Star Wars: Visions has finally arrived on Disney+, with all nine episodes available to stream. The anime series has been highly anticipated since the teaser trailer a couple of months ago, and now fans can immerse themselves into a collection of unique tales from the faraway galaxy.
We've already binge-watched the series and we're here to bring you a review of each episode. Is Star Wars: Visions canon, though? Is it part of the wider Star Wars universe? If you're unfamiliar, it's actually an anthology series, but we'll let you discover exactly how it utilizes the timeline yourself. The real question that needs answering is: Is Star Wars: Visions worth watching? Let's find out...
This episode opens with a soulful orchestral theme, however, it instantly feels like Star Wars. We're dropped in the countryside on an undisclosed planet, and while everything is black and white, it feels very alive. We meet a wandering stranger who arrives at a village with his droid. But soon, bandits appear, each of whom are wearing First Order Trooper costumes, and are described as the "last remnants of the war willing to take whatever they need", which pits this episode after The Rise of Skywalker.
When the bandits demand everything the villagers have, village fighters open fire, which includes Trandoshans and Tuskan Raiders. But the real battle takes place between the stranger and an Inquisitor, both of whom brandish a red saber. There are some really thrilling action sequences in this episode, including a river battle and a droid with gunfire not unlike the "whistling birds" in The Mandalorian. It's also worth noting that the wanderer is referred to as "Master Ronin", who we'll learn more about in an upcoming spin-off novel.
The creators of this episode weren't lying when they described it as a "rock opera". We follow a band called 'Star Raver', which is made up of some very colorful characters. They're performing at a venue when none other than Boba Fett shows up (voiced of course by Temuera Morrison, who will also be reprising his role in The Book of Boba Fett). He's looking a little short in this episode, but then so is everyone else. At first glance, you'll think he's a young Boba, but it's just the style of animation.
He's after one of the band members, so a fight ensues, and the band flees in their ship, only to be followed by Boba. Again, we're not interested in spoiling the entire episode for you, but we will say that the 'arena' scene - which is the same arena as seen in The Phantom Menace for the Pod Race - is awesome. Other honorable mentions include a cameo from Jabba the Hutt and the song performed by Star Raver in the arena - it might start off a little cheesy, but you'll be rocking your head by the end (a little like Boba Fett does!).
Before you get excited, "Twins" doesn't follow Luke and Leia - although the ones it does focus on are undoubtedly inspired by the pair. The brother, who is very much a Luke Skywalker in his own right, opposes their lifelong purpose of ruling the galaxy with their planet-destroying double-Star Destroyer, two ships 'twinned' together with a joint canon. It is said that both siblings were created through the power of the dark side and that their armor's energy can be channeled through the canon's Kyber crystal to destroy worlds.
However, the brother takes the crystal and ends up fighting against his own sister, who is determined to fulfill her purpose. The battle here, however, is a little back and forth, which feels quite monotonous. And both the characters and plot are perhaps a little too derivative than we might have expected from a Star Wars: Visions episode. Nevertheless, this is high-energy Star Wars stuff with some truly unforgettable scenery on display - especially just before the credits roll. It's also the first time we ever hear a Star Wars character actually say the words, "To a galaxy far, far away..."
"Village Bride" is perhaps the most spiritual of episodes, and finds itself on a mountainside, following a community of people who are surviving an army of raiders with reprogrammed Battle droids at their disposal - left behind by Separatists after they stripped the mountain of its resources. As such, it seems that this story is set during the height of the Galactic Empire.
This episode definitely captures the traditional Japanese culture of mountains, as described by its creators. It also gives off Princess Mononoke vibes, which was possibly the intention, or perhaps simply because it shares many similar themes. It also has a few neat tricks up its sleeve, including an incredibly powerful Jedi who is rocking some pretty interesting footwear... The beauty of "Village Bride" is also enhanced by some truly haunting music which will stay with you long after viewing.
The Ninth Jedi
"The Ninth Jedi" is the first episode (if you choose to watch them in the order they're laid out on Disney+ that is) to have opening narration, and it's also not the last, with "Lop and Ocho" following suit. We learn that "many generations have passed since the light of the Jedi protected the galaxy", and that since then "an era of war has arisen". From the narration alone, it's fair to say that we're likely on the wrong side of the Empire's fateful Order 66.
This is easily one of the strangest and most 'futuristic' episodes, as we're pitted on what appears to be a floating hunk of rock in space, where its characters are mining for Kyber crystals to help restore the Jedi Order by forging new lightsabers. But meanwhile, a new era of Sith is also on the rise. While it's definitely one of the strangest, there's no denying that it's also one of the more epic.
"TB-01" is the strangest episode - but that's not a bad thing. If you haven't already noticed, the name is a play-on of 'Obi-Wan', which is a neat reference perhaps not obvious to the average viewer. What you will pick up on immediately, though, is that this episode is basically Pinocchio, as it follows the newly made titular droid and an inventor who simply screams Jepetto. There are even countless references to the droid becoming real, though it seems that his dreams are to become a Jedi, whether that involves becoming real or not.
The droid is very retro in appearance, which really separates him from other droids we've seen over the decades. The episode also has a certain whimsical charm, and it's fascinating to watch TB-01 connect with the Force and battle an agent of the Sith. Like many of the other episodes, this one continues with the focus on Kyber crystals. "TB-01" is easily the quirkiest episode of all nine, and we doubt very much that this is the last time we'll be seeing the retro droid.
"The Elder" focuses on two characters - a Jedi Master and his Padawan, who must battle an "Elder" from an unknown tribe, who is very Sith-like in nature. In fact, it's fair to say that this old man is the polar opposite of Jedi Master Yoda. Wise he is, but also incredibly creepy and unsettling. He somehow makes Supreme Leader Snoke look quite warm and welcoming. Even Palpatine, for that matter.
The episode boasts some excellent choreography with its lightsaber duels, as well as some really incredible animation. It also does a great job at truly highlighting the blood-red of its lightsabers, much like "The Duel" does, which is an otherwise entirely black-and-white affair. A fight in the rain also lends to some atmosphere, however, beyond its fight sequences, the episode is pretty forgettable and feels a little too much like style over substance. And by this point, the Jedi and the Sith elements have become a little tiring.
Lop and Ocho
"Lop and Ocho" is the one we've really been looking forward to, and we're thrilled to say it definitely delivers. When Tao, a planet rich with natural resources, is seized by the Empire, a father and his daughter end up adopting a young Lepi slave named Lop, removing her neck collar and welcoming her as their own. As the years pass, Lop has truly bonded with her father and sister Ocho. However, Ocho believes that the Empire's presence on Tao is important for the planet's technological advancements, despite the oppression it poses to the people.
With excellent cinematography, animation, and music, "Lop and Ocho" is easily the best episode of the nine. And we'd very surprised if Lop doesn't go on to become an iconic character in the Star Wars franchise, just like Ahsoka Tano. With her flying umbrella, a single-lens visor (with a discreet carrot logo), a green lightsaber whose blade is adorned with ancient symbols, an accompanying hover droid, and her ability to 'hop' from rooftop to rooftop, this character is begging to be merchandised like crazy.
On the surface, "Akakiri" blends samurai and western themes, as a lone Jedi returns to an old love so that he can defend her world from a Sith-like enemy, and has to cross dangerous territory to achieve this, all the while haunted by strange visions. While one of the least memorable episodes, there are some beautiful scenes throughout nonetheless, including a vibrant parade, and a sweeping shot of a neon-lit city. It's also the only episode out of the nine to feature a Force Ghost.
Star Wars: Visions is now streaming all nine episodes on Disney+.
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