How Lucasfilm Made ‘Star Wars: Visions’ the Most Ambitious ‘Star Wars’ Project Since ‘A New Hope’


Variety 22 September, 2021 - 08:22pm 29 views

How long is each episode of Star Wars visions?

Visions is a nine-part anthology, with each episode telling a completely original story. They're all short — the longest is 22 minutes long, and some clock in at just 13 minutes — and, in a rarity for Disney Plus, the entire season is available to stream all at once. The VergeVisions is the most exciting Star Wars has been in a long time

When will Star Wars Visions come out?

When will 'Star Wars: Visions' be released on Disney+? There are nine episodes in the show and they are all due to come out on September 22, 2021. MARCA.comStar Wars: Visions - Trailer and release date on Disney+

Will Star Wars Visions have a Season 2?

Is Star Wars: Visions returning for Season 2? ... “There's nothing planned right now,” Visions executive producer James Waugh tells Inverse. “We are definitely excited and love these shorts. And I think the approach has been 'let's see what the audience thinks and let's react from there.'" Inverse'Star Wars: Visions' Season 2 release date, trailer, and plot for the Disney Plus series

The romantic, idealistic air sign also emphasizes connection, socializing, and getting along with others, thanks to its ruler, Venus, the sweet planet of love. So although what we think of as the holiday season might still be several weeks off, it'll be no surprise if you start craving more time with friends and loved ones spent enjoying fun-loving fall traditions. Libra vibes are all about finding any excuse to get together and have an Instagram-worthy celebration.

But while the sun moves through Libra every year, the moon and planets move at different paces and patterns in our solar system, so you can expect a unique experience during every sign's season. Here's a glimpse at Libra season 2021.

Three or four times a year, Mercury, the planet of communication, transportation, and technology, appears to move backward through the sky, spurring a three-week slowdown period that promotes reflection and revision over new projects and plowing ahead. This year, the third retrograde of the year syncs up almost exactly with Libra season, beginning officially on September 27 and lasting until October 18, and Mercury will be moving backward in the cardinal air sign. That said, you can expect this retrograde to have a distinctly Venusian vibe, potentially requiring that you go back to the drawing board and tend to old business and loose ends related to partnerships, beauty, art, earning money, and values. (Related: WTF Is Really Going On During Mercury Retrograde?)

Although, yes, there will likely be perpetual griping about Mercury's backward turn, Libra season will see three outer planets going direct (aka ending their retrogrades). First up to bat is Pluto, the planet of transformation, which has been retrograde since April 27 in cardinal earth sign Capricorn. On October 6 — the same day as the Libra new moon, but more on that in a sec — it'll go direct. As such, you'll slowly (and finally) begin to act on any meditations you've had on toxic relationships, patterns, and behaviors over the past five-ish months.

Then, on October 10, Saturn, the taskmaster planet currently in fixed air sign Aquarius, will end its retrograde which began on May 23. Again, any inner work you've done since then can fuel the creation of future-minded structures, rules, and boundaries that promote your growth and success. (Related: How to Set Boundaries with Anyone In Your Life)

And on October 17-18 (depending on your time zone), buoyant, expansive Jupiter will end its retrograde, which began on June 20 in mutable water sign Pisces and is culminating in Aquarius. Jupiter retrograde asks you to consider if you're truly comfortable with the ways in which you've expanded our lives since its last backward turn. And now that you've spent the past nearly four months in that headspace, the post-retrograde phase will allow you to put what you've learned into practice to boost your fortune and self-actualization.

The end of Jupiter's retrograde could also prove exciting on a global scale, given that Jupiter's forward movement means it's on its way back to Pisces, where it spent time from May 13 to July 28, spurring a good deal of optimism around the end of the pandemic. (Related: Quarantine Made You Crave Major Life Changes, But Should You Follow Through?)

At the beginning of any cardinal sign's season, you can expect tense albeit activating squares to transformative Pluto, currently in cardinal earth sign Capricorn. On September 22, just before the sun moves into Libra, messenger Mercury will square Pluto, boosting a deep-dive research as well as coercive tactics. Pay attention to what transpires, because, thanks to Merc's retrograde, these two power players also clash again on October 1. On October 17, the confident sun butts heads with Pluto, potentially highlighting control issues, destructive behaviors, and power struggles. Finally, on October 22, action-oriented Mars and Pluto duke it out, possibly bringing even more aggression and paranoia to the mix.

Until October 7, Venus, the planet of love, will be in Scorpio, a spot where it's considered to be in its "detriment," or a position in which it feels uncomfortable and struggles to do its thing. Scorp rules the eighth house of death, rebirth, sex, and transformation — all themes that you generally encounter in an LTR — but that can't help but clash with Venus' desire to keep things light, airy, personable, and romantic. But from October 7 to November 5, Venus will be more content in fun-loving mutable fire sign Sagittarius.

