The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION interview with Freddie Prinze Jr and Dave Filoni! #starwarsrebels
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Friday, October 3, 2014

STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION interview with Freddie Prinze Jr and Dave Filoni! #starwarsrebels

Disclosure: I attended the #VeryBadDayEvent #starwarsrebels #disneyinhomeevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are 100% mine.

As part of our pres trip, we were able to interview the Dave Filoni, executive producer, and Freddie Prinze Jr., actor, from Star Wars Rebels. I will have a review of Star Wars Rebels so stay tuned.

This was my first real press junket and it was cool. Yes, I am a nerd but there is something to be said about watching a film and then get to meet the actors and other people involved. For all the interviews I am going to be sharing, there were only 25 bloggers in the room. So it was pretty intimate.

I have to say that Dave Filoni and Freddie Prinze Jr. were super gracious and nice. They were also interesting. You could also tell that both were HUGE Star Wars fans. I am a HUGE Star Wars fan so I appreciated that. Their passion comes through in their work on Star Wars Rebels, which I loved.

Some great questions were asked and they had some great answers. They talk about their love of Star Wars, casting and strong female characters. Here is part of that interview. Enjoy!

Q: Star Wars is such a legacy, a huge franchise. How did it feel to be a part of that?

Freddie Prinze, Jr. (FP): I didn't know it was Star Wars. It was titled Wolf Pack. And you'll have to speak to him [Dave] about that. I went in and I saw some character breakdowns on the wall at Disney and I looked at them and I'm thinking, these guys are either ripping off Star Wars real bad or this is a Star Wars thing.

And there was another girl in the waiting room and she was reading for Tia's Character and she looked super nervous. And when she came out of the room, it was like this is definitely Star Wars. So I asked them and I think I said a word that I shouldn't say [at] this first Table run. I said is this bleeping Star Wars? And then he kind of sits back and he kind of nods his head all cool and I was like all right, give me a second. I've got to turn around and compose myself and then get prepared. Instead of a Light Sabre, I had a Sun Sword, which Thunder the Barbarian had from Hanna Barbera.
But they ripped off Star Wars. They even had their Wookie. They had Klan, right? My '80s cartoon knowledge is on point.

Q: What made you want to do this?

Dave Filoni (DF): Well you know, we were kind of wrapping up the series, Clone Wars [and] with the big Disney purchase, it was time for a change and fans felt very strongly about the show. But in all honesty, it just felt like something that we probably shouldn't continue without George. We wanted to come up with something new that represented this kind of new era of Star Wars and working with [the] Lucas Films Story team, we all quickly came up with the idea of Star Wars Rebels. The story team introduced the idea to make an A-Team like scenario and it just makes sense.

And one of the greatest things I think we've had early on at Lucas Films are the people that Kathleen Kennedy has brought in, we've all gotten along really well and collaborated really well. We all feel the same way about Star Wars and even more so for people like Cary Hart, who's Head of Story at Lucas Film. I know she feels the same way about Lucas Film that I do. It was something that was very special to us as kids growing up, when we could see that logo at the beginning of a story, we would go this is gonna be different, this is gonna give you the special feeling. I can't really put it into words. It was hopeful, it was exciting. You saw things you'd never seen before on screen and so we're all about trying to continue that legacy now.

Q: Talk about the strong female characters here.

DF: I think that, it’s a strange word to use but like it’s just a necessity. I think most creatives you speak to right now would say that if they had a choice to tell a story, they would use a female lead. I think some people feel that the stories have been told, with the guys.

FP: I was gonna say, Clone Wars is a good example where we can show good and evil, strong, powerful women at a young age to a more young adult age as far as young female protagonists. They did Clone Wars big time, both good and evil.

DF: Yeah, so we didn’t want to repeat Luke so we did Soka [Ahsoka, character in Clone Wars]. And then we did Ezra cause we didn’t want a repeat of Soka, so instead we made the women characters ones that didn't have the force, ones that could be tough on their own. So when we direct Hara, I say, I want you to say and be and do any of the lines [that] you would have given Han Solo. I don't want you to change them in any way. I want this character as a being that would react like Clint Eastwood when he got shot. You see, I get schooled on this on a daily basis at home by my wife and honestly, she’s a way better storyteller than I am.

And for all of the ways that I think that representation of female characters are a hot topic in the news, I ask her opinion on all these things because I, like anybody else, need a greater education when we're creating these characters. You know, how to make them well rounded, how to get them better represented right down to the costume and the way they look and the way they walk. The way I got around Soka was I just treated her like a Jedi. I didn't think of her as a girl cause I’m a guy so I don't really. The only perspective I have is my assistant at the time was a girl and I had never had an assistant before.

So I related to that in trying to have this much younger girl follow me around and help me with my schedule and I'm very independent. So I applied a lot of that to the story. Even when George asked us to have her call him a Skyguy and Snips. So I started calling my assistant Snips just to see how that would work cause I thought that might be really weird. You just try to form relationships. I have two nieces. I want them to have heroes to look up to, like I did. So I just think it’s a great time for it. And I think the audience is very ready for it but I think they've been ready for a long time.

There’s a fascination in the press that seems to think that it’s a recent thing that girls like Star Wars. My designer at ABC, she liked Star Wars as a little girl. It’s just been ignored.

FP: And just because Leah is in a Dress, don't trip. She’s tougher than the guys in all 3 Movies. You all are in dresses. I’m sure some of you can move on us. That existed in the Star Wars World long, long ago.

