Have you ever wondered what Star Wars might’ve looked like if it was made in India? What about France? Or even Ireland? Well, wonder no longer because the best Star Wars series has returned to answer all those questions, Star Wars: Visions. First airing back in September of 2021, the series is finally back, giving us even more unique takes on the Star Wars universe. While Volume 1 only featured animation studios from Japan, Volume 2 has studios worldwide joining the fun. I was hoping that one of the previous shorts would get a continuation of some kind (“The Ninth Jedi” deserves it). However, I still enjoyed almost every episode of Volume 2. The diversity of animation studios can be felt everywhere, from the stories being told to the characters, even the art style. Each episode is incredibly unique, and you’re bound to find a favourite.
Like Volume 1, Volume 2 of Visions has nine episodes, each telling a different story in the Star Wars universe. Even if they’re not canon, these stories are the most engaged I’ve been with the franchise since Andor. Nearly every episode kept me glued to the screen, eagerly waiting to see what would happen next. Before I knew it, the credits would start, and I’d have to deal with the realisation that the next episode won’t continue the story. But then the next episode would begin, and I’d start the cycle all over again. It’s a testament to the storytelling of all the studios involved that even though I only spent 20 minutes with each story, I became so invested and was clamouring for more. I’ve gushed enough about the episodes, so I should probably give some examples.
Each episode of Visions tells stories that you’d believe could happen within the Star Wars universe but with that unique influence from the different studios. The Spanish-inspired episode “Sith” follows a former Sith apprentice as she tries to live a peaceful life with her art. “The Spy Dancer” is another fantastic story about a Rebel spy working at a cabaret, and it just oozes style thanks to that French influence. Then there’s the Indian-made “The Bandits of Golak,” one of the better stories from Volume 2. The adventure of a brother and his force-sensitive sister is non-stop, and the Indian influence is present throughout the entire episode (there’s even an old lady with a cane lightsaber). I could go on about each episode, but then we’d be here all day. Instead, let’s move on to the memorable characters that will capture your attention.
A great story is nothing without great characters, and Visions has those in spades. Like Volume 1, each episode of Volume 2 introduces new and interesting characters into the Star Wars mythos that would most likely never have existed without this series. The freedom of being non-canon allows these studios to take tropes and ideas from every genre and give us Star Wars characters we could never have imagined. Each character is dripping with style and personality, leaving you wanting more. Whether it’s a former monk and Jedi confronting their pasts or a group of slaves trying to get themselves out of a giant hole, the characters and the performances will keep you engaged. Fun fact, each studio sourced their voice actors from their own country, adding another layer of culture to the series (no surprise Chris Pratt here).
“Journey to the Dark Head” probably has the safest character archetypes of Volume 2, but even they have a twist. The main characters of this episode are Ara, the former monk, and Toul, the Jedi that just lost his master. Even though I only spent 20 minutes with these two, I already got attached and was rooting for them. This made that duel at the end a hell of a lot more stressful. “The Pit” also had engaging characters that captured your heart. Seeing Crux desperately search for help and his passionate speech made him a standout for the series. However, “Screecher’s Reach” had the biggest character twist in the entire season. Seeing the sweatshop worker Daal go from a curious young girl to someone willing to kill was shocking, to say the least, but still believable. And when you combine these unique characters with distinct art styles, you get something truly outstanding.
Arguably the most unique aspect of Visions is the variety of art styles. Due to each episode being handled by a different studio, we get nine distinct visual takes on the Star Wars universe. Not only does each episode showcase a different art style, but we also get to see how different cultures could fit into the series. Whether the stylish splashes of colour in the “Sith” or the charming stop motion of “I Am Your Mother,” each episode looks and feels completely different. I adore this aspect of Visions; seeing this familiar universe with a new twist is always exciting. My favourite example of this is in “Sith,” where the lightsabers look like Spanish rapiers; it’s just so cool!
Compared to Volume 1, Volume 2 has way more variety in terms of animation styles. Before Volume 2 was released, if you told me that Aardman of Wallace and Gromit fame would be working on Star Wars, I’d say you’re a liar. But thanks to Visions, we can see what happens when these two worlds collide. Even though their episode “I Am Your Mother” was my least favourite, it was still awesome to see. “In The Stars” is another episode that utilises stop motion and is just as unique. This episode reminded me a lot of Kubo and the Two Strings, with its characters looking like puppets running around (this is a good thing). “Aau’s Song” is the final episode of Volume 2, and it has the most unique visuals of the series. Each character looks so fluffy and huggable. I need Aau in plushy form yesterday.
While each episode is fantastic in its own way, I have my favourites. If I had to give a ranking from favourite to least favourite, it’s “Journey to the Dark Head,” The Spy Dancer,” “Sith,” “In the Stars,” “The Bandits of Golak,” “The Pit,” “Aau’s Song,” “Screecher’s Reach,” and finally “I Am Your Mother.”
Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 is another excellent addition to the Star Wars universe. Each episode is charming in its own way. The stories and characters will capture your attention in the 20-minute episodes, leaving you wanting more. And your eyes will be constantly entertained with all the fantastic art styles on full display. If you haven’t checked out Visions yet, do it now. I guarantee you’ll enjoy seeing new takes on this old galaxy. Now, give me a continuation of “The Ninth Jedi” and “The Village Bride” next season.
Have you seen Volume 2 of Visions yet? What did you think? What was your favourite episode? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about which animation studios should take a crack next season.