In the sign of the Archer, Venus will bring a free-spirited, jovial, unfiltered, philosophical, and optimistic tone to relationships as well as pursuits of beauty and money. If you've been wanting to plan a road trip with your S.O., take an eye-opening class with your bestie, broach straightforward, no-nonsense real talk conversations with loved ones, or take a chance swiping on someone who seems to be anything but your type — or even happens to live in a different country — this phase will support your efforts.

When you think of a new moon in Libra, you might think of kicking off new partnerships, artistic projects, or earning opportunities. But with Mercury retrograde, old business is emphasized over anything new, and the Scales' new moon, occurring on October 6, pairs up with aggressive Mars, making this a potentially passionate (at best) and confrontational (at worst) lunar event. It'll be especially important to keep an eye out for impulsive behavior stemming from unresolved anger. (Related: How to Have Healthier Relationship Arguments)

And the full moon, happening on October 20, is hosted by Aries, ruled by Mars, which in itself sets the stage for fighting with an eye toward winning at all costs. And as if that wasn't enough, the confident sun and Mars will be super-cozy in Libra, producing a lot of adrenaline, assertiveness, and gung-ho energy, which will need to be channeled strategically to avoid blowups. Then, Mars will be heading for a tense square with burn-it-all-down Pluto, giving way to power-related clashes, manipulation, and obsessions.

In other words, for several days around both of these lunar events, you'll want to be especially aware of Mars' hotheaded, antagonistic vibes, burn off extra energy in healthy ways, and keep your cool. And when in doubt, do your best to embrace Libra's M.O., prioritizing balance and minimizing conflict at all costs.

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Read full article at Variety

‘Visions’ Is a Fresh Look Into the ‘Star Wars’ Galaxy

The Ringer 23 September, 2021 - 03:12am

Paramount Plus is probably best known for its great Star Trek shows, but I absolutely love The Good Fight. On Showtime, The Chi is great, and my all-time favorite House of Lies takes the top spot when I need guaranteed high-quality entertainment.

If you're looking for new shows to stream or just love a good deal, Paramount Plus and Showtime have a discounted bundle available. The ad-free bundle is $13 a month, saving you $8 a month from what you'd pay for these streaming services separately. And you can get the ad-supported bundle for $10 a month, saving you $6. You can get this bundle on either streaming site, but free trials are only available to new subscribers, no matter the service you choose.

Promotional prices end on Oct. 20 and there's no word on what the rates will be when this deal ends. It's likely that the price will go up so locking yourself into a deal such as this one could be a good idea -- especially if you're looking forward to the new series of Dexter coming this fall.

Star Wars: Visions review: Proof Star Wars doesn’t need Luke Skywalker

Polygon 23 September, 2021 - 03:12am

Disney Plus’ new anime anthology feels boundless

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“We always thought that the anime vernacular would work well with Star Wars [...] but if you think of Star Wars five or six years ago, we were in a very different place,” Visions executive producer James Waugh tells Polygon. “We were relaunching a franchise in a really big way, it was feature-driven.” It wasn’t until Disney’s library had a streaming home that a potential Star Wars anime project finally found its footing. “I don’t think a series of shorts was something that really had a destination prior to Disney Plus,” he says.

Star Wars: Visions makes a tantalizing promise: Round up some of the most exciting talent working in modern anime — including Hiroyuki Imaishi (Promare), Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Eunyoung Choi (Kaiba, Ping Pong The Animation), and Masahiko Otsuka (FLCL, Gurren Lagann) — and allow them free rein to tell their own stories in the Star Wars universe, canon be damned. On top of delivering thrilling action, the resulting nine shorts stand as the most clear interrogation of the soul of Star Wars since 2017’s The Last Jedi.

While those core tenets are more or less uncontested by the fanbase, the specifics of the stories in which those themes manifest creates contention. There is a vocal base of fans who simply want new stories featuring Luke, Leia, and Han Solo, and if not that, then stories that intersect or hew close to the established lore of the Skywalker Saga stories. Even Jon Favreau’s space western TV series The Mandolorian, which began as an episodic story focused on wholly new characters to the franchise, inevitably circled back to incorporate Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett in its second season.

There are others who believe that the Star Wars universe’s future lies at the fringes of the unknown and unfamiliar, stories that feature all-new characters whose arcs elaborate on and dissect the foundational elements of the series. Many of those people are involved with Star Wars today; the impetus of Lucasfilm’s High Republic publishing initiative was to carve out space on the galactic timeline that could be wholly original and free of the burden to connect back to a core story. With how prolonged and embattled the debate between these two camps of thought has been in the wake of the aforementioned sequel trilogy, the only thing that anyone can seem to agree on anymore is that lightsabers are cool.

