Last year’s animated anthology series Star Wars: Visions was very warmly received by fans who saw it as a breath of fresh air into the franchise which is approaching half a century in age.
The series was composed of 9 episodes handled by 7 different Japanese animation studios. Each had its own unique story to tell in vastly different styles of animation. These shorts were also given maximum creative freedom as they were not bound to the canon events of the Star Wars universe, meaning that anything could happen… even a musical sequence on Tatooine!
The series was praised for its originality. But the origins of the animated series go back further than you could possibly imagine. In fact, the key concepts that defined the series could be seen more than 15 years before its production.
Although this may seem far-fetched, Visions was not the first of its kind. Around 2005 during the production of Revenge of the Sith, several concept artists who worked on Episode III came together to create something more.
Fuelled by the creativity surrounding the final entry of the prequel trilogy, these artists envisioned a series unlike any previous graphic novel in the Star Wars universe. An anthology series of 11 short stories, each in the artist’s own style.
Well, it should. This series, released in March 2005, ended up with the name Star Wars: Visionaries. It has almost the same name, same concept and same level of freedom of expression as the animated anthology that would be released more than a decade and a half later.
To be clear, the two products in question here are very different, but the eerie similarity means comparisons must be made.
Both being anthology series with a host of different writers means that story to story there are wildly different approaches to the Star Wars universe. Visions proved this to be true in an animated sense, but years earlier Visionaries took it one step further. Most of the concept artists responsible for the illustrations were also the writers for their particular projects, resulting in some truly unique and strange tales that are unlikely to be seen anywhere else in the galaxy far, far away.
While word on any future additions to Visions remains unknown, it’s possible that the popularity of the series could influence the future of the franchise.
The most recent addition, The Book of Boba Fett, made some surprising creative choices with its episode line-up. There was not one but two episodes of the series dedicated to characters other than Boba Fett. Meaning that of the show’s seven episodes, nearly a third of them did not feature the titular character.
This may demonstrate that Star Wars is ready for another kind of anthology series. Perhaps a life action show of individual stories where creators are free to explore the vast galaxy without being bound to storied constrictions. The kind of expressive freedom enjoyed on paper by Visionaries and in animation by Visions could surely be transferred into the realm of live-action.
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