"A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one" accurately sums up my thoughts on the soon to be released Star Wars: Visions. Anime has never been a genre I've ever been drawn to, except for Pokemon and the original DragonBall Z. However, when I saw the trailer for Visions, I thought it looked amazing.
Like a lot of friends who share my love of Star Wars, I was beginning to feel the series needed a little bit of a shake up. The upcoming shows are going to be amazing, especially with revisiting some of our most beloved characters, but a part of me wanted to see something new. Something which would make me feel like people who saw A New Hope in the cinema for the first time. And I feel like Visions will do that.
From what we seen in the trailer, it's going to show us things we could never possibly dream of, as well as anime versions of some familiar characters. Designed as an anime anthology series, it will consist of episodes directed by some of the most prolific anime creators in the world. In preparation for the release on September 22 on Disney+, StarWars.com spoke with Executive Producer Josh Rimes and Producer Kanako Shirasaki regarding the new heroes we will meet. This is what they had to reveal about each character:
Kara, "The Ninth Jedi"
"The Ninth Jedi" is an episode very similar to the story of the original and sequel trilogies, made by Production I.G. It takes place in a world where the Jedi Order is nonexistent, all but a very mysterious Jedi named Juno seeking to bring back the glory days.
Kara is similar to Luke or Rey, whereby she has a connection to the Force, but she just needs training and guidance. Rimes tells StarWars.com,
"Kara's father is a legendary lightsaber-smith, which is totally unique to this tale. The lightsabers he makes are also different from anything we've seen before in Star Wars."
The thing Kara has which truly sets her part from most of Star Wars characters is a good relationship with her father. Kara respects his work and must continue his mission when trouble comes. Shirasaki states, "She's gifted with the use of a sword, but she's not aware of her hidden power." It's also confirmed that aspects of her design were taken from Princess Leia herself, particularly from the speeder chase scene in Return of the Jedi. Again, showing the team are still looking to the source material for reference.
In terms of the story for this episode, both Rimes and Shirasaki promise it will be an adventure long remembered.
Karre, "The Twins"
"The Twins" comes from Trigger and focuses on the characters Karre and Am, twins who are agents of the Dark Side of the Force. Again, drawing inspiration from the original trilogy, this episode takes the traditional story and flips it on its end, taking place in a world where powerful twins are evil instead of good.
Karre then decides he no longer wishes to serve the darkness, and so begins to rebel (See what I did there?) against the life designed by the people around him. His drive is his determination to save his sister, despite her fighting against it every step of the way. Rimes states, "Karre's drive to protect and hold onto those he loves can be traced back to Anakin with his love for his mother or for Padme, and Luke when it comes to his love for his friends and his ultimate forgiveness of his father."
This, again, shows inspiration is being taken from established characters and themes to give us an air of nostalgia. Perhaps the most striking detail from this episode, though, is the design of Karre. The character dons an outfit very similar to that of Vader's, complete with cape, chest box, and mask. However, he longs to break free from the virtual "prison" the outfit represents, and we will witness his journey to do so and attempt to save his sister.
Dan, "The Elder"
This episode, also from Trigger, focuses on the relationship between Jedi Padawan and master. A theme we've seen often in the Star Wars universe. Dan is described as "a Jedi Padawan who is a bit impatient and sarcastic," whilst his master, Tajin, is described as "wise and cautious, but trusting" by Rimes.
This calls back to the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Although the age gap was much lower, Obi-Wan was very much seen as the older and wiser Jedi, whilst Anakin was youthful and, at times, arrogant. He bares the traditional Padawan hairstyle of a braid, but uniquely has shaved lines added to the look as well. Rimes also goes on to state, in spite of his sarcasm and impatience, he "brings a sweet, youthful energy to the galaxy". When he finds himself in dire straits, though, his master must teach him the lessons needed to overcome his challenges.
It is the very relationship between the two that forms the main plot element of this episode, with it being stated it also has more personal, deeper meaning. According to Rimes, this is likely to be director Otsuka-san's final film for Trigger, so, as he puts it, this "is a love letter from him, the older master, to the newer, younger generation of artists starting up". The deeper meaning will no doubt add so much more to the episode.
F, "The Village Bride"
"The Village Bride" from Kinema Citrus, follows the story of a fallen Jedi, known only as F. We learn very little about her, leaving the character shrouded in mystery, but we do know she "runs" from some tragic incident in the her past.
Rather than be completely immersed within the story to begin with, F is very much an observer of the world. She finds herself in. Similar to the Obi-Wan of A New Hope, she keeps herself away until a point comes where she may need to reveal herself and adopt her old Jedi ways.
The main stand-out of this episode, however, comes from its attempt to look at the Force from a completely different interpretation. Much like in real life, different cultures interpret the mystics differently. The people of this world refer to the Force as "Magina," using it to connect to the nature around them.
F is described as bringing a "sense of serene calm to this piece" where she "reflects on what is happening in front of her, but also on her own tragic past." In terms of her look, she dons an elaborate mask and cloak described as both figuratively and literally shielding her past traumas, but is also based on Japanese hakama. Shirasaki confirms staff at the animation studio dressed up like her to test the design.
Ronin, "The Duel"
This episode is one I am probably the most excited for, as it is inspired by samurai lore and the films which inspired Star Wars itself, along with other newer forms and other genres. The main character is a Jedi known as Ronin.
As viewers, the only information we will be given about the character is what the other characters are told by he himself, leaving an air of mystery about him. He is said to be directly influenced by Toshiro Mifune and Kurosawa films, making him and his story the perfect fit for Star Wars: Visions. He was also one of the first designs put forward when discussions of the overall show were taking place, along with his straw hat-wearing killer droid companion.
When discussing the character, Rimes states,
"Very early on we saw Takashi Okazaki's design for Ronin and his droid and were utterly blown away - black and white, with a flourish of red for his lightsaber. We knew we were onto something with Visions."
More of Ronin's backstory will be explored in the tie-in Visions novel Ronin, but Rimes goes on to say, "this tale is about a man with a strong sense of justice and right and wrong."
How could one not be intrigued by any of these stories?
The good news is, we don't have long to go until we see it for ourselves, with our own eyes, as the new series is set to come out on Disney+ September 22.
Written By Jordan McGlinchey
Syndicated From Culture Slate