But for all the invocations to the classic “light vs. dark” struggle, “The Twins” is ultimately an inversion, focusing on a conflict of conscience within the dark side and rendered in a visual style that makes this interpretation feel bold and exciting. The ending suggests that destiny is as much as matter of choice as it is a matter of circumstance, and that one does not necessarily need to be aligned with the light side of the Force in order to do the right thing.

For every familiar story beat echoed across the nine shorts, there’s an unprecedented and exciting twist thrown into the mix. Where else in Star Wars media are you going to find a bunny girl who wields a lightsaber to save her adoptive family, invoking the sequel trilogy’s notion that you don’t have to be the “chosen one” in order to defend and save your loved ones? Or a former padawan who ends up hiding out as the vocalist of an intergalactic rock band, one that iterates on the series’ recurring trope of found family that feels distilled from early scenes of Luke, Leia, and Han meeting for the first time?

In “T0-B1,” a boy robot fights a Sith inquisitor to avenge his creator. Anime fans will likely read it as a riff on Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. But it’s still drawing from a piece of Star Wars, the idea that the Force is a power that exists in all living things, whether organic or inorganic. Each short is distinct in its respective visual style and storyline, and each of them share an intimate knowledge and understanding of the core principles of what make the franchise what it is beyond Luke Skywalker and his circle of cohorts.

In allowing Japanese anime directors to imagine new corners of the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: Visions gives the open-ended franchise a clearer path forward: one that moves beyond the staid, and literalist evocations to the the series’ beginnings and presses on into strange, new, and bold stories. The strengths of the series are bigger than the lineage of any one family.

All nine episodes of Lucasfilm’s first anime series is now streaming on Disney Plus.

In ‘Star Wars: Visions,’ Lucasfilm and Anime Join Forces, and Go Rogue

The New York Times 22 September, 2021 - 04:00am

The Disney+ collaboration between Lucasfilm and seven anime studios pays tribute to the Japanese influence on “Star Wars” — and throws out the canon.

What would happen if some of the most creative animation studios in Japan were let loose in a galaxy far, far away?

In the anime anthology series “Star Wars: Visions,” Jedi warriors battle enemies with faces like oni (a kind of Japanese demon), and straw-hatted droids inhabit feudal villages straight out of Akira Kurosawa’s classic samurai film “Yojimbo.” There are Sith villains and rabbit-girl hybrids, tea-sipping droids (OK, it’s really oil) and sake-sipping warriors. Lightsabers are lovingly squirreled away in traditional wrapping cloths called furoshiki and in red lacquer boxes.

And this being anime, there are over-the-top action sequences, stunning hand-painted backgrounds and computer-generated wonders. And of course, there’s plenty of “kawaii,” the distinctly Japanese form of cuteness.

The series, which premiered Wednesday on Disney+, consists of nine short films by nine different directors from seven different Japanese animation houses, each film with a vastly different animation style. The films include a rock opera (“Tatooine Rhapsody”) and an eco-cautionary tale (“The Village Bride”), as well as a psychological drama (“Akakiri,” heavy on the blood spray) and a meditation on family, as seen through the lens of classic yakuza films (“Lop and Ocho”).

It is the first time outsiders from any country have been given this sort of access to the themes, ships, characters and even signature sounds of the Star Wars franchise. “I really wanted to use the original lightsaber sounds,” said Kenji Kamiyama (“Napping Princess”), the director of “The Ninth Jedi,” the fifth episode in the series. “Kids all over the world mimic that very distinctive sound effect when they play Jedi, and I felt we couldn’t change that sound in our short.”

But it is also the first time outsiders have been allowed to go “off-canon” in such a dramatic way, with stories that exist outside of and separate from a cinematic universe that has been lovingly created over six decades — and cherished by generations of zealous fans often resistant to even the smallest changes.

“We had concerns of: How do we make this work?” said James Waugh, the series showrunner and Lucasfilm’s vice president of franchise content and strategy. “There were a few moments where I had to go, Can we really do a rock opera in ‘Star Wars’?”

In many ways, this mash-up of the hugely popular worlds of anime and “Star Wars” is a natural. George Lucas has been open about his creation’s debt to Japanese culture, crediting Kurosawa’s 1958 period drama “The Hidden Fortress,” with its charismatic hero, spirited princess and two quarreling and comical peasants as a primary inspiration for his first “Star Wars” film, from 1977.

And then there are the kimono-like robes, the lightsaber duels (Mark Hamill and John Boyega trained with kendo experts to prepare them for their onscreen battles) and even the Force itself, with its elements of Buddhism and Shintoism. Little of this has gone unnoticed, or unappreciated, by Japanese fans.

