Just three years ago, Filoni dressed up as Plo Koon to see an opening night showing of "Revenge of the Sith," so it's not surprising that the 34-year-old fan is still pinching himself that he has this job. "It's a very creative atmosphere," he says of Big Rock Ranch, where the lakeside setting is "meant to inspire us artistically and definitely does. A lot of the people I work with grew up with 'Star Wars,' so we have a great time. It's hard, intense work, but George is very engaged in what we're doing. What more could you ask for? I have the guy who created the 'Star Wars' universe excited and interested in what we're doing. We couldn't be happier about that."
Asked why he thinks "Star Wars" remains a fan favorite today, three decades later, Lucas says diversification is the key. "We were always able to deal with different aspects of the story in various forms and I think that keeps it alive. It is a lot of fun and it's a universe that has been created to inspire young people to exercise their imagination and inspire them to be creative, and I think that always works."
"The original 'Star Wars' had broad appeal to everybody, and it holds up so well," adds Filoni. "I think there's a timelessness to it, even though Luke looks like a kid from the '70s with that haircut. Luke is a farmer boy and Han is a cowboy. Jedi Knights are like the samurai of Japan or the knights of Europe. Those archetypes work the globe over. It's a world phenomenon that speaks to everyone. There will always be a character you can relate to."
Lucas is dreaming up more of them all the time. In addition to producing a World War II action flick about African-American fighter pilots called "Red Tails," he's developing a live action "Star Wars" TV series "that has nothing to do with the Skywalkers, but does take place in that universe." Right now it's in the early stages of pre-production. Stay tuned.