TV Reviews

Star Wars: Visions (Season Two) – TV Review

Some have argued that the Star Wars brand has suffered under the leadership of Disney. This mainly comes from the fact that the old Expanded Universe (which had its own tiered system of canon that varied from project to project and would often be changed or ignored) was swept into a pile and labelled as Legends, and made non-canon.

There’s also a lot of anger at the franchise becoming more diverse, but many of the haters will deny that as a reason. But to claim that Star Wars has suffered under Disney feels very disingenuous. There have been five movies under them, with more to come, several live action TV series with more to come, and several animated series, also with more to come. The brand is still incredibly popular, but it also feels like it’s never quite been as creative either.

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Star Wars: Visions began in 2021 as a series of nine animated shorts, outside of the main canon, where different animation studios could coma along and put their own spin on a galaxy far, far away. The show was incredibly well received, and a second season was soon announced. Whilst the first season played it safe, having all nine of the episodes made by Japanese animation studios, the second season adds a lot more variety into the mix, bringing together animation studios from across the globe to create the most diverse and entertaining season yet.

The first episode of the season is ‘Sith’, and is created by El Guiri Studios, an animation studio based in Madrid. It opens the season with a bang, delivering an animation style more interesting and unique than anything in the first season. At times the episode looks three dimensional, at others it’s like a moving oil painting. It’s hard to pin down exactly the best way to describe it, but watching it feels like you’re discovering a whole new way of animating something.


The story focuses on a woman living on a remote planet with her droid for company. She spends her days trying to embrace the light within her, and visualises the Force as a form of painting, a way of illuminating and colouring the universe around her. Unfortunately, as a former Sith, she’s also running from her old master, who has tracked her down. It’s a pretty simple story, but the way it’s presented makes it a fast paced, action-packed episode that feels perfect for opening the season.

Next up is ‘Screecher’s Reach’ by Cartoon Saloon, an Irish team who have made some of my favourite animated movies in recent years. The story follows a group of kids who live in a workhouse, who dream of a better future. One day they sneak off, stealing some speeders, and decide to head to Screecher’s Reach, a place that’s said to be haunted. One of the girls is determined to reach it, motivated by an unusual necklace that she wears. This is my favourite episode of the season. The animation style is absolutely gorgeous, and suits this story so well. It’s part childhood adventure, part horror, and it features one of the more frightening people created in Star Wars. There are moments where it almost feels like you’re inside someone’s nightmare. The music in this episode is also wonderful, and the ending is one that will stick with you long after it’s done.

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‘In The Stars’ is created by Chilean based studio Punkrobot, and makes use of stop motion animation. It tells the story of two sisters trying to survive on an Imperial occupied world that has been transformed into a barren, toxic waste-filled land thanks to the theft of its resources. Having heard tales of how their mother, a Force user, led a rebellion against the Empire, and died, the younger sister is determined to fight them herself.

The animation in this episode is wonderful to watch, and it takes a while to realise that it’s stop motion rather than CGI animation (the studio has done both styles in the past). It’s the way the characters move, and some of the model sets and backgrounds that eventually give it away, though the animation is produced so fluidly and deftly that it’s easy to believe it’s being created by computers. The episode has a visual style unique to itself, and features some truly memorable character designs.

‘I Am Your Mother’ is a short that British fans will immediately recognise, and get excited about, thanks to the episode being made by British claymation studio Aardman Animations. Seemingly set some time after the original trilogy, it introduces viewers to a young girl named Anni (Charithra Chandran),  attending the Wedge Antilles flying school on the day of the big family flying race. Unfortunately, Anni’s too embarrassed by her mother and their junky old ship to enter the race. But then her mother finds out, and becomes determined to win. This episode is nothing but silly, all ages fun, packed full of cool background characters, nods to every corner of Star Wars, and even contains some Aardman references too.

