Another Helping Of Great Original Stories | “Star Wars: Visions” Season 2 (2023) Disney Plus Series Review

With the resounding success of “Star Wars: Visions” Season 1, Disney has officially released another helping of it. This time, Western studios are in the spotlight.

Below are mini-reviews of each episode of this season.


“Star Wars: Visions” Season 2: Episode 1 “Sith” Review #StarWarsVisionsS2E1 #elguiristudios

♬ Chill Lo-fi hip hop(1031975) – Korepoi

Episode 1: Sith

This episode takes place presumably prior to the rule of two, where Lola (Úrsula Corberó) a former Sith apprentice, has isolated herself on a remote world covered in snow. When a droid crash lands on the planet, she investigates, only to be confronted by her former master (Luis Tosar).

Animated by El Guiri, this short has an animation style very similar to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Paint and color play an important role in the visualization of this episode, providing bright, deep hues that make this short visually stunning.

One of the things I like the most about this short is its thesis that the dark and light side of the force are intertwined, which is on display prominently in Lola’s lightsaber, which is double-bladed, with one being the typical crimson of the Sith and the other being yellow, which is often used by Jedi Sentinels and temple guards.

Its plot is really simple, and its Sith are generic cartoon villains. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing a whole show dedicated to Lola and her journey balancing both sides of the force.

I give it an 8/10.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Star Wars: Visions” Season 2: Episode 2 “Screecher’s Reach” Review. #StarWarsVisionsS2E2 #ScreechersReach #CartoonSaloon #Daal #baython

♬ Chill Lo-fi hip hop(1031975) – Korepoi

Episode 2: Screecher’s Reach

This short focuses on a group of children who are tired of their life as laborers, intent on stealing land speeders to escape. The issue is that they have to go through Screecher’s Reach, which is an ominous cavern rumored to be occupied by a ghost.

They are made up of Daal (Eva Whittaker), a young girl who wants to leave their planet the most; Baython (Alex Connolly), the leader and big brother figure of the group; and Quinn (Noah Rafferty) and Keena (Molly McCann), the younger members of the group.

The ghost turns out to be a Sith, and when the children are separated during a cave-in, Daal faces her alone. Unknown to the other children, Daal has secretly made a deal with a being that looks like a Sith, with killing the “ghost” being the first thing she needs to do in order to start a new life.

I like how morally ambiguous this short is. Daal is clearly a good kid, but she’s being manipulated by someone she knows little to nothing about. She clearly doesn’t want to kill the “ghost” and eventually does so only out of self defense.

The animation by Cartoon Saloon is also charming and has grown on me. It reminds me a lot of Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Clone Wars” series, albeit a bit cleaner.

I would love to see a full series with these characters. It would be interesting to see Baython and Daal meet years later on opposite sides — there’s a lot of potential for some really good drama here.

I give this an 8/10.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Episode 3: In the Stars

Imperials ruin everything. In this short, two sisters on an alien world must fight to steal the planet’s only noncontaminated water source, which is controlled by the Empire. Basically, they set up a very generically-evil factory that drains all the planet’s resources.

Koten (Valentina Muhr), the older sister, gets just enough water to survive, but Tichina (Julia Oviedo), the younger sister, wants to fight to win. Their mother and many others previously perished fighting the Empire.

Animated by Punkrobot, this short takes heavy inspiration from claymation and stop motion films. At times, it’s charming, but the short also looks really ugly at several points. A lot of time is dedicated to fleshing out Koten and Tichina’s chemistry, but it comes at the expense of the episode’s pacing. In its final five minutes, it feels like the filmmakers knew they had to wrap things up quickly, and as a result, its ending feels rushed and half finished.

I give this a 7/10.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Episode 4: I Am Your Mother

There’s not much to this episode. Taking place in the New Republic era, this short tells the story of Anni Kalfus (Charithra Chandran), a Twi’lek girl who is embarrassed by her mother Kalina (Maxine Peake). Annie is enrolled in the Flight Academy and has been hiding the family race from her mother, who eventually finds out and insists they compete.

This episode is animated by Aardman of “Wallace and Gromit” fame, and while they are known for quality features, this episode just didn’t do it for me. It feels like a lesser version of the Riot Racing episode of “The Bad Batch,” and I also think that Aardman’s style just doesn’t work for “Star Wars.”

With that being said, this episode isn’t terrible; it’s just not for me. This series is all about experimentation; they can’t all be winners.

I give this a 6/10.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

“Star Wars: Visions” Season 2: Episode 5 “Journey to the Dark Head” Review #StarWarsVisionsSeason2Episode5 #JourneytotheDarkHead #StudioMir #Ara #Toul #Birchan

♬ Chill Lo-fi hip hop(1031975) – Korepoi

Episode 5: Journey to the Dark Head

This episode is heavily inspired by anima and for that reason it will instantly become many viewer’s favorite of this season. Studio Mir, which has animated “DOTA: Dragon’s Blood,” “The Legend of Korra,” and “The Boondocks” was enlisted to bring this story to life.

