Denis Lawson Is Returning To Voice Wedge Antilles In Aardman's Star Wars Visions Short

Out of all the studios announced to be working on Volume 2 of the animated anthology series, "Star Wars: Visions," it's Aardman Animation's involvement that's got me the most intrigued. The "Wallace & Gromit," "Shaun the Sheep," and "Chicken Run" stop-motion powerhouse's various idiosyncratic settings and toothy-mouthed characters aren't as far removed from the galaxy far, far away as you might imagine, either.

Speaking during the "Visions" panels at "Star Wars" Celebration 2023 in London (where members of the /Film crew are currently on the ground), the team behind Aardman's "Visions" short, entitled "I Am Your Mother," noted that stop-motion has a long history in "Star Wars." Indeed, the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects legend Phil Tippett famously employed never-before-seen VFX to make the stop-motion tauntauns and AT-ATs more convincing for the Hoth sequences in "The Empire Strikes Back." Magdalena Osinska, the director of "I Am Your Mother," referred to Aardman and "Star Wars" as a "perfect marriage" for this reason.

Osinska's short, as its title suggests, is a direct response to the legendary twist from "Empire," wherein Luke learns the truth about Darth Vader's identity. The short centers around a Twi'lek mother-daughter relationship, partly because father-son dynamics have already been heavily explored in "Star Wars," Osinska pointed out. She described it as not just a more positive spin on the Luke and Vader story, but also "a love letter to all the mothers, because quite often they're overlooked in films, and I think they are the real superheroes."

However, while most of the short's characters will be brand-new to the "Star Wars" universe, there will be at least one familiar face (or rather voice) — that of famed Rebel Wedge Antilles, with Denis Lawson once again returning to play the character (this time in stop-motion animated form).

A Star Wars version of Sports Day

Wedge, of course, is the plucky Rebel who helped Luke and the gang take down the first Death Star in "A New Hope" (or at least he tried, until he had to bail early due to ship damage). The luckiest X-Wing pilot in the "Star Wars" universe also managed to survive the Battle of Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back," before ultimately playing a pivotal part in destroying the second Death Star in "Return of the Jedi." Denis Lawson would reprise his role as Wedge for the 2001 video game "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II – Rogue Leader" prior to making his live-action comeback with a brief cameo during the climactic battle on Exegol in "The Rise of Skywalker."

"I Am Your Mother" sees a Twi'lek mother and daughter competing in what the short's creatives described as the "Star Wars" version of the "slightly absurd" British school tradition known as Sports Day, with Wedge hosting the event. Magdalena Osinska explained that she wanted the characters in the short to be non-humans because that's how she felt when she moved to the UK from Poland, and how her mother feels whenever she visits her. It's the latest example of Aardman poking gentle, loving fun at Britain's sporting traditions after the studio's 2018 stop-motion feature film, "Early Man."

"I Am Your Mother" was screened after the "Visions" Celebration panel for those in attendance, with the trailer for "Volume 2" now online. You can catch the full short when the entirety of "Volume 2" hits Disney+ on May 4, 2023.