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Star Wars: Visions - What We Know So Far

The galaxy far, far away is no stranger to memorable animated television. Fans may be surprised to learn that the first "Star Wars" animated series, "Star Wars: Droids," premiered back in 1985. Later, the prequel trilogy-era animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and original trilogy prequel series "Star Wars: Rebels" have become beloved additions to the franchise canon. More recently, their success prompted Disney+ to debut a "Clone Wars" spinoff called "Star Wars: The Bad Batch." But "Star Wars" has never taken on the iconic Japanese style of anime until now, with the upcoming "Star Wars: Visions."

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy first announced the new show during a Disney investors call back in December 2020, alongside announcements like the reveal of an Ahsoka Tano spinoff series and a Rogue Squadron movie from "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins.

Anime is a beloved and distinct form of animation, which left many "Star Wars" fans excited to see the iconic sci-fi property in a brand new way. Here's what we know about "Star Wars: Visions" so far.

When is the release date of Star Wars: Visions?

So far, an exact premiere date for "Star Wars: Visions" hasn't been revealed yet. All we know for sure is that the show is expected to debut on Disney+ at some point in 2021.

"Star Wars" confirmed that the anthology series will feature the work of several leading Japanese anime studios, but the exact  studios working on "Visions" haven't been revealed just yet. However, a tie-in novel could provide clues about when fans can expect to see it.

In March 2021, Del Rey Books announced that author Emma Mieko Canon is writing a book titled "Ronin," which is directly inspired by one of the animated shorts in "Star Wars: Visions." The book will be released on October 12, 2021, suggesting that the show it's based on will premiere some time before October. After all, how else would the novel's connection to "Visions" make sense?

Who is in the cast of Star Wars: Visions?

An exact cast for "Star Wars: Visions" hasn't been announced yet. Because the series will consist of 10 animated, standalone short films, the possibilities for what it can explore are truly endless. It sounds like "Star Wars: Visions" will introduce new stories that take place within the larger "Star Wars" universe, but who's to say iconic characters from the franchise won't make an appearance? Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, has built an impressive voice-acting career over the years, so don't count him out in a cameo role. And of course, the casts of animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" are entirely populated by talented voice actors who may be open to reprising their roles.

Or perhaps, because "Star Wars: Visions" is the first "Star Wars" anime series, the show will feature both Japanese and English versions. In that case, fans could be introduced to the talents of many Japanese actors.

What is the plot of Star Wars: Visions?

According the show's official synopsis, "'Star Wars: Visions' will be a series of animated short films celebrating 'Star Wars' through the lens of the world's best anime creators. The anthology collection will bring ten fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to 'Star Wars.'"

As previously mentioned, it seems like each installment will tell a unique, contained story within the larger "Star Wars" universe, which will allow each episode to have its own individual characters and arcs, developed by the various Japanese anime studios working with Lucasfilm. 

So far, all we know is that one episode will heavily feature a character or characters associated with the term "Ronin." Interestingly enough, this term has been used in "Star Wars" mythology before. In the book "Aliens of the Galaxy," an alien "Melitto" character named Sarco Plank is a ronin, aka a bounty hunter and tomb raiding outcast. In real-life Japanese history, ronin were Samurai warriors who primarily served high-status lords in the 16th century.

It seems like a samurai-inspired story is in the cards for "Star Wars: Visions," which will arrive on Disney+ later this year.