'Star Wars: Visions' Special Look: A Long Time Ago, in an Anime Galaxy on Disney+
While Disney is full-steam ahead on The Mandalorian, its assortment of spin-offs, and other live action projects for the streaming service, little has been known about the previously-announced Star Wars: Visions. Until now, that is. Described only as “an Original Series of animated short films, [celebrating] the Star Wars galaxy through the lens of the world’s best Japanese anime creators” and set for release sometime in 2021, we finally received our first real look at the mysterious series thanks to a “Special Look” released this past weekend in conjunction with the 2021 Anime Expo. Check out the Star Wars Visions Special Look for yourself below.
Star Wars Visions Special Look
In addition to conveying the tone and style of what to expect from this anthology series, there’s quite a few newsworthy tidbits stuffed inside this 3-minute clip as well. There are tons of new concept art and even some glimpses of actual footage, as well as an official premiere date: the series will drop on Disney+ on September 22.
Several anime studios will be tackling each short, using “their signature animation and storytelling styles to realize their own visions of the galaxy far, far away.” The list of studios and the title of their respective shorts are as follows:
- Kamikaze Douga: “The Duel”
- Geno Studio (Twin Engine): “Lop and Och?”
- Studio Colorido (Twin Engine): “Tatooine Rhapsody”
- Trigger: “The Twins”
- Trigger: “The Elder”
- Kinema Citrus: “The Village Bride”
- Science Saru: “Akakiri”
- Science Saru: “T0-B1”
- Production IG: “The Ninth Jedi”
A Breath of Fresh Air
If I’m being honest, this might be the most excited I’ve been for a new Star Wars project ever since that first trailer for Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. For one thing, it’s perfectly fitting that Star Wars dips its toes into anime waters when George Lucas himself has gone on record as being thoroughly influenced and inspired by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akiro Kurosawa. This reverential ancestry remained alive and well even through The Last Jedi, as the conflicting recollections of that night where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his nephew Ben Solo (Adam Driver) underwent their fateful falling-out certainly brings to mind Kurosawa’s masterful Rashomon. Japanese culture and Star Wars have always run parallel with each other, and this project finally makes it official.
On another note, Star Wars: Visions also helps acknowledge animation as an exceedingly worthy medium in its own right. Particularly when it comes to Star Wars, the universe is unimaginably big and such a blank canvass naturally lends itself to all manner of creative storytelling. While the movies may have become stuck in the past (and, most recently, even the live action shows), this anime anthology may point towards an exciting path forward. Previous Star Wars cartoons like Rebels and The Clone Wars have gone on to become fan-favorite additions to the universe, and it’s not hard to see something similar happening with this.
Once again, Star Wars: Visions will drop on Disney+ on September 22. As you might be able to tell, we can’t wait.
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