Catch up on all the new details revealed for the upcoming Disney+ mashup of Star Wars and anime.
Anime and the Star Wars galaxy are (finally!) coming together. Star Wars: Visions, a new anthology of animated shorts celebrating Star Wars through the lens of some of the world’s best anime creators, is coming to Disney+. In a special panel today at Anime Expo Lite, Lucasfim pulled back the curtain on the series -- and it looks to be a wholly unique collection of inventive, visually stunning, and personal Star Wars tales. Hosted by Chastity Vicencio and featuring James Waugh (executive producer), Josh Rimes (executive producer), Jacqui Lopez (executive producer), Justin Leach (co-executive producer), and Kanako Shirasaki (producer), the panel showed concept art, revealed the studios and creators behind several shorts, and offered plot details for the diverse and creative stories on the way. Here are 20 things we learned.
1. Mark your calendars. We won’t have to wait long for the series: Star Wars: Visions will arrive September 22 on Disney+.
2. Star Wars: Visions storytelling didn't have to fit in the timeline. In developing the series, Lucasfilm made the decision to let creators tell the stories they wanted to tell -- whether they featured established or original characters -- without a need to tie into the larger chronology. “We really wanted to give these creators a wide creative berth to explore all the imaginative potential of the Star Wars galaxy through the unique lens of anime,” James Waugh said. “We realized we wanted these to be as authentic as possible to the studios and creators who are making them, made through their unique process, in a medium they’re such experts at. So the idea was, this is their vision riffing off all the elements of the Star Wars galaxy that inspired them -- hopefully to make a really incredible anthology series, unlike anything we’ve seen before in the Star Wars galaxy.”
3. The studios behind Star Wars: Visions make for an all-star anime lineup. In total, Lucasfilm confirmed seven studios and nine shorts for Star Wars: Visions, including:
- Kamikaze Douga - "The Duel"
- Geno Studio (Twin Engine) - "Lop and Ochō"
- 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 I.G - "The Ninth Jedi"
4. For Lucasfilm, Star Wars: Visions was a long time coming. Several panelists expressed their fandom for anime, while also noting the influence that Japanese culture has had on Star Wars since the beginning. “The combination of Star Wars and anime is something that I’ve really wanted for a really long time,” said Justin Leach. Waugh concurred. “Anime has influenced us in a huge way,” he said. “We’re all fans.”
5. It wasn’t a prerequisite, but the creators behind the Star Wars: Visions shorts are all Star Wars fans. “Each one of these studios jumped right in,” Jacqui Lopez said. “They were huge Star Wars fans. It was very easy for them to jump in and do what they do within our universe.”
6. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Star Wars: Visions met with some production hurdles. Lockdown forced a mostly remote production, making things especially complicated considering the differences in time zones and production pipelines. “It was not easy since we managed many shorts simultaneously during this challenging time,” confirmed Kanako Shirasaki.
7. "The Duel" from Kamikaze Douga infuses Star Wars with Japanese iconography. The concept art revealed for this short features Samurai-esque Jedi and Sith, an astromech droid with straw hat, and more that embraces Japanese culture. “It was just irresistible,” said Lopez. “We were all overwhelmed when we saw this artwork.”
8. Director Takanobu Mizuno had one goal with "The Duel." “The thing he was really clear on was that he just wanted this to be a love letter to Star Wars,” Waugh said. “The core theme of this short ends up being such a Star Wars story.” The tale is ultimately about someone who must choose selflessness, a core Star Wars theme. As far as visuals, "The Duel" will be told in black and white with splashes for color for certain elements -- like lightsabers.
9. For Geno Studio’s "Lop and Ochō," the visuals reflect its messaging. “The design style on this short really focuses on the collision between natural beauty and encroaching industrialization,” said Lopez, with the Empire representing the march of technology.
10."Lop and Ochō" features a space bunny-person. Her name is Lop and we love her already. “She is cute and expressive and completely unwavering in her devotion to good and family and loyalty,” Lopez said. “She’s awesome.”