Aardman's Star Wars Visions Short Is Cute, Heartfelt, And Offers A Fresh Angle On A Familiar Universe

Star Wars Celebration 2023 was full of surprises. Trailers, news, and first looks were unveiled for lucky fans of a galaxy far, far away in London, England. But there was arguably no cooler reveal than the premiere of an episode of the upcoming "Star Wars: Visions Volume 2" made by animation studio Aardman.

The short, titled "I Am Your Mother," is just what you'd expect from an Aardman "Star Wars" project. It is very cute and full of heart, but also extremely funny and imaginative, with every scene packed to the rim with Easter eggs that feel organic, as if we're watching actual people living in this universe with countless tales of heroes. 

Stop-motion animation has always been a part of "Star Wars." It is as integral to this franchise as VFX or John Williams' music, with Phil Tippett's work on the AT-AT and the Tauntauns helping make that film timeless and well-crafted. It makes sense, then, that the franchise would eventually get a full stop-motion animated short, and what better studio to handle this than one of the best in the business, Aardman? 

The Bristol-based studio brings a sense of hand-made craft to the table, with even fingerprints being often visible on the screen, which gives the story a very tactile feel. Likewise, their work often finds the right balance between whimsy and earnestness, imbuing every project with a big heart as well as an intrepid sense of adventure and wonder. All these qualities they bring to "I am Your Mother," a clever play on the iconic line from "Empire Strikes Back" and a great first taste of what volume two of "Star Wars: Visions" has to offer.

A stunning short

The short follows a Twi'lek tween named Anni, a student at a flying academy who is embarrassed by her crappy home and her overly enthusiastic mother, Kalina — and their defective droid dog, Z-1. In what is a very British story despite being set in space, Anni is inadvertently forced to participate in sports day with her mother, who doesn't take kindly to the harsh words of the local bully. Oh, and Denis Lawson is here as Wedge Antilles, too! He is a standout of the short, as we discover Wedge is now a bit of a corporate sellout who keeps trying to sell his merchandise. 

This is a hilarious episode, one with a look that is pure Aardman, uncompromised by belonging to a big franchise. The character designs are recognizable and unique — the Wookiee is a standout — while visuals are bold and inventive, and there are tons of physics-bending, high-speed shenanigans. 

As expected from Aardman, the animation is impeccable. The hand-made puppets and physical sets add an old-school feel that harkens back to the practicality of the original trilogy, with tactile spaceships and props. It is simply magical to see the droids interacting with the characters or a Wookiee tearing some limbs and getting a feeling that it is real. 

This is also a short filled with Easter eggs to both Aardman and "Star Wars" at large. Rather than fan service, these make the story come to life and its world to look lived in, with characters who grew up on the legends of the rebels and idolized them.

"I Am Your Mother" is a fantastic start to a new season of "Star Wars: Visions," and proof that this universe can fit any mold and medium, it can tell any story and still feel "Star Wars."