DF: It’s got to be more about your spirit, your integrity, your emotions as a character than anything superficial so that’s what we try to work with. And like I said, my wife is definitely the hugest influence for me there. If I’ve been successful at all creating female characters, it’s because of her absolutely.

Q: Talk about the casting process.

DF: Oh it went so fast. We made this show very quick because we wanted to film in the time prior to [Star Wars] Episode 7. You know, that's gonna be this thunderous amazing thing that, but it was gonna take time to produce so we wanted to get an animated series up ahead to kind of get kids up and going with Star Wars, and in this new world and so it was one of the big challenges when we were sold. It was gonna be very hard to cast quickly and my feelings were that you just, you know the right people when you hear them, when you see them. So we met everybody when they came in, we just brought in a group of people and pretty much without fail, Simon Kinberg, Greg Weisman and I always would give high marks to the same people.

We've been so lucky that creatively, we've all collaborated really well, Lucasfilm. And we've all pretty much agreed on the decisions. It's really rare, so we would pick our top people and we were like Wow, I agree, I heard he is really good. I like to judge things, you can be really talented but if you're not a good person, if you're not gonna be collaborative, then I don't want to work with you. Talent is not gonna outweigh that. I think that's the important thing, for young people. If you're really talented and you're arrogant, I don't want to work with you. I want somebody who's hard working. When I went to play hockey growing up, my Coach always appreciated the kids that put in the work, not just the talented kids.

You got to work for things. And we got to work hard together to prove. We got to get along really well. And these guys have to become these characters. So it really worked out. So it's really more of, I can see a lot of people [that] might have the acting chops but you have the personality. I think an important part of being an actor in Star Wars is you have to accept the exposure to our fans and I want you to treat them with respect because they'll treat you with respect for the most part. And they've all been great.

To me Freddie's kind of like a Star Wars goal, he gets it. He gets the attitude. You get the swagger, my friend. That kind of Han Solo thing.

FP: It's a generation thing. It's a genetic thing when you're around our age, that was back when wrestling was real. That was back when the news told the truth. So it's ingrained and it's a part of you so you know, you read lines and I'm literally, like before I even talked to him like I know exactly how he wants me to say that because I remember this from "Empire Strikes Back". You know what I mean and like you just get the vibe of who you're kind of summoning as you're sort of figuring out who this Jedi is.

Cause he's [Kanan] not the normal Jedi. He's not together. He doesn't have it all figured out. He has maybe 3 answers. Forget all the answers and then two of them, he's guessing. You'll literally see him sort of BS Ezra on some of these horse things that something like Master Yoda would be like, there is no try, there's only do. Kanan will be like give me your best shot. You're not supposed to do that. He makes mistakes because he was young and he didn't get to complete his training in the way that an Anakin or the way that Luke could.

He's not the Master that Ezra, that a kid sees. Growing up without a Father like Ezra, you put certain men in your life on a pedestal. And they become something to you. They become something special and spiritual and powerful. And it's not fair to do to them by the way because they're just men, right? They're gonna have mistakes, they're gonna get sick, they're gonna cheat on their wives, they're gonna do whatever it is they do that's gonna destroy that image you have and make you angry at them, even though you projected that on them. You can see Kanan kind of resist, and you can see him get sucked in because the way Taylor plays Ezra is, he may be a Smart Alec but he knows how to show you vulnerability and that's what kind of gets me.

We read together like we're in the room at the same time. It's a very collaborative process. It's very Breakfast Clubby.

Q: How did you get this role?

FP: It's weird. I've taken a step back from acting when we had kids and I didn't want to leave Los Angeles anymore. I wanted to be present. Since they [don't] shoot anything in Los Angeles that was sort of that. So it became very easy to not work and I was starting to get kind of creatively antsy and I did a couple of voices on video games which these days are way more drawn out than Mario Bros. You do a voice for Mario and it's like 'Hey look at me.' Then you work on a video game today and it's 6 months’ worth of work. And I really started getting hungry and those acting juices started flowing again. And when this script came around, you have to remember, I didn't know that it was "Star Wars."

So I wasn't that excited. I was like these guys are ripping this off. This isn't even, you know what I mean, like it's not that good. A Sun Sword? That's not cool. So you're not hyped up. I know I did a good job. And so you know, you kind of dissociate cause you don't want to be like yes. So you know, you wait, you wait, and then I heard that I got it. And it's just this very surreal moment.

And I'm sure it was different for Vanessa, for Steve, certainly for Taylor. We're generationally so far apart. For me, I slipped down the slide when I was 4 years old with a broken Flagpole cause I was Luke and my Cousin was Darth Vader. I have to be specific, there are so many Darths now. The pole hit the ground first and it stuck in my chin and my mom ran out and my chin blew out. And you know, she flipped and threw me in the car and took me to the hospital and they stitched this little scar I have back here. I had 16 and it looked like I had a little goatee and I was only 4. All those images start racing back through your head and you're reading dialogue, you know, telling a kid, come with me. Come learn the ways of the Force, you know what I mean? [LAUGHTER] From 4 years old to 38 years old, I mean, come on, it's easy to know that I really care about this.

What a great interview!! Thank you Dave Filoni and Freddie Prinze, Jr. for speaking with us!

Join the Rebellion TONIGHT and catch the movie on the Disney Channel. New episode premieres on 10/13 on Disney XD!!


  1. Interesting interview. Quite an honor for you to be present. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I enjoyed this interview. I will have to start watching this.