“Japan has always received Star Wars with open arms,” said Chris Taylor, the author of “How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise.” He pointed to the Japanese box-office of “The Phantom Menace,” which alone made about 110 million — just shy of the film’s $115 million production budget.

The project was pitched by Waugh to the Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who greenlit the series at the beginning of 2020; the anime production company Qubic Pictures acted as a crucial bridge between Lucasfilm and the Japanese studios. It is Lucasfilm’s first collaboration with each of the seven houses, which include Production I.G (“Ghost in the Shell”), Kamikaze Douga (“Batman Ninja”) and Science SARU, whose feature film “Inu-Oh” premiered at the Venice International Film Festival this month.

“The animation that has come out of Japan has been so exceptional that I was thrilled by the thought of these artists and storytellers interpreting what ‘Star Wars' means to them,” Kennedy said. “I felt immediately that it would take ‘Star Wars’ in directions it’s never gone before.”

Even so, the decision to greenlight “Visions” wasn’t made lightly.

“We really see ourselves as guardians of the franchise, and every misstep is, as you know, all over the internet,” said Jacqui Lopez, vice president of franchise production at Lucasfilm and one of the executive producers. With most new series and spinoffs, she added, “we are very careful to stay true in the timeline and in canon.”

Which might be why “Visions” is decidedly not part of Star Wars canon. Setting “Visions” amid other places and times is tough enough without persnickety fans sniping about when and where all this is supposedly taking place.

“Going off-canon was really a way to allow the creators to explore new worlds and expand the possibilities in ways that are just unexpected and refreshing,” said the chief executive of Qubic, Justin Leach.

In addition to working out how “Visions” would fit into the Star Wars franchise, Lucasfilm had to deal with a number of artistic and logistical issues. Anime is a multibillion dollar industry (five of the Top 10 highest grossing films in Japan have been anime features), and studios throughout the country are notoriously overworked. There were geographical and language barriers, too.

“One of the most challenging parts was creating visuals that combined both the fairy tale-style lessons of Star Wars with the advanced technology found in this universe,” said Eunyoung Choi, the director of “Akakiri.” “Finding that perfect mix of these parts, so that neither overwhelmed the other, was particularly important.”

And then Covid-19 struck. Hoped-for meetings in Tokyo and Northern California were replaced by emails and video calls.

As work on the project began, the creators discovered lovers of Star Wars within the anime houses, and vice versa. The anime studios included hard-core fans who had been inspired by the franchise since their high school days. And many of the Lucasfilm creators were longtime anime fans and in awe of the works of the Japanese creators.

“When we had a zoom call with Takashi-san, he had shelves and shelves of Star Wars toys behind him,” said Josh Rimes, Lucasfilm’s director of animation development, referring to Takashi Okazaki, a character designer at Kamikaze Douga. “He was a huge R2-D2 fanboy and had a really rare toy from a Pepsi promotion in the ’80s.”

The creators had questions about everything from which starship or landspeeder was right for each setting to the proper color of a Padawan’s robes. Qubic’s head of production, Kanako Shirasaki, ended up facilitating many of these questions as a go-between — including several about the Force.

“If you’ve seen the movies, you kind of have an idea of what it is,” she said. “But it’s quite difficult to explain, and everyone has their own different interpretations on it. So there was some very interesting back and forth.”

The anime studios went all in, employing many of Japan’s top voice actors (Masako Nozawa, Takaya Hashi) and creating rich musical scores to accompany the on-screen action. Lucasfilm opened up its vast vault of lightsaber whooshes and starship engine hums at Skywalker Sound, and oversaw the dubs and voice casting of the English version, which includes performances by Alison Brie, Kimiko Glenn, Henry Golding and George Takei, as well as a spirited tune sung by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Eagle-eyed fans of Star Wars, Kurosawa and Japanese pop culture will spy Easter eggs galore. In “The Duel” alone, there’s a poster for “A New Hope” in the center of town and a clever nod to Daigoro, the precocious child warrior in Japan’s long-running manga and movie epic “Lone Wolf and Cub.”

For “The Ninth Jedi,” Lucasfilm combined two stories from Kamiyama, its director, into one. The first involved a turbulent period after the Jedis have lost their masters and there are no lightsabers to be had. The other focused on a lightsabersmith — think a master crafter of samurai swords, but working with super powerful kyber crystals — and his daughter, who is tasked with bringing the weapons to the would-be Jedi.

With all of the shorts, once you strip away the speeders and starships, the stories come down to the very human relationships between brothers and sisters, teachers and students, warriors and, yes, droids.

“I think the essence of a Star Wars story is not that far off from the essence of an anime story,” said Lopez. “Anime lets you go further out there, but the reason you care about it is because you care about that character in their journey.”

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