‘Journey To The Dark Head’ is the one episode this season that feels like it could have fit nicely into the first season thanks to the animation style. Produced by Korean Studio Mir, this episode has a much more anime style and tone to it than the rest of this season. It tells the story of a planet where two giant statues, both connected to the Force but one Dark Side and the other Light Side, help to reveal visions of the future.

With the Jedi fighting, and losing, a war against the Sith, a mission is proposed to travel there and destroy the Dark Side statue to help sway the course of the war. However, a powerful Sith is hunting the Jedi sent there. This episode has some really cool designs, and some moments that really impress, and I wanted to like it more; unfortunately, when compared to every other episode it doesn’t really feel distinct enough to stand out.

French animators Studio La Cachette puts a very French spin on Star Wars, as it takes viewers to a planet under Imperial occupation, where a small resistance group spies on the Empire from inside their night club. The story very much reminds one of the work done by the French Resistance against the Nazis, which is a perfect fit for Star Wars’ story about fighting against fascism. The episode takes a hand drawn approach to the animation, and features big, thick lines and very well done flowing animation style that lends itself incredibly well to the story being told. Despite being the most simple looking of the episodes at first glance, it ends up being one of the best of the season.

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‘The Bandits of Golak’ is the episode that I saw the most buzz around leading up to the release, and after watching it it’s easy to see why. Created by the Indian animation studio 88 Pictures, this story draws a lot off inspiration from Indian culture, and looks absolutely phenomenal because of it. The episode tells the story of a boy and his younger sister, who have been forced to flee their home and head to the settlement of Golak.

Along the journey, the girl uses her Force powers and is seen by a member of the public, who reports her to the Empire. Upon arriving at Golak, they’re approached by an Imperial Inquisitor, but luckily for them a Jedi is hiding at Golak, and comes to their aid. Not only is this a really well executed story, with some fun moments and some great character beats, but it also has some fantastic design elements. The Inquisitor is the best looking one we’ve had yet, with some stand-out visual flair to it. The episode also features some of the best fight choreography in the series.

Taking a leaf out of the first season, ‘The Pit’ is created by the Japanese animation studio D’Art Shtajio, and features a style that will feel familiar to anime fans. It tells the story of a group of Imperial slaves forced to dig a deep pit in order to mine Kyber crystals. After years of digging they hit the bottom, and the Empire no longer needs them, and so they leave them trapped in the bottom of the pit. One of the slaves decides to climb his way out, and heads to the nearby town hoping to get help to save everyone else. This episode has some pretty dark moments, and takes a fairly realistic look at slavery and the abuse that people do to each other. I don’t feel like it’s a coincidence that the slaves in this episode are mostly portrayed as people of colour, and the Imperials are in glimmering white. This episode might make some feel uncomfortable, but it works well.


The final episode is ‘Aau’s Song’, produced by South African studio Triggerfish. This episode is nothing less than adorable. The woolly, felt-like animation style is utterly unique, and is one of the most visually impressive episodes of the season. The story feels like it could easily slip into canon, and does some interesting things with both Kyber and the Force in the way that Aau uses her connection to it. The character designs are not only unique, but very quickly endear you to them to the point where you’d want to give them a big fuzzy hug. This episode feels like it moves the fastest, and it comes to a close all too soon, bringing an amazing episode, and an amazing series to an end.

The first season of Star Wars: Visions was an interesting project, one that offered some fun stories, but stories that never felt like they made much of an impact. There were one or two episodes that were memorable, and that have lived on beyond the show (for example the Ronin episode), but many of them are ones I struggle to remember.

In comparison, the second season feels like a massive increase in quality. The concept of giving different studios the chance to play in this universe really feels like it’s found its feet here, and the stories on offer this season have very quickly become some of the best Star Wars stories I’ve experienced. It won’t be for everyone, and those fans who are so caught up on canon that they don’t let themselves just have fun will surely hate it. But those willing to take the stories on their own merit will absolutely love it.

Star Wars: Visions is now streaming on Disney +.


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