When Disney first purchased Star Wars from George Lucas nearly a decade ago, fans had a feeling they would be getting a new slate of movies and a conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, but they had no idea just how many movies, shows, and other programs they would get in the years to come. One of the most ambitious projects to come from the deal yet is Star Wars: Visions, the upcoming anime-influenced Disney+ series first revealed by Disney in December 2020.
It is no secret Star Wars has long been influenced by Japanese cinema with traces of the work of acclaimed filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s work being seen in everything from the Jedi to storytelling techniques and design. So it only seems fitting for Star Wars: Visions to further explore the Japanese culture and cinema with this promising Disney+ series. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming series from its release date to the anime studios who put each of the short films together.
Star Wars: Visions Premieres September 22, 2021 On Disney+
On Wednesday, September 22, Star Wars: Visions will premiere on Disney+, welcoming fans of the iconic science-fiction adventure franchise into a version of the galaxy they’ve never seen quite like this. And unlike other Disney+ series released so far, all of the anime short films in the collection will be available on the same day.
Star Wars: Visions Will Feature Nine Anime Short Films
When Star Wars: Visions is released it will feature nine short films from seven acclaimed Japanese anime studios bringing their own unique voice to the project and telling stories that differ not only on in storytelling techniques and tone but also animation style and much more. When Lucasfilm and Disney announced the project it was revealed that each of these short films bears a unique Japanese sensibility while also having a unique style and perspective.
The anime studios involved in Star Wars: Visions are: Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio, Studio Colorido, Trigger (two short films in the series), Kinema Citrus, Science Saru (two short films in the series), and Production IG.
The Star Wars: Visions Filmmakers Were Given Free Rein When Telling Their Stories
The nine short films in Star Wars: Visions take place at various points throughout the galaxy and the studios making them were not required to have them taken place at specific points on the Star Wars timeline. During a Star Wars: Visions panel in July 2021, executive producer James Waugh explained that the filmmakers had full creative control to share the stories they wanted to tell, stating:
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. We realized we wanted these to be 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.
This means the seven studios involved with the project could use a mix of already established Star Wars characters and those of their own creation to make a truly unique experience.
Two Of The Star Wars: Visions Shorts Will Bookend The Skywalker Saga
The two Star Wars: Visions short films from Studio Trigger — The Elder and The Twins — will bookend the Skywalker Saga though neither is directly connected to any specific character from the movies but instead the ideas and dynamics of the Jedi master and padawan relationship. During a July 2021 press conference (via IGN), The Elder director Masahiko Otsuka revealed that the anime short will take place sometime before the events of Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace while Hiroyuki Imaishi, who directed The Twins said his story follows a pair of siblings raised by the Dark Side following the events of Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker.
Both of these short films, while not focusing on established characters, will touch on some of the same themes as the movie, with Hiroyuki Imaishi saying the force-sensitive twins in his short film are searching for “a new hope.”
Another Star Wars: Visions Short Will Be A Rock Opera Set On Tatooine
One of the short films featured in Star Wars: Visions is going to be like nothing else in galaxy far, far away in the sense that instead of focusing on the battle between good and evil it will tell the story of a struggling band trying to make their big break. Described as a “Star Wars rock opera” at the Visions panel in July 2021, Studio Colorido’s Tatooine Rhapsody will see the musicians trying to make their dream of becoming a big act a reality. It was also revealed that the “rock opera” will be one of the few shorts to include classic Star Wars characters, in this case Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt who have a run-in with the band.
One Of The Star Wars: Visions Shorts Is Getting An Expanded Novelization
One the Star Wars: Visions short films — Kamikaze Douga’s The Duel, which was directed by Takanobu Mizuno — will get its own expanded novelization not long after it premieres on Disney+. The short, which follows a mysterious former Sith (known simply as Ronin) wandering the galaxy, tells the story of the battle between Jedi and the Dark Side but through the lens of Japanese lore. Speaking with StarWars.com, executive producer James Waugh explained that the story told in the short was just too good to stop there and so Lucasfilm decided to expand the story with Emma Mieko Candon’s upcoming novel Star Wars: Ronin: A Visions Novel, which is due out October 12, 2021.
The Star Wars: Visions First Look Trailer Is Out Now
If you want to get a quick look at the nine short films featured in Star Wars: Visions, you can do so by checking out the first look trailer the official Star Wars YouTube channel released in July 2021.
As we can see by the animation featured as well as interviews with the creative minds behind the nine short films, this is very much a passion project that has potential to open new doors for the Star Wars galaxy and introduce the timeless franchise to a new audience.
Star Wars: Visions premieres Wednesday, September 22 on Disney+, but it’s not the only upcoming Star Wars show as we still have The Book of Boba Fett to look forward to before the end of the year. And while we don’t yet have a release date for that highly-anticipated project, when we do you will be able find all the info on our 2021 fall TV schedule.