Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series, where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores what’s on tap for Star Wars: Visions volume two.
Those seeking something a little different in their Star Wars entertainment received a magnificent gift with Star Wars: Visions volume one. The animated anthology series invited numerous anime production houses to craft nine unique shorts. The stories ranged from the whimsical to the comical to the supremely badass. We even named Takanobu Mizuno’s “The Duel” one of the best-animated films of 2021, a decision not made lightly in an era where so many fabulous animated efforts are offered.
When Star Wars: Visions volume one concluded, we eagerly awaited a second season. “The Duel” received two pseudo-sequels in a Marvel comic and a novel expansion. Clearly, we were not alone in our enthusiasm for these What If…? style forrays, and many more anime production houses could be tapped into telling new stories. Couldn’t Studio Ghibli expand on their Grogu with the Dust Bunnies short?
This week, we learned Star Wars: Visions will have a sequel series, but Lucasfilm is going in a different direction with its collaborators. Volume two will still feature nine original shorts from nine different animation studios. However, the production is expanding beyond the style and tones it delivered two years ago. Instead, Star Wars: Visions volume two will contain stories with stylistic roots in Spain (El Guiri), Ireland (Cartoon Saloon), Chile (Punkrobot), South Korea (Studio Mir), France (Studio La Cachette), India (88 Pictures), South Africa (Triggerfish), Japan (D’art Shtajio), and the United Kingdom (Aardman).
You’ll inevitably recognize several production houses, but a few others may be new to you. Whatever the case, you should be incredibly excited by the possibilities. Aardman are the stop-motion weirdos who birthed Wallace and Gromit. Cartoon Saloon has recently slayed with such cinematic works as My Father‘s Dragon and Wolfwalkers. El Guiri’s head creative is Rodrigo Blaas, who partnered with Guillermo del Toro on Trollhunters.
Star Wars: Andor and Star Wars: Visions are currently leading the charge in showcasing the variety of stories George Lucas’ far away galaxy can platform. The more distance we make between us and the Skywalker saga, the more complicated and inviting the franchise will become. Star Wars can be so much more than chosen one stories or quest narratives. Like the Western, filmmakers can layer any emotion they’re currently obsessing over a Star Wars frame. Let’s get creative; let’s get nuts.
Helping the experimentation is Disney+. Say what you will about the state of the streaming industry, but the Mouse House’s service freely balks at convention. The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch, and Tales of the Jedi deliver runtimes that only serve their ideas. Tiny little tales that barely crack ten minutes now rank as some of the best the franchise has provided. The freedom allows both viewers and creators to reimagine what is and is not a Star Wars story.
In addition to the studios involved, Lucasfilm also announced the nine titles paired with the nine studios. They are “Sith” (El Guiri), “Screacher’s Reach” (Cartoon Saloon), “In the Stars” (Punkrobot), “Journey to the Dark Head” (Studio Mir), “The Spy Dancer” (Studio La Cachette), “The Bandits of Golak” (88 Pictures), “Aau’s Song” (Triggerfish), “The Pit” (D’art Shtajio and Lucasfilm Ltd), and “I Am Your Mother” (Aardman).
Not a lot to glom onto there, but that doesn’t mean we cannot try. “Sith” suggests a Dark Side focus. We got a few of those in the first Star Wars: Visions volume and they were devilishly enticing. Never heard of “Screacher’s Reach,” but the Gordian Reach was referenced in Star Wars: Rogue One, Star Wars: Rebels, and a few other places. The Outer Rim sector contained the Yavin system, where Luke Skywalker and company struck their first bow against the Empire.
“The Pit” sounds as generic as several of these other titles, but whenever I hear “pit” in a Star Wars context, I think about the Rancor’s pit in Jabba’s palace. The Book of Boba Fett reveled in Rancor nostalgia, giving us plenty to salivate over. However, when it comes to Gamorrean-gnashing beasts, there can never be enough.
Given what we already know about Aardman and the types of stories they usually supply, “I Am Your Mother” might intrigue me the most. I would love to see their whimsy injected into Star Wars, circling a familial story with a few abnormal creatures. Imagine a Porg with Feathers McGraw’s personality, a mischievous little critter searching for a long-lost mother but causing terrible terror in the process. Into it.
The 2023 Star Wars slate has already kicked off with The Bad Batch‘s second season. The Mandalorian‘s third season arrives in early March. Star Wars Celebration hits on April 7th, with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor closing out the rainy month on April 28th. Star Wars: Visions volume two lands on Disney+ on May the Fourth.
Looking at that entertainment chunk, I feel pretty good about the future of Star Wars. The franchise is obviously healthy, but more importantly, it’s slipping into some oddball avenues. Even better, it’s enrolling global voices, which inherently widens the storytelling perspective. We love to champion the singular voice, but if you want a universe to last beyond a few generations and shed a stale state, you gotta send out the party invitations.
Star Wars: Visions is currently streaming on Disney+.
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