Star Wars: Visions is here. But what exactly is it? Well, to put it shortly, it’s nothing like we’ve ever seen before.
Disney has released some of the best, and unfortunately some of the worst, Star Wars content to date. Rogue One and The Mandalorian are considered by many to be science fiction at their best. Both expanded the Star Wars universe in new ways while still remaining true to the franchise’s core. However, Disney also released The Rise of Skywalker and Star Wars: Resistance. But what these shows have in common is that they stuck to the Star Wars principle of expanding the universe while still keeping with the Star Wars style. Star Wars: Visions is neither of these. The episodes do not exist in the same universe as each other, let alone in the same universe as the rest of the franchise. And the episodes most certainly do not look like anything else we have seen come out of Star Wars.
Star Wars: Visions is a series of 9 short films, each around 15 minutes that tells an independent and original story. Each short film was created by a Japanese animation studio, and the short films’ aesthetic is very anime. Additionally, since the short films came from a variety of different animation studios, there is a large difference in animation style between episodes, though it is all distinctly anime. The studios behind the short films are all based in mainland Japan and have multiple animes under their belts. For anime fans, knowing that the same people who worked on Space Dandy and Kill La Kill worked on Visions is sure to pique interest.
The episodes are not canon, which means that they are not considered official events in the Star Wars timeline. This might disappoint some Star Wars fans who are trying to learn more about the galaxy far, far away that we know both so much and so little about. But it also means that the Japanese studios that created the episodes had a lot of freedom in the stories they wanted to tell, as they did not have to worry about it conflicting with the established Star Wars lore.
This departure from canon also meant that the studios involved were able to tweak the workings of the Star Wars universe. For example, the first short story, The Duel, takes place in an alternate Star Wars universe where everything from the architecture to the culture is based on Medieval Japan. Even the lightsabers in the episode are shaped like traditional Japanese swords; sheath and all. The disassociation from canon means that the writers did not have to create an explanation and justification for everything to suddenly be based on Japanese culture. And this allows the viewer to simply fill in the blanks and accept that what they are seeing is the Star Wars they know, but with a twist.
Star Wars: Visions is good. Really good. Each episode feels very different from the last, but all are very interesting. To put it shortly, Visions might not be the Star Wars we know, but it’s Star Wars and it’s awesome.