What in a name? For Star Wars: Visions it’s more than the next iteration of animated shirt stories and more about upholding a legacy while forging a new path. Combining the beauty and boldness of anime with the franchise generations have come to love is a bold step but what’s even bolder is how exquisitely beautiful, daring and transcending Star Wars: Visions manages to become in a matter of minutes.
Told in just nine episodes Star Wars: Visions feels like an tribute to classic Japanese samurai films black and white art style, complete with film scratch effects, as it takes it’s audience on journeys ranging from becoming a Jedi to a timeline set in alternative history.
Featuring work from seven prominent Japanese studios, each episode, from the likes of Kamikaze Douga of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fame, and Production I.G of Ghost in the Shell, explores various elements of Star Wars lore and features a prominent cast of voice talents, including Temuera Morrison, Shelby Young, and George Takei, Masi Oka, Simu Liu, Lucy Liu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Neil Patrick Harris, Karen Fukuhara, Henry Golding and more.
The best way to describe Star Wars: Visions is a thank you to the franchise that entertained fans for decades while also taking it to a place viewers have never seen before. In celebration of this newfound path we spoke to Star Wars: Visions’ executive producer James Waugh and producer Kanako Shirasaki about their goals for Visions and more.
“All the creators are huge Star Wars fans and they are hugely inspired by George Lucas stroytelling and once they [were] approached [with] ‘please tell your own Star Wars stories’ they had a huge idea and inspired from their own cultures, [their] own background, their own anime histories. So these are wonderful marriage of these two mediums and I think that’s what you [feel],” said Kanako.
“Kanako and I have liked these at every step of the way and been feeling like this is really something special and an authentic expression of each one of these studios’ talents. We were super inspired by them from the start so none of these studios were foreign to anybody at LucasFilm. I think their work has been inspiring us the way I know hopefully ours and George’s has been inspiring them over the years. I think it’s just a delight for us to be able to figure out a way to work together with creators you admire so much,” said James.
Despite the anthology being nine separate stories, it was very important for Visions to look and feel cohesive for audiences.
“Our sort of selection methodology [for] each of these studios we went to we loved the work that many of them had done but each of them of course were big Star Wars fans which was lovely to see and they all had a million ideas and it was really a matter of figuring out how to create the best tapestry of storytelling and really make sure that each studio was telling the story that is truly authentic to their style and unique tonally. That’s one of the things I’m really hoping people pick up on. People who don’t really know the full breadth of storytelling potential that is an anime get to see it through this anthology because each of these studios does something so different and so unique, it has a such clear specific voice that it hopefully all comes through,” said James.
“I just hope people who never experienced Japanese anime before this is like a chocolate box so you open it and you can taste multiple different flavors. I hope people enjoy that and through the lens of Star Wars and stuff in the story in the Star Wars universe,” said Kanako.
To learn more about Star Wars: Visions check out our full interview in the video above.