The Clone Wars have one more battle to fight.
The beloved Star Wars animated series is returning to finish a run that was cut short by the sale of Lucasfilm in 2012. Now, the Disney+ streaming service is going to allow those stories to be realized.
At Star Wars Celebration on Sunday, executive producer Dave Filoni revealed the trailer for the now-complete season 7, featuring a lightsaber throwdown between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul.
Filoni has already told some stories from later in Ahsoka’s life through the series Rebels, which is set right before the events of 1977’s original Star Wars.
Now we’re rewinding the chronology to see what became of her right before her mentor Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith. At this point, she has had a split with the Jedi Order and is on her own — not a full-fledged Jedi, but powerful with the Force nonetheless.
“Ahsoka, we see her in Rebels and she has come so far,” said Ashley Eckstein, who voices the character. “We had to go back to that place where she still had so much to learn. She’s a bit lost. She just walked away from the Jedi Order, and she’s just going wherever the wind takes her.”
The wind takes her … down. She finds herself residing on Level 1313 on the metropolis world of Coruscant — a bad neighborhood plagued by crime and wrongdoing, where she befriends two sisters who are also trying to survive.
When she tells them she used to live on the surface, one of them reassures her she’s better off down below, what “with the Jedi running around, starting wars.”
It’s a sign the knights of the “Light Side” have lost the confidence of everyday people.
Filoni said Ahsoka comes to realize that those with a connection to the Force have a duty not to isolate themselves, or forget who they are serving. “What does this person do who is raised in this temple with this ordered life. How does she react to everyday life?” he asked at the panel.
Earlier in the day, Filoni joined with executive producer Jon Favreau to showcase the new live-action Disney+ series The Mandalorian, and the home of that warrior tribe factors into the resurrection of The Clone Wars, too.
While The Mandalorian is set five years after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, The Clone Wars will explore a storyline called “The Siege of Mandalore,” in which Darth Maul’s crime syndicate causes havoc in their world.
All of this also threads back, eventually, to Solo: A Star Wars Story, which concluded with the revelation that Maul was leading a massive underground criminal network.
What we learn in season 7 of The Clone Wars will have ripples throughout Star Wars storytelling.
Sam Witwer, who voices Maul in Solo and in the animated show, is returning — but so is Ray Park, the martial arts expert who plays the physical role of Maul.
Filoni said he convinced Park to put on a motion-capture suit to help them create the epic battle between him and Ahsoka. “When you see Maul fighting, it’s gonna be really Maul fighting,” Filoni said. “There’s just something unique about the way Ray moves.”
Meanwhile, Dee Bradley Baker, who voices the clone troopers, will be bringing to life a group of brawlers known as The Bad Batch.
“They’re a group of clones that are genetically engineered specialists,” Filoni said.
It’s an idea that Star Wars creator George Lucas came up with when they were working on the show long ago: “What if there was a group of clones that had bizarre traits, and instead of getting rid of them, the Kaminoans [the aliens who created the clone army] enhanced those traits, based on something Commander Cody wanted them to do to experiment with making super soldiers,” Filoni said.
He said newcomers to the show were surprised to learn Baker plays … all of them. “It’s the same guy,” Filoni said. “And the bad guy, that’s him too. There are some scenes in this where it’s just Dee talking to Dee, Dee shooting at Dee, killing Dee, and getting back up with Dee.”
Filoni said The Clone Wars is a testament to masters and apprentices, both inside and out.
“The reason why it works is because I was taught by the master. I was taught by George,” he said. “I had to sit with him on a regular basis, and he explained these stories to me. And I listened. For any young person who wants to be in film, or any walk of life, when you meet somebody who is more experienced or a mentor, you should listen.”