Is Forces of Destiny The Way To Tackle Star Wars?

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This is a look back at season 2 of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. This animated, “children’s” web mini-series of mini-clips has premiered a year ago on Disney’s youtube channel, and last month, it has received its second season. There have been a few notable changes since the last time.

The first season primarily focused on female characters. This time, the protagonists of the first season all make a comeback (Rey, Jyn, Leia, Padmé, Ahsoka, Hera, Sabine…), and we get some new faces (Rose from The Last Jedi). However, their male counterparts get a lot more space this time – be it Anakin, Finn (and BB-8 and Chopper), or Luke. S2E7 was the single episode not to feature a female character (the setting was Luke and Yoda’s training in the swamp). The protagonists are still voiced by the same (mostly original movie) actors, except Jyn Erso who in S2 is voiced by Helen Sadler (she voiced Jyn also in SW: Battlefront).

First season’s episodes usually had a strong point along the lines of “believe in yourself”, but especially “be kind”, “be empathetic”, “be understanding”, “be forgiving”. Even though this is also true of the second season, some of the stories get a lot more generic, adventuring plots (such as S2E3 featuring Rose and Finn running away from space jellyfish, or S2E1 with Chopper saving Hera and Sabine after they mess up a mission). To be honest, I was a little disappointed by these – I got used to Forces of Destiny’s style, and I felt like these particular episodes lost that spirit.

More Than Novels, More Than Encyclopedias

Forces of Destiny has one unexpected quality. It may be perhaps the best material for expanding one’s knowledge about the Star Wars universe and its characters besides the films. Seriously, if your favourite character is among the protagonists, you may want to watch FOD just to see them in a different situation. By introducing “scenes between scenes” (that take place before, after, or during the films), it helps expanding the characters’ personalities and lets us understand their way of thinking better.

The miniseries also creates a unique bridge between the films and the extra material. So we have Jyn Erso meeting Sabine Wren from SW Rebels, or Han Solo meeting Hera Syndulla, but also in S2E6, Leia meeting Maz Kanata.

It is quite strange that a web miniseries of children’s cartoons may be the best source that fills the gaps and binds the Galaxy together. It does things the hundreds of pages of novels and encyclopedias failed to do since 2014 under the new canon. I guess it has to do with the unique type of audiovisual media that allows putting side-by-side characters who could never appear side-by-side in the films. Maybe it would have been worth the effort to expand this project into something bigger. For now, Forces of Destiny still remains one of the best ways for parents to introduce their children to the Star Wars universe.