Diehard Star Wars fans know that George Lucas was heavily inspired by the Japanese storytelling of director Akira Kurosawa, especially his film The Hidden Fortress when writing the film that would become A New Hope. Lucasfilm is taking a uniquely deep dive into the Japanese storytelling roots of Star Wars with a new series of anime shorts taking place in the Star Wars universe to Disney+ in September. Star Wars: Visions will be a collection of original short films produced by some of the world’s biggest anime studios, and according to StarWars.com, “Each story promises to be a unique take on the galaxy far, far away, including new interpretations and remixes of Star Wars mythology.”
One story in particular, called The Duel, will be further explored beyond the short in a novel by Emma Mieko Candon. Ronin will tell the story of a nameless former Sith, reminiscent of a Japanese wandering samurai, who travels the galaxy, wielding his red lightsaber.
As the official synopsis describes him, “Far on the edge of the Outer Rim, one former Sith wanders, accompanied only by a faithful droid and the ghost of a less-civilized age. He carries a lightsaber, but claims lineage to no Jedi clan, and pledges allegiance to no lord.”
While it’s not clear if this novel or the Visions shorts will be considered canon, Ronin will dig into a an interesting time in the Star Wars timeline, an exploration of the war between Jedi and Sith, “with an alternate history pulled from Japanese lore.”
Star Wars: Ronin: A Visions Novel cover and more details
In approaching the story, Candon cites the influences of “jidaigeki [period dramas], Japanese monsters and folklore, and war trauma.” They continued by telling StarWars.com that “jidaigeki love samurai as protagonists because they’re suspicious of samurai as a class, and our Ronin falls right into that trope. I had to ask how this man rejected (or was rejected by) his social role, and why he continues to cleave to it. Why does he still carry that tell-tale red blade? And why does he hunt his own?”
Candon also said that writing this novel was an opportunity to explore something very important to them. “A Star Wars movie made me ‘get’ representation, and I’ve tried to honor that feeling in this book for my own sake and for other people,” they said.
Ronin promises to be a unique take on a Star Wars story from a previously little represented perspective. And for more, keep up with the Books category on Dork Side of the Force.