Dave Filoni Finds the Idea of an R-Rated ‘Star Wars’ to Be ‘Interesting’ — with Major Caveats

Dave Filoni gives the most thoughtful answers about “Star Wars” you can hear from anybody. Just check out his thoughts on the emotional subtext of the final lightsaber duel, featuring Darth Maul, in “The Phantom Menace”. That level of engagement with what “Star Wars” actually means goes a long to explaining why he was handpicked by George Lucas to run Lucasfilm’s animation division in 2005, oversee “The Clone Wars” series, and ultimately became the company’s Chief Creative Officer in the last year.

He’ll be the prime architect to shape what “Star Wars” may ultimately become in the years ahead. And one of the questions that some fans have had is if there could ever be a more adult-skewing version of the saga, one maybe even with gorier violence or sex that could push “Star Wars” into R-rated territory, perhaps tapping into the audience that ate up “Game of Thrones” and “House of the Dragon.”

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Asked that very question about the possibility of an R-rated “Star Wars” on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Filoni gave a lengthy answer. “Sure, I mean, I don’t know. It think it’s interesting,” Filoni said of the R-rated potential of the saga.

“The bottom line is whatever we do it has to be really well done. I think when you look at something that is taken as different like ‘Andor,’ it’s so well done, and Tony [Gilroy, the showrunner of ‘Andor’] and his team do such a phenomenal job, that I think that there’s an audience for that. I think also with that audience, I also though want to still be hitting the imagination of the kids out there, so that they can grow up and appreciate those things.”

“[Star Wars] encompasses all types of styles, and the creative of the particular story driving it is the most important thing, and they should do something that’s within their comfort zone. Otherwise, we’re to imagine that everyone’s going to come in and pretend they’re George Lucas. I’ve learned from George, but certainly I’m not the same as George when it comes to making movies. He’s a one of a kind generational talent. I like wolves and put them in my ‘Star Wars.’ We’re just different and that’s okay. But there are principles [that should run through all of ‘Star Wars’] about choices and being a good person and being more selfless and getting over your fears that are timeless no matter what style you’re talking about.”

Acknowledging that people’s tastes change as they grow older, Filoni said that he himself couldn’t see that Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress” is like “Star Wars” when he was 10, and then had a very different experience of watching the film later on.

It’s an interesting discussion about how far to push “Star Wars” in terms of content, because Filoni himself has run afoul of some pushback to his choices on “The Clone Wars” show. When it aired on Cartoon Network from 2008 to 2013, there were a number of moments the network cut out, such as a Season 3 moment when dark acolyte Asajj Ventress kisses a clone trooper while impaling him with her lightsaber. So good.

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