This Star Wars Visions Short Was Inspired By Luke's Retirement Home In The Last Jedi

This year's "Star Wars" Celebration has produced a bounty of riches for "Star Wars" fans everywhere, from news of the return of Daisy Ridley's Rey to the big screen to new trailer footage of the "Ahsoka" spin-off series to, for our purposes here, the most recent look at season 2 of "Star Wars: Visions." On top of everything else that the animated anthology series has going for it (which is a heck of a lot, to be clear!), we've also received even more tidbits about what to expect from volume 2 of the exciting project. Not only can we expect a more global influence this time around, but it also turns out that at least one episode will draw from the "Star Wars" movies.

The /Film team on the ground at Celebration recently attended the "Star Wars: Visions" panel, where director Paul Young of Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon (known for "Wolfwalkers") spoke about his work on the upcoming short "Screecher's Reach." According to Young:

"Ireland is rich in mythology which we've mined over the years. But the chance then to mine into the 'Star Wars' mythology, which is a mythology in a galaxy far, far away, was really appealing. And so we're doing an Irish kind of ghost story with a twist. There's a bit of an Easter egg, is that I'm going down to the cliffs of Kerry. And so one of our locations is very influenced by the Irish landscape. And there's a cave at the bottom of that mountain, which is very inspired by the cave from 'The Empire Strikes Back.' We took some inspiration from that."

But that's not the only "Star Wars" film that Young name-dropped. Apparently, "The Last Jedi" will also make its presence felt in at least one significant way.

Irish influences

When director J.J. Abrams' "The Force Awakens" first established that an aged Luke had fled the galaxy for the distant Jedi sanctuary of Ahch-To (despite all the internet chatter about this choice, real ones know that this wasn't a plot point that Rian Johnson pulled out of thin air in "The Last Jedi" — he was working with what he was given!), fans were divided over exactly how to feel about the one-time hero seemingly abandoning his friends for the life of a monk. But as Paul Young pointed out during the "Star Wars: Visions" panel, this has some intriguing real-world parallels.

While answering a question about the Irish influences in his episode, titled "Screecher's Reach," Young went on to specifically mention how one of the key locations in the episode originated from a real Irish landscape, the Kerry Cliffs. Intriguingly, that's only a hop, skip, and a jump from the nearby island of Skellig Michael — the location that served as Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) desolate island setting of Ahch-To in "The Last Jedi." As Young put it:

"That was obviously where Ahch-To was when Luke Skywalker went to retire, in a way, his retreat, which a lot of monks did in Ireland back in the sixth century, monks actually went to Skellig Michael. It's a lovely place. So it's inspired by that."

By all accounts, it appears that at least one major setting in "Screecher's Reach" will take its cues from Ahch-To. But for Young and the rest of the creative team, that only scratches the surface of what they accomplished with this episode.

'We always want to push the expressive nature of ink and paper and pencil'

As much as franchise fans may be looking forward to "Star Wars: Visions," animation aficionados are certainly looking forward to seeing how each studio adapts their style to the world of "Star Wars." Those who know their Cartoon Saloon history will remember the distinctive, hand-drawn animation look and the noticeably Irish flair that the studio is known for. That extends to the cast as well, which Young goes out of his way to praise. Led by actor Eva Whitaker as the voice of our hero named Daal, "Screecher's Reach" will include a predominantly Irish-accented group of characters ... with the exception of one who's apparently "a famous person, very famous American person" that Young isn't able to disclose just yet.

Otherwise, however, he's eager to talk up the strengths of their visual approach to the story:

"We're very dedicated to hand-drawn animation to tell a good story and we always want to push the expressive nature of ink and paper and pencil to sort of visually tell the story emotionally and we like to use conflicting marks of ink and watercolor. You can see in our short, it goes from water color pitches to ink splats to express the kind of anger. So we like to use the conflict in the story to help us do the art that informs the art you can do."

We see a brief glimpse of this episode early on in the trailer, but we can't wait to see what else Young and his creative team have in store. We'll find out when "Star Wars: Visions" debuts its second season on Disney+ May 4, 2023.