For as hated as The Last Jedi is, it irrefutably understood Star Wars. Its most striking moment: Rey Nobody. You don't have to be born into a long lineage of Jedi or Sith; anyone can wield The Force, anyone can be the protagonist. It’s the same reason why KOTOR is so beloved. With this in mind, Lucasfilm's anime anthology Star Wars: Visions is literally peak Star Wars.
Why Star Wars: Visions is so great
Nine different stories, nine different art styles, nine different studios. Visions is a spectacle the likes of which Star Wars has never seen. After the shockingly terrible Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm has released beloved TV series: The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch. However, Visions is already at the top of the pack.
Distanced from canon and Star Wars’ typical over-reliance on family trees, Visions allows the wonder and intrigue of the sci-fi classic run wild. One story sees a multi-species rock band play for their lives at Jabba’s Palace. Another episode sees two twins battle in a spectacular lightsaber duel between hope and despair.
Amid all of these stories, two stand out as fantastic Star Wars stories. Coincidentally, these two stories are back-to-back in Visions’ episode list: The Village Bride and The Ninth Jedi. Not only are both packed with glorious lightsaber action, but their stories are Star Wars at its absolute best.
The Village Bride
Episode 4: The Village Bride is a classic Star Wars story. Just like most stories in the series, it sees a small band of heroes fight against an oppressive force. In The Village Bride, we follow two intertwined protagonists: the fallen Jedi F and the village leader Hasu.
The episode’s introduction explores the planet of Kelia, a terribly exploited world that's strong in The Force. The locals, who are all seemingly in tune with The Force, call the mysterious power Magina. Keelia is so rich in Magina that those who tap into it can see the planet’s memories.
The episode’s peaceful introduction doesn't last long. A group of pirates equipped with repaired Separatist droids come to take away the Village leader. However, F comes out of hiding, cutting off her padawan braids and protects the Village as a Jedi should.
It’s a very simple story — all of Visions’ stories are — but it feels like unfiltered Star Wars. Much like Luke Skywalker, F is forced into a battle she doesn't completely understand. Nevertheless, she acts for the sake of the people, actually saving individuals out of the kindness of her heart.
The Ninth Jedi
Out of all nine episodes in Star Wars: Visions, The Ninth Jedi stands atop them all as truly understanding what Star Wars is. Set “many generations” after the fall of the Jedi, sabersmith Lah Zhima reforges a set of lightsabers for a group of would-be Jedi.
The Ninth Jedi opens as a mystery. As a group gathers to await their lightsabers, we're not sure who is really Jedi among them. Part-way through we’re introduced to Lah Zhima and his daughter, Kara. As a self-taught force user, she longs to one day wield a lightsaber like the Jedi of legend.
Lah Zhima reveals that his lightsabers have been tampered. The kyber crystals inside are more attuned to its wielder, changing colour and length depending on their will and strength. When Kara ignites a saber, its colour is dull but lengthy.
What follows is a journey for Kara to prove herself, battling against a deep anti-Jedi conspiracy. Much like the best parts of The Last Jedi, it's a story that proves anyone can be a Jedi if they're good-willed and determined. While Skywalkers and Palpitatines have fallen, the individuals like Kara are where hope flourishes. During stories like this, it makes me wish Visions was canon.
Should I watch Star Wars: Visions?
Outside of its fantastic artwork, Visions has some of the best stories Star Wars has had in years. Not everything is as powerful as the aforementioned episodes, but they're all entertaining. There are beautiful, moving moments alongside bat-sh*t fight scenes in episodes such as The Duel.
After Rise of Skywalker sucked the hope out of Star Wars’ future, Visions injects the series with a fresh batch of it. I actively want to see more of these characters. I want to see Kara grow into a full-fledged Jedi. A series following F’s journey to fight for peace while avoiding the empire could be amazing.
Visions explores the Star Wars universe in new ways instead of rehashing stuff we've already seen before. Unlike other shows that continually rehash with returning characters, Visions makes the universe seem as massive as it should. Star Wars is no longer a massive universe with a collection of established heroes and villains, it’s expansive and unique again.