Every time Dave Filoni’s name appears on a story Star Wars fans enjoy, the same call to “make Filoni the president of Lucasfilm” emerges. What many fail to consider is that Kathleen Kennedy and Filoni play very different roles in a very large company. And each hold positions that suit their skill sets and strengths.
Officially, Flloni is an executive creative director and executive producer at Lucasfilm. This means that while he is involved in Star Wars production as a business at some level, he is more in charge of creative endeavors from a management standpoint. He likely brings together teams of creative people and makes sure projects start and end as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Often, this likely means much of Filoni’s day-to-day work involves overseeing teams of creatives that have more hands-on involvement in projects such as TV shows than he does. He may have control over who is on these teams and has a lot of say in the overall storylines each of these projects follows. But he isn’t always the one directing or even writing specific episodes of Star Wars TV. Filoni does occasionally write and direct, but that’s not his main job.
As an executive producer, it’s likely a similar situation to his creative direction. A producer oversees projects and the people responsible for making them, but doesn’t always have their hands in every detail of every production.
Does Filoni deserve a lot of praise for his work? Absolutely. But it’s physically impossible for one man to have individually crafted every “Filoni” project in existence, and thus unfair to give him all the credit when there are dozens of writers, directors, and other producers involved in the overall process of bringing these shows to life.
Thank him for all the work he’s done to expand Star Wars into mediums it didn’t have a major market in before (i.e., animation). But also thank those he has hired, trained, and taught to do the same even on a smaller scale. Dave Filoni is a major piece of the puzzle and deserves to serve in the positions he does. But he’s not the only piece responsible for making all of Star Wars as we know it run the way it does.
Give the man credit. But not all of it. As Filoni learned from George Lucas, he will likely pass on much of what he knows to those who will eventually take his place. Such is the way of creative leadership — most of the job is about teaching others to succeed in the same field in leading by example.
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