‘Star Wars: Visions’ Executive Producers on Expanding the Galaxy Through a Global Lens

Star Wars is for everyone. And Star Wars: Visions Vol. 2 encapsulates that sentiment as the animated anthology moves away from its anime beginnings and towards a destination where studios from around the world can share their love of the galaxy far, far away while honoring their culture.

We had a chance to talk to James Waugh (Executive Producer), Jacqui Lopez (Executive Producer), and Josh Rimes (Executive Producer) about what makes this volume so special, the possibilities of revisiting some shorts, and those Easter Eggs.

Anni in a scene from the “STAR WARS: VISIONS, Volume 2” short by Aardman, “I AM YOUR MOTHER”, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Star Wars: Visions: Vol. 1 saw Lucasfilm collaborating with seven Japanese animation studios — Kamikaze Douga, Studio Colorido, Geno Studio, Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Production I.G, and Science SARU — to tell various original stories set in, or inspired by the Star Wars universe. With Star Wars: Visions: Vol. 2 shifting away from that formula, Waugh talked about already knowing which studios they wanted to collaborate with going into the newest anthology.

“I mean, the funny thing is that we spend our days creating stories and creating content. But we’re also rabid as consumers of this stuff. We love this medium. We love great storytelling,” Waugh said. “These weren’t unfamiliar studios to us, we were impressed by so many of them. So we knew who would be our dream list and who like to work with.”

Because these shorts are original stories inspired by Star Wars, they aren’t burdened with connecting with any of the films or shows. As such, they have the freedom to tell their stories. What’s more, Vol. 2 allows us to see how these global animation studios view Star Wars.

“We just go to them and telling them about visions, and what we’d like to say like, Hey, we’re big fans, we’re, we’d love to see a Star Wars story from you, if you’re interested through your unique cultural perspective. And then it’s up to them to like, start the conversation, pitch some ideas to us show some early art. And that’s that’s really how it goes,” Rimes said. “We help curate across all the studios. Some pitch, maybe one or two. Others pitch a lot. Some have directors and artists in the house. So that’s really the process is that it comes directly from the studios and the filmmakers.”

Rimes added they would support these studios along the way, giving them the help they need to acquire key sound effects and other assets. But these shorts were mostly driven by their unique take on Star Wars.

“We have to curate this anthology because there’s such a glut or riches that we can’t take everything, we have to be mindful of the other stories in play,” Waugh chimed. “We wanted to make sure that we featured at least a studio from every continent as much as possible. We wanted to really have this be a global tour. So we had that contingency. Then we had different animation styles. Then it’s what’s the story and are there too many stories that feel familiar? And then it’s just finding the right story. Which one of these creatives that are pitching to us has something they want to say that is going to resonate?”

So many of these shorts have the potential to be their own series, which makes it all the more difficult to know that they have open-ended conclusions. And while everyone involved would love to see more, the possibility of seeing any of these characters are small.

Lola in a scene from the “STAR WARS: VISIONS, Volume 2” short by El Guiri, “SITH”, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

“I would love to I like to I’d love to revisit a lot of these characters,” Waugh said. “Look, I don’t think there’s anything that we’re revisiting at the moment but but we certainly as a creative team have an appetite to expand these stories. You know, you just never know.”

While it’s unlikely that any of the characters from Vol. 1 or Vol. 2 will reappear in new shorts or a series, Waugh wanted to know that Visions was for the fans and hopes that love continues into the new anthology.

“Just like with volume one, we make this for the audience and the fans. And ultimately, if the fans fall in love with this the way we hope they will anything’s possible,” he said. “Right now, we’re crossing our fingers and toes and hoping this one finds the same kind of audience the first one did.”

With so many shorts readily available on both volumes, one doesn’t know where to begin their watch. And for Waugh, Lopez, and Rimes, picking one episode is almost like picking their favorite child.

“I think it’s great to just sit down and watch them on like a two and a half hour block is awesome. But also if if you’re a super Aardman fan and have to check that one out first,” Rimes said.

“They are all our children,” Lopez chimed.

“I’d love to see what happens to Daal in Cartoon Saloon’s Screecher’s Reach. Story. I’d love to see Nina go off any journey or be an incredible fighter pilot,” Waugh said.

While most of the Star Wars: Visions shorts prides themselves in telling original stories, there are still a select few that bring back some fan-favorite characters. Last season, it was Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt in Tatooine Rhapsody. For this new anthology, we will see Wedge Antilles. However, Rimes doesn’t want animation studios to get to comfortable with using legacy characters and would prefer them to create their own.

“I think, generally, we encourage the studios to invest in new characters to create new stories,” he said. “But you know, if they’re going to create a story within sort of a fighter pilot, background in Aardman’s I am Your Mother, and, and Wedge Antilles is a background character, then that that’s cool because it helps service and bolster any story to become the best pilot. Same goes for volume one for the band star waiver in Tatooine Rhapsody. They’re banned in cantinas throughout tattooing, so like Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt popping up. Makes make sense in that world. So that’s kind of how we look at bringing in as characters.”

All nine Star Wars Visions shorts debut exclusively on Disney+ on May 4 — otherwise known as Star Wars day .