Star Wars Visions Deep Dive
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
It's Fun for Long-Time Fans and Noobs
Star Wars: Visions has finally dropped on Disney +, and most fans agree - it's worth including in that 'galaxy far, far away.'
Star Wars: Visions is a collection of 9 shorts, all produced in anime style. The stories are all independent of each other and fit into the different places in the already-established Star Wars storyline. Some of the shorts don't have a designated "time period" as to where they belong in the overall Star Wars universe.
I'll admit it - I'm not the sort of person who has every Star Wars detail memorized. Watching the show, there were definitely times when I thought, "This is supposed to be significant and I'm not enough of a fan to get it." There's plenty in there for the die-hards to watch and re-watch, looking at every detail.
But even if you're like me, and don't know/remember the entire canon of the Star Wars universe, it's still a really enjoyable show. The animation was really clean, and I was surprised by the authenticity it had. It didn't feel like a western show in an anime style - it was just anime.
The decision to add this anime series wasn't random. The people who developed the series said that it was a purposeful choice, as George Lucas (Star Wars creator, obvs) was inspired by Japanese mythology and the films of Akira Kurosawa, a Japanese filmmaker.
Executive Producer James Waugh enlisted 7 anime studios to put the episodes together. He tells the Hollywood Reporter that the goal was an "authentic Japanese anime" and this was only possible by giving up control and letting the studios create "stories and concepts that could only come from their unique cultural perspective."
Probably the biggest disappointment for me was the music for some of the shorts. The soundtrack in the early movies was such a big part of setting up what was happening and really carried a lot of weight in the scenes. Some of the episodes really could have utilized that a bit more.
But the color and art were gorgeous, and in all fairness, it might have been deliberate. It would stand to reason if they toned down the songs so that you didn't get distracted from the visuals. I just felt there were scenes where I expected the orchestra to swell up and was very aware when it wasn't there. (It wasn't every episode, just some.)
The 9 Shorts In Star Wars: Visions
Each of the 9 episodes works separately from each other, some with a clear place in the timeline. Others are a bit vaguer, and it's unclear when the events are happening in the grand scheme of Star Wars.
But there are some really big names in the cast, and I found myself often stopping to think, 'That can't be - yeah, yeah, that's Doogie Howser.'
The first episode, which caught my eye for the simple black and white art, is titled 'Duel.' It's heavily influenced by Akira Kurosawa, with the main character Ronin based on Kurosawa's leading man Toshiro Mifune. Kurosawa, if you've forgotten, was an inspiration to Lucas when making the original films.
According to the makers, this one would fit in sometime after the Sith Rebellion. Den of Geek supposes it could be occurring during the Hundred Year Darkness that occurs thousands of years before The Phantom Menace.
Surprising celebrity here? Lucy Liu is the bandit leader. And if you really like this story, you won't have to wait long for more. It continues in a spin-off novel scheduled to come out on October 12. The book is called Star Wars: Ronin: A Visions Novel by Emma Mieko Candon.
'Tattoine Rhapsody' has the familiar Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt. Voices include Marc Thompson (of Daria) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This one's a bit more light than the previous one, centered around a rock band in trouble.
Based on the context given, this is probably occurring after Revenge of the Sith when Jabba was still in power.
Neil Patrick Harris and Allison Brie lend their voices to a set of twins, raised on the Dark Side. The studio confirms that this one occurs after Episode IX.
I enjoyed the drama of this one, and the colors used to illustrate it was very eye-catching.
The Village Bride
'The Village Bride' is probably during the Clone Wars. It focuses on a young Jedi who must decide whether to reveal her identity, which has been hidden for years, to save others. The most recognizable voice actress is Nichole Sakura from Superstore.
The Ninth Jedi
Like 'The Twins,' this one is set sometime after Episode IX. Simu Liu, from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, plays the saber smith in this short.
A little droid must learn the ways of the Jedi while scouring his planet for a kyber crystal. This comes sometime between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope.
Set sometime before The Phantom Menace, this one requires no knowledge of the already-established galaxy.
Lop and Ocho
This one revolves around an unconventional family, torn in two different directions by the Empire. It occurs between Episode III and Episode IV.
Last in the series is 'Akakiri,' about a Jedi who will do anything to protect the princess he loves from a Sith warlord. And yes, that's George Takei as the voice of Shenshuu.
This one is harder to place in a timeline - while it doesn't contradict any canon, there's very little to suggest where it belongs. Den of Geeks concludes that it's likely happening after The Rise Of Skywalker.
Overall, I really appreciated that this left a lot for fans to enjoy without making me feel like I had to keep looking everything up online all the time to remember/understand what was happening. By not really sticking too strictly to 'canon,' it doesn't really matter how much you know about the previous storylines. But at the same time, nothing here contradicts canon, so the die-hards won't have to feel cheated, either.
As for me, I just enjoyed the more culturally authentic feel of the shorts. You could tell the storylines weren't really being told by Western storytellers, and the art was really very impressive. Since each episode is fairly short, even kids can follow along and enjoy.
For more in entertainment:
Escape For Alcatraz And The Test Of Time: Comparing Two Classic Prison Films.
Jamie Dixon is a contributing writer here at The Pyrrhic. She's a content writer by profession, but this is more fun. She's also working on her first novel in her spare time.