Wars” work, and what doesn’t. After Lucas sold the company to Disney, Filoni created two more well received animated series — “Star Wars Rebels” and “Star Wars Resistance” — and then Jon Favreau tapped him to executive produce “The Mandalorian,” Lucasfilm’s first live-action TV series for Disney Plus.
In December, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced that Filoni and Favreau are executive producing several “Mandalorian” spinoffs for Disney Plus, including “The Book of Boba Fett,” which is currently shooting and premiering in December, and “Ahsoka,” starring Rosario Dawson, and based on the character Filoni created in “The Clone Wars.” (A third announced spinoff, “Rangers of the New Republic,” is not currently in active development.)
Kennedy also said these spinoffs, which all take place within the same timeline, will ultimately culminate in a “storytelling event.” Filoni’s title as executive creative director captures the complicated role of overseeing both individual series and a larger storyline that weaves together several shows. Given Filoni’s galaxy-sized “Star Wars” expertise, he’s also been known to weigh in on other “Star Wars” projects outside of his direct purview.
There is another reason that some “Star Wars” fans rejoiced at the news of Filoni’s title of “executive creative director”: Kennedy remains a lightning rod for a certain subset of the fandom, and predictions that she is leaving Lucasfilm have become so common they are practically white noise. But as other fans have also noted on Twitter, Kennedy is the one who gave Filoni his promotion, and Disney’s leadership has given no indication that Kennedy will be leaving her post any time soon.
Filoni’s “new” position was seen as one of many promotions that are announced internally but not made public, and it appears the company was caught off-guard by the enthusiastic response to a standard (if overdue) update to its website — at one point on Thursday, the site was temporarily unavailable. It’s all another reminder that with “Star Wars” fans, it’s do or do not — there is no try.