Lucasfilm Cold-Called Animation Studios To Offer Them Star Wars: Visions

"Star Wars: Visions" is unlike anything we've seen before in the Star Wars franchise. The anthology series tells stories unconnected to the larger canon of the franchise, meaning it has complete freedom to reinterpret the iconography of the galaxy far, far away and its many time periods rather than force themselves into the established canon.

It's also a series in which each episode is animated by a different studio with a vastly different visual style. In the first season, Lucasfilm enlisted seven Japanese anime studios, with episodes ranging from cute "Astroboy" homages and space operas to black-and-white samurai-inspired epics and cartoonish and bombastic tales of Force-sensitive twins. Now, Lucasfilm is expanding its horizons to the rest of the world.

But for Volume 2, rather than audition new animation studios, the executives from Lucasfilm reached out to these companies directly.

"We certainly had studios that were really inspired and wanted to reach out," executive producer James Waugh told SFX magazine. "But it was more about which studios we were really impressed by. The truth is, we're just huge animation fans. Seeing Cartoon Saloon's work, Triggerfish, Punkrobot — all of these studios are amazing, and so we reached out to them."

It's all about variety of animation

As Waugh notes, what makes "Star Wars: Visions" unique, particularly going into Volume 2, is how vastly different the animation styles are. Studio Punkrobot has what Waugh describes as "3D meets stop-motion" which allows for a rich texture, while Triggerfish's short has characters who have "doll-like texture." 

And it's not just visuals. Sure, it is exciting to see a 2D animated short set in Star Wars and then go to Aardman's fantastic stop-motion blend of heart and whimsy, but what really makes this season of "Star Wars: Visions" work is the cultural specificity the studios infuse into their shorts. Take Cartoon Saloon, whose short is essentially an Irish ghost story but in the galaxy far, far away. Or Punkrobot's short, which drew inspiration from the real-life genocide of the native Selk'nam people of Patagonia to tell an emotionally resonant and beautifully animated story of resistance, revolution, and our relationship to nature. It is a short that feels intrinsically Star Wars and simultaneously something that could have only got made by a Chilean studio. 

As we get more and more Star Wars TV shows and the franchise finally returns to the big screen (presumably), it will become crucial to make each title stand out from the rest visually as well as story-wise. "Star Wars: Visions" is a perfect example, and proof that there is no one way to make Star Wars or one way for the franchise to look.

"Star Wars: Visions" Volume 2 premieres on Disney+ on May 4, 2023.