How Dark Can 'Star Wars Rebels' Get? Dave Filoni Responds

I'm not sure about you, but I've really been enjoying Star Wars Rebels. Between the Season 2 finale and the Season 3 premiere (which I saw early at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016), it seems like things are getting a lot more intense. Season 2's climactic finale "Twilight of the Apprentice" ended with Clone Wars favorite Ashoka Tano coming face to face with her former master Darth Vader and becoming trapped and possibly killed in the Sith Temple, while Ezra is left with a Sith Holocron and is feeling the pull to the dark side.

That's some pretty dark ground for a family television series. So when I talked to Star Wars Rebels creator/showrunner Dave Filoni at Celebration, I was curious just how dark Star Wars Rebels could get. Could Filoni kill off a beloved fan-favorite character like Ashoka? Could the main character of this kid's animated series actually be turned to the dark side? Find out what Filoni says, after the jump.


Can a kid's animated series really turn its main character to the dark side or kill off a beloved favorite like Ashoka? Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni is unflinching in his response:

You know I would say absolutely you can. You can kill off characters. You can turn them [to the dark side] if it serves the story. That's something George [Lucas] always warned me about. You know, if you do this, do it for a reason. A reason that kids will understand. But don't just do it to do it. Which is sometimes a hard thing not to do, to be tempted by. But, you know, we'll see. It's good to get you to the edge.

And Filoni doesn't mind someone calling Star Wars Rebels a "kids show" because "talking to George, he would always remind us that Star Wars is for kids."

I think that over the years as adults we've kind of taken something we grew up with as children and morphed it into something that's incredibly powerful to us and important to us. But when my parents loved, you know, they liked Star Wars. They say they loved it. They liked it because it was relevant to a lot of things they knew. And my father was big into opera and music and those things. And so he could relate to some themes and things in Star Wars. But there wasn't this big adult culture around me that was like certainly dressing up like Stormtroopers and fans. That has changed in the course of my life. Now whereas fans, we kind of hold onto these things so hard. At times I think we change them too much and darken them too much and we forget their initial purpose. Our fundamental responsibility at least for me as a storyteller needs to be captivate the imagination of kids. You know, because they're the ones that we need to give them the ability to 30 years later still love it like we do now. If we change it too much and make it too dark, then we kind of deny them that ability because they're too frightened by it.

I'm still not convinced that Ezra will turn to the dark side as it seems like it would be too much of a repeat of Anakin's prequel story arc. And I don't believe that Filoni has the guts to kill off his beloved Ashoka — besides, it seems like having her declare she is no longer a Jedi was to explain how she could exist in the original trilogy era of the Star Wars galaxy. But as Filoni warns, we'll see — we'll all have to wait to find out.

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 will premiere in fall 2016.