Header Ads

'Star Wars Visions' Preview Reveals Contributing Studios, September Release Date


Star Wars and animation go way back. The animated segment is the only part of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special that LucasFilm is still willing to acknowledge (and is available via Disney Plus). The franchise has subsequently spawned multiple animated series (and an animated movie), the most recent of which is currently running Clone Wars spin-off, The Bad Batch. With LucasFilm's creative chief now Dave Filoni- who got his start in animation- this fruitful relationship is only going to grow.

Of the animated Star Wars projects announced for Disney Plus, arguably the most exciting prospect is Star Wars Visions. Visions is a collaboration between LucasFilm and some of Japan's top animation studios, with each studio creating a short for the anthology. Much as with The Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight, the Japanese creatives have been given considerable freedom to create an original work in the Star Wars Universe.  LucasFilm has given some of anime's top talent quite the sandbox to play in. Creators did not have to fit into the time line or cannon, and were allowed to feature existing or new characters.

The influence of Japanese cinema and culture on Star Wars is well documented. George Lucas was particularly influenced by the classic Japanese film The Hidden Fortress (as well as other samurai films ) when making A New Hope. The Jedi are also partially modelled on samurai, with light sabers based on katana and their monk-like existence imitating the code of Bushido. It's no wonder the films connected so well with Japanese audiences. The coming together of anime and Star Wars therefore feels like a natural progression.

As part of the Anime Expo Lite virtual event over the Holiday weekend, LucasFilm offered a closer look at the series, announced the studios and filmmakers involved, and revealed a September release date.

The studios selected are a mix of some of the most iconic in anime and some up-and-coming producers. The video also shows that there will be quite a mix of styles between the shorts too.

Production IG (Ghost In The Shell) contribute The Ninth Jedi directed by GITS Stand Alone Complex's Kenji Kamiyama.  LucasFilm were reportedly particularly excited to work with IG, and have described their story- featuring a lightsabersmith and Jedi reuniting- as 'epic'. Fan-favouite studio Trigger (Promare, Kill La Kill) contribute two shorts- The Twins, directed by Promare and FLCL's Hiroyuki Imaishi, and The Elder directed by Masahiko Otsuka (veteran of Evangelion, Kill La Kill and assistant director on Whisper Of The Heart).  Science Saru (the studio co-founded by Masaaki Yuasa) will also contribute two shorts: Akakiri, directed by Science Saru co-founder and CEO Eunyoung Choi) and T0-B1, a short inspired by Osamu Tezuka and Astro Boy, directed by Abel Gongora. Studio Colorido (A Whisker Away, Penguin Highway) contribute Tatooine Rhapsody from director Taku Kimura. 

Kinema Citrus is a studio founded in 2008 that has worked primarily in secondary roles such as In-Between animation, finishing and digital paint. Their short The Village Bride is directed by Hitoshi Haga.

The remaining two shorts are produced by newer studios who are less likely to be on many fans' radars.  Kamikaze Douga's biggest credits so far include Pop Team Epic, Gal and Dino and Batman Ninja, and they will present a short named The Duel from director Takanobu Mizuno.  Geno Studio have an even shorter filmography with their most notable credit to date being all three seasons of Golden Kamuy.  Their short Lop and Ocho is helmed by first time director Yuuki Igarashi.

Star Wars Visions will arrive on September 22 on Disney Plus. It seems they'll be releasing all 10 episodes at once, rather than following the weekly episode roll-out of most Disney Plus Originals. You can see the preview video for yourself, below! The full panel will be available to watch on the Anime Expo site until July 16 (registration fee required).