When “Star Wars: Visions” debuted back in 2021, it was just what the doctor ordered. A collection of gorgeously animated shorts by some of Japan’s leading animation studios, the shorts offered up new sensibilities and visual styles that existed outside the comparatively stodgy realms of the live-action “Star Wars” franchise.
Fortunately, “Star Wars: Visions” is coming back on May 4 with a second volume of all-new studios from around the world.
Instead of exclusively Japanese studios, the second volume of “Visions” canvasses our world, with shorts from El Guiri (Spain), Cartoon Saloon (Ireland), Punkrobot (Chile), Aardman (the United Kingdom), Studio Mir (South Korea), Studio La Cachette (France), 88 Pictures (India), D’art Shtajio (Japan) and Triggerfish (South Africa). This is truly an international affair!
“The reaction to the first volume of ‘Star Wars: Visions’ blew us away. We were delighted that this project inspired and resonated with so many people,” James Waugh, “Star Wars: Visions” executive producer and Senior Vice President Franchise Content & Strategy at Lucasfilm, said in a statement. “We always saw ‘Star Wars: Visions’ as a framework for celebratory expressions of the franchise from some of the best creators working today.”
The exec added that “animation is in a global renaissance,” and that he and the rest of Lucasfilm are “constantly staggered” by the medium.
“With Volume 1, the imaginative minds of Japan’s anime industry were on full display. With Volume 2, we expanded our canvas to take audiences on a global tour of some of the most talented creators from around the world,” he said. “We’re so proud to be able to reveal the line-up of studios we’ve assembled. Every short is incredible, full of heart, scope, imagination, and the values that make stories distinctly ‘Star Wars’ — all while opening up bold new ways of seeing what a ‘Star Wars’ story can be.”
There are some big names and studios in there, too! The short from El Guiri in Spain, simply called “Sith,” comes from writer/director Rodrigo Blaas, who worked for many years at Pixar before teaming with Guillermo del Toro for the “Trollhunters” shows for Netflix and DreamWorks Animation.
Aardman’s entry “I Am Your Mother,” comes from director Magdalena Osinskathe and the animation studio behind “Chicken Run” and “Wallace and Gromit.” While it hasn’t been confirmed to be stop-motion animated, that’s a very good guess.
“The Spy Dancer” comes courtesy of writer/director Julien Chheng and Studio La Cachette (where Chheng is CEO), the animation studio behind Genndy Tartakovsky’s brilliant, brutal “Primal.”
And “Screecher’s Reach” comes from director Paul Young and Cartoon Saloon (a studio he co-founded), the traditional animation team behind “Wolfwalkers” and “My Father’s Dragon.” And that’s just the tip of the space iceberg.
The nine new shorts debut on Disney+ on May 4 – otherwise known as “Star Wars Day.”