This has one of the strongest stories of any of the shorts this season. We’re introduced to this world through Ara (Ashley Park), a former recordkeeper on a planet with statues that have the light and dark side of the force flow through them. She believes that by destroying the statue with the most negative energy, it could shift the tide in the war between Jedi and Sith. The Jedi Council agree and assign Toul (Eugene Lee Yang) to accompany her.

Years ago, Toul’s master was slain by the Sith Lord Bichan (Daniel Dae Kim) who spared his life when he saw Toul’s enraged response. Because nothing can be a coincidence in these short, Bichan attacks them on their way to blow up the “dark head” statue. All the while, Bichan tries to seduce Toul to the dark side.

This short has the best fight of the season. The duel between Bichan and Toul is so emotionally-charged and well choreographed that it almost makes up for areas where the animation falls flat. Some moments look gorgeous; others look like cheap episodes of “Gundam,” especially whenever 3D computer-generated backgrounds or objects come into play.

Unfortunately, it is taken down a notch by terrible English dubbing — it really distracts from the story its trying to tell. At times, bad delivery decompresses what would otherwise be well-earned emotional high points.

However, I would still be completely down to watching an entire series with these characters — rough spots and all.

I give this a 7/10.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Episode 6: The Spy Dancer

A lot of these shorts are heavily-reliant on visual storytelling, as there is admittingly not a lot you can pack into 15 minutes in terms of a complex story. “The Spy Dancer,” animated by Studio La Cachette has gorgeous visuals that it uses to tell a relatively simple but riveting story.

Set in the Empire era, we see stormtroopers file into a high-end club where dancer Loi’e (Camille Cottin) is the main attraction. Using futuristic ribbons that swirl all about, Loi’e is graceful and majestic and Studio La Cachette uses the liberties of animation to its fullest extent to exaggerate her spectacle.

But not all is as it seems. Throughout her performance, Loi’e is planting trackers to the stormtroopers in order to give the rebellion intel on their whereabouts. All goes as planned, until she thinks she sees the imperial who took her child years ago, only to realize that said imperial was her child, all grown up.

This conflict has layers to it that the other shorts lack. Loi’e’s quest of simple revenge turns into a harrowing struggle to survive against her son, whom she doesn’t want to hurt and who rejects her as his mother; he believes his abductor is his father, and there might be some truth in that.

I really loved how Loi’e doesn’t completely win over her son in this short, but she does plant seeds of doubt in his mind, as his “father’s” façade begins to crumble.

This absolutely should be a feature film. Its gorgeous presentation and effective, efficient storytelling is worthy of accolades.

I give it a 9/10

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Episode 7: The Bandits of Golak

Force-sensitive children getting into trouble — that has become a running theme in these shorts.

This short tells the story of Rani (Sonal Kaushal), a force-sensitive child, and her older brother, Charuk (Suraj Sharma). Set in the time of the Empire, they are headed to a place called Golak for refuge. However, on the train there, Rani draws attention the them and almost gets them killed.

Inspired by Bollywood, I appreciate what this film is trying to do, but its vision just doesn’t come together. The CGI looks incredibly ugly and its action is terrible, which is an issue because it’s arguably the main focus of the film. Charuk and Rani feel incredibly underdeveloped to the point where they feel like caricatures.

We do have a Jedi fight an Inquisitor, who is cartoonishly evil. And while I liked moments of it, I admit it’s overall pretty flat and underwhelming.

I give this a 6/10.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Episode 8: The Pit

This short has perhaps the most simple premise of this season. It sees a bunch of prisoners dig the titular pit looking for kyber crystals for the Empire. After its completion, they are left in the pit and must escape.

One prisoner named Crux (Daveed Diggs) manages to climb his way out in a scene reminiscent of “The Dark Knight Rises,” but is captured upon his arrival to a nearby city. Without much hope, the remaining prisoners must think of something before they perish.

The animation style in this short is fine, but is nothing special. It doesn’t distract from or enhance the story. With that being said, there’s also not a lot of missteps — it tells a simple story and does it well.

I give this a 7.5/10.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Episode 9: Aau’s Song

On the world of Korba, kyber crystals long corrupted by the Sith are mined and sold to the Jedi, who can purify them after a painstakingly long process. Here, we meet Abat (Tumisho Masha), a miner, and his daughter, Aau (Mpilo Jantjie), who is force sensitive and has a powerful voice that causes the crystals to become volatile.

This is another episode that heavily relies on visual storytelling. Its animation style is also perhaps the best of this season, as it most closely resembles live action, with its characters looking very similar to stuffed animals. On paper, that doesn’t sound like it would work, but Triggerfish, who made this short, pulled it off beautifully.

I also really liked Aau’s story, which is a typical one about finding yourself done effectively. This is another short that should be a feature film.

I give it a 9/10.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Season verdict

Overall, this was another round of great storytelling told through varied styles of animation. A few I would like to see expanded into their own shows or feature films, some I think worked perfectly the way they are and some I didn’t care for. That’s pretty much par for the course for this kind of anthology series.

I hope we get another season of this and that Disney will seriously think about considering some of these shorts as proof of concept for longer works. “Star Wars” is such a large franchise; if something fresh emerges from this series, I see no reason to not develop it further.

“Star Wars: Visions” Season 2 gets an 8/10

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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