“StarWars.com: This season also offered you a chance to tie up some loose ends from The Clone Wars, and one was “The Last Battle.” Where did the idea come from that you were going to take an opportunity to give some closure to characters who went through the Clone Wars?
[Rebels executive producer] Dave Filoni: We had toyed with this old battle droid story many times and we never found a good place for it. With Rex back, it seemed like there was an opportunity. Plus, Ezra didn’t have any perspective on the Clone War. He didn’t grow up in it, so there was the opportunity to have him ask, like he did when he first met Rex, “What is this all about?” Ezra sees it from a point of view that helps both Kanan and Rex understand what they went through. Even they didn’t fully understand it.
It’s a great thing to produce because you make battle droids, and when you make one, you get a whole bunch of them, so it works from a production level. The thought of battle droids confronting stormtroopers was really appealing. I like anything that really brings the prequel and the original trilogy periods together. I think it’s important to do so people understand these stories all work together as one piece. It’s not like the prequels end and everything in them just disappears.
Having worked in the prequel era for a long time, I know it really well. It was really interesting to see Kanan, Ezra, and Zeb dealing with it and, frankly, how dangerous some of it was. While the droids weren’t much of a match for Anakin Skywalker, they’re more than a match for someone like Ezra who’s not as well-trained. So, it gave a great perspective into what they’re capable of, too. […]
StarWars.com: There’s something about seeing original and prequel trilogy elements come together that’s so surprising.
Dave Filoni: Right? It shouldn’t be, but it is.
We do have this strange thing where I was able to finish a lot of storylines from Clone Wars, things that never really got dealt with in the past. That felt good, and I felt like that followed through for a lot of people who wanted to know more about Ahsoka and wanted to know more about Rex, and so here’s how they got it.
StarWars.com: Is it important to you to tell those stories on a personal level, like it’s unfinished business? Is it for George Lucas, is it because you think it makes the story better? Or is it a little bit of everything?
Dave Filoni: I think it’s a little bit of everything. It feels right for Rebels characters to be involved with other characters. Plus, in a lot of ways, creatively, I’ve been the guardian of those characters. I think the audience feels it’s authentic if I’m the one behind telling their story. They have invested in these characters, and want to see that I’m still invested in them, as well. When I go back to telling more of their story, it validates everyone’s investment in them. Many people felt cheated that they didn’t get an ending to Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Now when you look at it, and it wasn’t really intended, you can say you need to watch Clone Wars and then go into Rebels, and then you get the whole story. Which is kind of unique. We’ve been pretty lucky with what we’ve been able to do — telling these stories and finishing stories that would’ve otherwise had no way to end.”