Lucasfilm has unveiled the first details about the upcoming series of Star Wars anime shorts. Dubbed Star Wars: Visions, the set of nine stories was introduced at Anime Expo Lite stream on 3rd July.
All Sorts Of Genres
So what are we looking forward to? The makers were given pretty much free rein with the plots of their stories. That means the stories are not going to be “canon”, which allows for much more liberty from the creators. They can concentrate on preserving the atmosphere and themes while not having to zigzag through the minefield of existing canon. They also don’t need to fear going over the top with their ideas. This is the space for being experimental.
Different creators and studios are making individual stories. This allows for variety in style and atmosphere. There will be more traditional narratives like a Master-apprentice story or a tale about Force-sensitive twins, but also a “Star Wars rock opera”.
The Traditional Themes
Star Wars Visions will premiere on Disney+ channel on 22nd September 2021 with the story dubbed “The Duel”. Here is a complete list of episodes and their makers. Based on what we have learned at the expo, here are also brief descriptions of each of the stories:
1. The Duel (by Kamikaze Douga): A traditional story playing on the Jedi-Samurai parallels. It will be told in black-and-white with occasional streak of colour (especially lightsabers) for effect. The iconography will reflect traditional Japanese culture, including a droid with a straw hat.
2. Lop and Ochō (by Geno Studio): A story including the conflict of ruthless technology (represented by the Empire) versus nature. As a homage to Star Wars’s many alien characters, the authors created a unique design for one of the main characters: a “space bunny”.
3. Tatooine Rhapsody (by Studio Colorido): A more lighthearted story dubbed as “a rock opera”, with the cameo of Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett.
4. The Twins (by Studio Trigger): Inspired by the story of Luke and Leia but turned on its head. This is a tale of Dark Side twins, exploring how far the brother will go to save his sister.
5. The Elder (by Studio Trigger): Another story based on traditional SW themes focusses on a Master-Padawan relationship. The authors have teased that “you’ll also find the dual meaning of the title after you watch the short”.
6. The Village Bride (by Kinema Citrus): This is supposed to be a poetic and meditative story with some elements of traditional Japanese culture. It has a Jedi observing a wedding in a far-away village through the eyes of a bride. The author mentions showing a unique angle on the Force.
7. Akakiri (by Science Saru): A traditional “princess story”. It marks the coming full circle from George Lucas’s initial inspiration by Akira Kurosawa for his script of A New Hope.
8. TO-B1 (by Science Saru): The story of a droid who dreams of becoming a Jedi.
9. The Ninth Jedi (by Production IG): Combining originally two stories about a lightsabersmith’s daughter and about eight warriors discovering their Force-sensitivity and learning to trust each other.
“Love Letter To Star Wars”
One must say that some of the ideas sound just fabulous. Whether one is a hardcore anime fan or not, I am certain that majority of the audience will be able to find at least one story among the many that will speak to them. And I will be surprised if at least one of the stories won’t shine and become famous even in more mainstream circles.
I would be optimistic about Star Wars Visions for one more reason. Some of the authors have described their contributions as “love letter to Star Wars”. This kind of attitude is what I believe to be the litmus paper of a good creative direction. They are not doing it for the money, they are doing it out of their love for Star Wars. And they have all the artistic freedom to do it on their own terms, using the tools and the genre they are familiar with.
If you became enthusiastic and wish to hear more details yourselves, the Star Wars Visions panel is available at the Anime Expo Lite website. You have to pay the registration fee for the event and the video is available between 5th and 16th July. Or you can just wait until autumn and be surprised.