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Dave Filoni Defends Star Wars’ ‘Flexible’ Tone Amid Criticism

Dave Filoni Star Wars universe
By Savannah Sanders

Heading into Disney+ Day and the D23 Expo, anticipation is building for what may be revealed or announced by Disney's two biggest tentpole franchises: Marvel and Star Wars. Even though the MCU and that galaxy far, far away are considerably different from one another, it's difficult to avoid comparing the two given their cultural impact, passionate fan bases, Disney+ presence, and blockbuster appeal. 

In regard to the franchise's similarities and differences, Marvel Studios' Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo recently entered the fray and reignited a conversation concerning their differences in tone.

According to Ruffalo, the MCU's steady flow of content isn't a problem because Marvel Studios lets its talent “recreate each piece to their own style, their likeness.” On the other hand, Star Wars differs in that all of its projects have a similar tone, as "you're pretty much going to get the same version of Star Wars each time," a criticism that some fans have expressed in years past as Star Wars content continues to grow under the Disney umbrella.

In an interview earlier this Summer, Lucasfilm Executive and showrunner Dave Filoni shared his certain point of view on the constant evolution of Stars Wars' tone. 

Dave Filoni Addresses Star Wars Tone Criticism

Dave Filoni, Star Wars
Star Wars

In talking with Entertainment Weekly at Star Wars Celebration in May, Dave Filoni addressed potential concern about recent Star Wars projects being more of the same, saying, "you look at Obi-Wan, you look at Mando, you look at Boba. They all do have a different feeling, a different tone:"

“We love seeing the development of all these series and how from the new show we’re doing with Jon Watts, Skeleton Crew, and… but when you look at Andor and you look at Obi-Wan, you look at Mando, you look at Boba. They all do have a different feeling, a different tone, and I think that’s remarkable, and really speaks to the serialized nature of Star Wars, and how it can be a very flexible galaxy. I mean, it is a galaxy, so there's so many stories to tell that it’s exciting. But I don’t know yet. I’m waiting to see a little more as I put together what that tone becomes, because it’s evolving right now. It’s evolving.”

Star Wars is certainly evolving and expanding. In 2022 alone, Lucasfilm released the conclusion of The Book of Boba Fett, followed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and with Andor on the way.

Also, while Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have been the showrunners for both seasons of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi was headed by different creatives, such as Joby Harold and Deborah Chow, with Tony Gilroy at the reins for Andor

Still, Mark Ruffalo isn't the first from Marvel Studios to draw distinctions between George Lucas' vision and the MCU.

Thor: Love and Thunder's Taika Waititi, who's also set to helm his own Star Wars project at an unknown date, had previously noted that "Star Wars is very different to the Marvel style:"

“A little bit, but Star Wars is very different to the Marvel style. The tone of the first films really should be adhered to, it’s what the fans like. You can’t disrespect it. Definitely my tone is in there.”

Star Wars is a Galaxy; the MCU is a Universe

Even though comparisons aren't only natural but often unavoidable, they're also unfair because the fabric of Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are completely different. 

This is why both The Clone Wars and Ahsoka's Dave Filoni and She-Hulk's Mark Ruffalo are both correct. 

In regard to Filoni's case, it's true that Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn't have the same feel or tone or vibe as The Mandalorian; and from what audiences have seen of Andor thus far, it certainly seems darker and more anxiety-ridden than its Disney+ predecessors. 

But in Ruffalo's defense, Star Wars doesn't experiment with different genres and creative styles because, in a sense, Star Wars is a genre, as well as a history and a mythology.

While the MCU is no stranger to historical narratives and mythologies either, they're only part of the MCU; not what it is

So yes, Star Wars is and can be - as Filoni explained - a "flexible galaxy." But it's not a universe like the MCU. Instead, Star Wars faces a different set of rules and challenges, as new content needs to be fresh and different but must also feel true to its identity. 

Both Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau seemingly did just that with Season 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian. And, despite fan criticism for The Book of Boba Fett, the episodes which connected to past Star Wars stories are what fans loved the most. 

This is why Ruffalo is also right. With Star Wars, you're going to get more of the same; but being both flexible and creative in how you add to the galaxy's cohesive history is what makes new content different and exciting.