Baba Yaga

Star Wars franchise star Daisy Ridley hasn’t been in much since wrapping up the Skywalker Saga late last year. But she’s seemingly taken a liking to virtual reality, narrating a VR game called The Dawn of Art which dropped in February and now coming on board another VR project. This one is called Baba Yaga, and before you get too excited, no, this doesn’t have anything to do with the world of John Wick. (Baba Yaga, which the movie equates to “The Boogeyman,” is one of Wick’s nicknames.)

Learn about Daisy Ridley’s new VR short below.

According to Variety, Ridley will voice the lead character in Baba Yaga, which hails from writer/director Eric Darnell, the writer and director of Antz and all of the Madagascar movies. A work in progress version of the VR experience played at this year’s Annecy Film Festival (which just began today), and while praising Ridley’s talents as an actress, Darnell told Variety that she pushed to re-record all of her dialogue for the VR project after she saw concept art for the project, saying she could do better with visuals in mind.

Contrary to John Wick‘s simplistic definition of Baba Yaga as a boogeyman, the folkloric figure is more complex than that: she’s usually a repulsive, fearsome witch who lives in a hut which stands on chicken legs, but the character isn’t always villainous. Here’s how Baobab, the VR company who created this experience, describes it on their official website:

Immerse yourself in the enchanting theatrical production of Baba Yaga, the newest virtual reality experience from 6-time Emmy Award-winning interactive animation studio Baobab Studios. Audiences will be invited as a main character into a haunting fairytale world completely reimagined and your choices will determine the ending of this story of love, fortitude and magic.

Sometimes a force for evil, sometimes a force for good, the enigmatic witch Baba Yaga uses her powers to protect the forest from the villagers’ encroachment. When your mother, the village chief, falls deathly ill it is up to you and your sister Magda to do the unthinkable—enter the forest, uncover its hidden mysteries and get the cure from Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga blends theater, cinema, interactivity, AI, and animation into a unique experience that explores themes of empowerment and environmentalism. Ultimately, every decision you make matters…even whether humanity and nature can live in balance.

“Baobab is at the very forefront of VR and interactive animation, so it’s been exciting to work with Eric and the team to bring such a beautiful story to life,” Ridley said in a statement. “I love playing Magda, because she is brave, vulnerable and fiercely protective of her family all at the same time. The idea that the viewer will be able to genuinely interact with my character in this magical world and help steer the course of the narrative is so amazing.”

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