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How ‘Star Wars: Visions’ Volume 2 Celebrates New Worlds and Unique Cultures

For executive producers James Waugh, Jacqui Lopez, and Josh Rimes, nine original shorts from a roster of top animation studios - created with 2D, 3DCG, stop-motion, and different fusion techniques - embrace global perspectives not always explored in Western narratives; new season debuts May 4 on Disney+.

In 2021, Lucasfilm opened up the Star Wars universe to seven Japanese animation studios, giving masterful creators the chance to develop brand-new, never-before-told Star Wars stories that would celebrate 2D anime art, as well as Japanese culture. 

Now, for Star Wars: Visions Volume 2, releasing on Disney+ Thursday, May 4, a new group of innovative animators and storytellers has been given the same opportunity, but on a global scale. 

“In Volume 1, we wanted to lean into more traditional anime techniques, and I think that was the beauty of it,” says James Waugh, executive producer of Visions alongside Jacqui Lopez and Josh Rimes. “But as fans of the broader marketplace, we wanted to showcase what's out there and wanted to lean into those different cultural perspectives. What is the cultural context of someone growing up in India? How does that change how they see Star Wars? You get different storytelling than you would from a Western storyteller. We started to see that come out during Volume 1. But with Volume 2, we wanted to explore the entire community.”

He adds, “And from stop-motion to 2D and fusions of the two, it's really just as much a story of that.”

Nine studios from around the world each contributed a short for the Emmy Award-nominated anthology series’ second volume. The films – created in 2D, 3DCG, stop-motion animation, as well as hybrid combinations of each technique - were produced by a roster of top international animation studios: El Guiri (Spain), Cartoon Saloon (Ireland), Punkrobot (Chile), Aardman (United Kingdom), Studio Mir (South Korea) Studio La Cachette (France), 88 Pictures (India), D'art Shtajio (Japan), and Triggerfish (South Africa). D’Art Shtajio’s short was created in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd. (United States).

Check out a bit of their handiwork:

“To me, this volume is a story of different cultures, a global marketplace, animation differences across the globe, and a celebration of Star Wars,” notes Waugh.

Hyper-realistic Sith battles, storybook-like illustrations of vast planetary landscapes, explosive anime saber fights, gritty new CG creatures, and more await Visions viewers in the soon-to-release shorts, as well as an education on the country each story hails from. 

Noting that the creators “all took really interesting risks,” Rimes shares, “Triggerfish from South Africa, for example, created this almost Miyazaki-esque world, but in CGI. It feels very handmade, almost stop-motion, and they use this felt texture for this cute alien race. The story is about a little girl trying to tell her father that she can sing, even though it has an adverse effect on the environment around them. It’s about this alien using her voice as a metaphor for using The Force. And one of the directors, Nadia Darries, has a singing background so she did some of the singing and voice work. It's not exactly what you'd immediately expect when you think of Star Wars…”

Lopez interjects, “But you go along with it, the colors and the food and the clothing. You never question it. At least, we never did, because it just fit in the Star Wars story so beautifully and it was so great to see how proud the creators were to have their culture represented in a Star Wars story. It was very joyful for them, as it was for us.”

While some cultures and values are represented more subtly and metaphorically, others are depicted more boldly, such as in the episode “In the Stars” from Chile’s Punkrobot.

“It feels so of its culture, not only from the story of colonialism and the eradication of the Satnam peoples as an influence on it, but Punkrobot literally went into Patagonia and filmed tons of plants of the regions they lived in, and that ended up influencing some of the design work,” explains Waugh.” So, it feels very of its place, but you could say that about all the episodes, really. 88 Pictures’ “The Bandits of Golak” gives a colorful window into Indian culture, as well.”

Of the many stories, another Waugh and his fellow producers are particularly excited about is Aardman’s stop-motion episode “I Am Your Mother.” Though it seems like a departure from the typical medium of Star Wars’ visual storytelling, there’s nostalgia in its roots. 

“It is [a departure] from an animation craft perspective, having a whole Star Wars story done in stop-motion, but stop-motion is so inherent in Star Wars VFX,” says Waugh. “Phil Tippett’s type of handcrafted storytelling and handcrafted effect on everything, from A New Hope and on, has always been part of the Star Wars language. So, it's actually interesting seeing it come together because it sure is very stylized, very Aardman, but it doesn't feel too far removed from Star Wars techniques at all. It's kind of rooted in similar reference points.”

Aardman is known for its classic Claymation films like Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, and Wallace & Gromit. According to Lopez, a collaboration between Lucasfilm and Aardman has been a long-time dream come true. 

“We've been fans of Aardman forever,” she shares. “I remember seeing Creature Comforts ages ago and just thinking, ‘What is this?’ [Aardman’s] very humorous and irreverent, but also intent on thinking, ‘How can this fit in Star Wars?’ What I think is great about the combination of the two is that you get the Aardman humor, the cute puppets, and the funny mouths, but you will also get a heartfelt, true, hopeful Star Wars story. I think we brought the best of both together. We're so happy about the way that came out.”

The three executive producers all agree that each Volume 2 short is unique and special in its own, different way. But the commonality they share is their full embrace of the Star Wars universe to tell a story that speaks to each studio’s long-standing audiences and fans. 

Star Wars, and Visions in particular, gives these folks and these filmmakers license to really take a swing and tell the story of their culture,” says Rimes. “The diversity of mythmaking across the globe really helped add in the different storytelling textures, which helped elevate the actual mediums used for animation as well.”

And in a fantastical universe that draws on such sensitive, real-world themes - like racism, classism, slavery, corrupt leadership, dictatorships, democracies, poverty, and excessive wealth - there seems to be no better sandbox in which to invite so many different storytellers to play. 

“There's such amazing work happening today in the animation industry - different forms, new styles of animation, new fusions, and technologies - it's really impressive,” says Waugh. “Some of that could be a byproduct of streaming, some of that is just a byproduct of new technologies. But artists are able to do so much now. As fans, we were watching all of this and taking it all in.”

Victoria Davis's picture

Victoria Davis is a full-time, freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She's reported on numerous stories from activist news to entertainment. Find more about her work at