Born in Mt. Lebanon (a suburb of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, his first animation job was as a character layout artist on King of the Hill, and later as an episode director for Avatar: The Last Airbender. He then joined the Star Wars franchise as the supervising director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and later co-created and executive produced Star Wars Rebels.
On September 2016, he was promoted to oversee all Star Wars animation projects, including Star Wars Resistance. In October 2018, he was announced as an executive producer and episode director on Jon Favreau's live-action show, The Mandalorian, in which he also has cameos.
In mid-2020 Filoni was promoted to executive producer and executive creative director for Lucasfilm, although it was not publicly announced until May 2021.
On November 22. 2023, Filoni was promoted to Chief Creative Officer at Lucasfilm.
- King of the Hill (1997 — 1999) as character layout artist
- Mission Hill (1999 — 2002) as storyboard artist
- Kim Possible (2003) as storyboard artist
- Fillmore! (2003) as storyboard artist
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003 — 2004) as storyboard artist
- American Dragon: Jake Long (2005) as storyboard artist
- Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005) as episode director
- Star Wars as overseer of Lucasfilm Animation
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 — 2020) as supervising director, writer, and the voice of Embo, Cheep, and others
- Star Wars Rebels (2014 — 2018) as creator, executive producer, writer, and the voice of Chopper
- Star Wars Resistance (2018 — 2020) as creator, writer, and the voice of Bo Keevil
- The Mandalorian (2019 —) as executive producer, episode director, writer, and actor (Trapper Wolf)
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021 —) as executive producer and writer
- The Book of Boba Fett (2021 —) as executive producer, episode director, and writer
- Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (2022 —) as creator and writer
- Ahsoka (2023) as writer and episode director
Filoni's works provides examples of:
- Armed with Canon: As long as he has permission from the Lucasfilm Story Group to do so (and discussing it with Lucas back in The Clone Wars), he and the other writers can put whatever they want in the Star Wars animated shows. Not only can they create original work, but they can recanonize/decanonize and adjust ideas from Legends, especially now that as of 2014, the New Expanded Universe has plenty of blanks to refill.
- Author Appeal:
- He likes Plo Koon and wolves, hence why Plo Koon's clone battalion in The Clone Wars is called the Wolfpack and is led by Commander Wolffe. He's even apparently cosplayed as Plo at least once according to the first season box-set for The Clone Wars.
- Ahsoka's design was partly based off of San from Princess Mononoke. Further amplified when he revealed his personal headcanon of Ahsoka escaping Order 66 with the help of giant wolves whose legs seemed to be like trees, and a picture he drew of Ahsoka and Rex riding giant wolves in the aftermath of Order 66, though neither are canon. However, Filoni got around to making canon images for the Topps trading cards showing what happened to Ahsoka after the end of her major role in Rebels — she walks through a mysterious door with wolf designs on it, which ties into...
- Lothwolves, giant wolves native to Lothal, serve as a Chekhov's Gunman in Rebels, where they're mentioned in a nursery rhyme joke early on and are hinted at in ancient art on Lothal. A pack of them appear in the flesh in Season 4 to help the heroes.
- He likes Godzilla, hence the Zillo Beast arc and the unreleased sequel arc to it in The Clone Wars. Commander Jun Sato from Rebels is named after two staff members in the Godzilla franchise, and Hondo Ohnaka is named after Godzilla co-creator Ishiro Honda, and Son of Godzilla actor Seiji Onaka. Justin Ridge says that he even made a Mechagodzilla suit and wore it to a Godzilla premiere in Hollywood.
- In fact, it seems likely that he just loves Japanese film in general. He's made pastiches of Akira Kurosawa's work in a number of instances:
- He's also a cat person, too, which is why there's emphasis on lothcats in Rebels. The tooka species is named after his late cat, Tuuk. Likewise, Mar Tuuk from The Clone Wars was also named after Tuuk.
- Author Usurpation: The success of The Clone Wars has overshadowed all of Dave Filoni's prior work, as well as his other Star Wars works (except maybe The Mandalorian), and it's the first thing people think of when discussing Dave's works. The Clone Wars is also associated with him more than anyone else, even George Lucas.
- Creator's Favorite:
- Descended Creator: He is the voice of Embo the bounty hunter in The Clone Wars, though it can be hard to tell due to sound editing. As a bonus, the character also sports a nice hat, just like his voice actor! He also voices the occasional incidental character, more often in Rebels, and it's revealed in the credits of the final episode of the latter that he was the one that voiced Chopper throughout the entire series.
- Master-Apprentice Chain: Invoked. Lucas and Filoni have both commented multiple times that they're like a Jedi master and his Padawan.
- Promoted Fanboy: Most definitely.
- He went from merely being a Star Wars fan to working on two animated shows (and now future ones included, now that he's pretty much supervising all of them since September 2016) and a live-action series, all set within the universe.
- After developing an interest in Kim's Convenience, he and fellow Mandalorian director Deborah Chow successfully convinced Sang-il Kim's actor, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, to play Captain Carson Teva in the Star Wars TV shows. For Captain Teva's first appearance, Filoni reprised the role of Trapper Wolf, to essentially act as his right-hand man.
- Rail Enthusiast: Dave is a big fan of GO Transit and has a model train collection focused on GO Transit. The behind the scenes footage in Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian shows him wearing his GO Transit t-shirts to the Mandalorian set as well. The character RG-G1 in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is based on the Pennsylvania Railroad's GG-1 locomotive class.
- Signature Style: Alien critters being subject to or causing shenanigans. To name a few, we have Sy Snootles making out with Ziro the Hutt, lothcats being cute one moment and being killer kittens in the next, nunas being treated as space chickens down to being depicted as prepared meals, gorgs being piranha-frogs that are eaten alive by other aliens, and Kowakian monkey-lizards getting skewered over a firepit as street food.