Star Wars Visions remembered: Tatooine Rhapsody

Tatooine Rhapsody. Image courtesy
Tatooine Rhapsody. Image courtesy /

With season two of Star Wars: Visions coming in 2023, I wanted to look back at each short from season one and celebrate why they’re great. This is Visions Remembered.

Look, I want to try and talk about all of the Star Wars: Visions shorts as equals and not give some special treatment over others. Of course, I have my favorites and least favorites, but this series on Dork Side of the Force is about pointing out the good in each of them.

But Tatooine Rhapsody is my favorite! I know I have to try and be unbiased when writing these editorials, but Tatooine Rhapsody is my precious child and doesn’t deserve all the hate it gets, and everyone is just mean because this is easily the most Star Wars short out of the entire bunch and it is my sweet baby, OKAY!?

Though, I do get why this might have been jarring for some fans as the second entry in Visions. Coming off The Duel which is very much an art piece, Tatooine Rhapsody is a different kind of art. Chibi, sometimes known as S.D. or Super Deformation, is an art style that came out of Japan, specifically in anime and manga. It is part of their culture and is so big that its influences have come into Western media with shows like Teen Titans, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and others. But I do understand coming off The Duel that some people could see Tatooine Rhapsody as somehow lesser in comparison, not knowing the style’s cultural importance to Japan. I never had a problem with it, because I grew up watching both anime and Western shows that used this style.

I adore the story of Tatooine Rhapsody, this time brought to us by Studio Colorido. Jay is such an underrated and fantastic Jedi character. He shares a similar story to other Jedi of his era like Kanan or Ahsoka as well as F later on in The Village Bride. All are survivors of Order 66, but Jay finds probably the most unique way to move on from the trauma of it by joining a band. But what I love about him is he is still a Jedi at heart. When faced with adversity and the problem of saving Gee from Jabba, he finds a very Jedi way to solve the problem. His lightsaber is a weapon, but he uses this weapon in a peaceful way to make it a microphone. His power isn’t storming in there and holding Jabba at lightsaber point. It’s using his talents and abilities as well as the trust in his found family being his band and knowing their strengths to outsmart Jabba. In the end, they save Gee and keep on living their dream. We’ve seen this kind of story in Star Wars time and again, but it’s never been handled in such a unique way.

Star Waver is awesome. I love they’re all voiced by Star Wars veterans Bobby Moynihan, Shelby Young, and Marc Thompson. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also gets to return to Star Wars voicing Jay. He was previously uncredited in The Last Jedi, and here, he gets to play his biggest role yet in the galaxy. All of Star Waver’s designs are fantastic, especially Lan. I hope they make his species canonical at some point because he’s so visually pleasing to look at with his unique design. I adore Kurti, my guitar-shredding droid. Gee being an alternative, counter-culture Hutt is incredibly creative. Everything about this group screams that it’s a breath of fresh air for the franchise.

Tatooine Rhapsody is also the most unique of the shorts too for something we’re used to as fans. It’s the only episode that plays heavily with canon characters. None of the other Visions episodes do this, and Tatooine Rhapsody gives us movie locations, Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna, and Boba Fett voiced by Temuera Morrison. All are very cute with their chibi designs, but the stakes are never lost as Boba is just as threatening to our musical group. It’s a risk to use canon characters as fans are very protective of these properties. Tatooine Rhapsody is the only short that took this chance. Whether or not it worked for you is up to you, but I will always reward something for taking a chance like this. Star Wars only grows when it takes risks.

I do have to address the bias in the room. The reason I love Tatooine Rhapsody as much as I do is that it has so many things that I personally have wanted in Star Wars for a long time. I always want more stories of artists in Star Wars. Rebels never hit that itch for me with Sabine because they so rarely focused on her artwork. I always thought it would be interesting to have a character that was an A-list actor or singer in the Republic era find themselves oppressed under the Empire. Would they be a spy like Josephine Baker? Would they cozy up to the Empire for comfort and to not lose their fame? These are interesting story ideas to me. While Tatooine Rhapsody was never exactly this kind of story, it does have notes of it like with Jay hiding in plain sight as a Jedi musician. It also hits those High Republic ideas too like when a Jedi Wayseeker became a pop star on Naboo, a story I need to know so much more about.

I also love the music. It lives rent-free on all of my playlists. Granted, I get that this style isn’t for everyone. I was a 2000’s kid and grew up with bands like Sum 41, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and My Chemical Romance forming my young life as pop punk exploded onto the scene. Tatooine Rhapsody gave me a nostalgia factor too. If this style of music isn’t your jam, I totally understand if it makes the episode fall apart for you.

Though, I always want more musical genres in this franchise outside of the cantina Jizz bands (look, “Jizz” is the canonical term. Blame George Lucas for being a weirdo on that one). Tatooine Rhapsody gave me something different with music which is always great in my book. If I had any gripes, it’s that “Galactic Dreamer” is only in Japanese on Spotify. I want the dubbed version too!

The thing I love most about Tatooine Rhapsody is that it’s fun. I know that seems like such a simple reason, but it’s true. Star Wars is full of heartbreak. Shows like Andor can be heavy. Part of the reason I’ve fallen off of the High Republic is that all my favorite characters died, and I’m hesitant to get attached to anyone in Phase II. The franchise can get really dark at times. It has “Wars” in its name. This is why I love shows in Star Wars that are simply fun and wholesome. Things like Tatooine Rhapsody are few and far in between. I remember smiling the entire time I was watching it for the first time because I had a blast with how much fun it was. Things like this should be cherished because they are so rare in Star Wars. Let Star Wars be fun! Never underestimate the power of that fun. It’s just as important as all the heavy drama. Fun is levity. It’s joy. It’s the very hope that Star Wars is built on.

I adore Tatooine Rhapsody. It’s like Studio Colorido took all my favorite things and crammed them into one episode of Star Wars: Visions. I’d love to see these characters pop up again somewhere down the line. Being so tied in with actual canon characters, it’s the most likely to happen out of all of the shorts.

Next time on Visions Remembered, we’re going to talk about by far the most polarizing of the shorts. Regardless of if you love or hate it, people have pretty strong opinions on The Twins. And I’ll be arguing right back and saying how that’s a good thing. See you next time and rock out to some Star Waver, dear reader!

Star Wars: Visions is exclusively on Disney Plus. Season two will air in spring 2023.