Star Wars: Visions remembered: The Ninth Jedi

"The Ninth Jedi." Star Wars: Visions. Courtesy of
"The Ninth Jedi." Star Wars: Visions. Courtesy of /

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.

The Ninth Jedi is actually incredibly hard for me to write about. Brought to us by Production IG aka Studio I.G., the reason this was the hardest one for me to tackle is the fact that The Ninth Jedi is so good. It’s the most solid entry from Star Wars: Visions. There’s a reason why it’s universally thought to be the best of the group or at least in people’s top rankings. When things are this good, it’s hard to point out just one or two things that make it stand out. I could probably write a full-length essay on this episode. I’ll do my best to keep this somewhat short.

I think one of the biggest factors The Ninth Jedi has in its favor is time. It’s the longest episode of Visions season one, and it makes good use of that time. Others like The Duel, The Elder, or Akakiri have to make use of very economic writing where every frame, every piece of dialogue, and every instant is used to tell a full story in a short time frame. The Ninth Jedi is almost the same length as a normal episode of Star Wars animation back in its cable days. It has the room to breathe and take the time to build up quiet moments and suspense. I’m in no way saying this short is better compared to the others in that respect. But you can feel the extra run time and how it elevates the story with moments being able to thrive with those extra seconds here and there. It has more breathing room for moments like Kara pushing along the old droid to his ship. Those little beats add up. A few seconds can make the world of difference in a scene.

It’s also needed as The Ninth Jedi has the biggest cast. There are a ton of characters in this episode with various motivations. It’s a fleshed-out world set well past the sequel trilogy that needs to be developed. No one trusts each other, and it’s a real surprise to find the Sith have infiltrated the gathering. I gasped the first time those red blades came out. Having two big action set pieces is a big task too. The speeder chase is of course an homage to Return of the Jedi which is great. But it’s the final battle at the end which is the clear winner of the episode. There are so many twists and turns in the final five minutes from the reveal of the Margrave to even Homen switching sides at the last moment. The Ninth Jedi is stellar from the quiet start to the action-packed finish.

The cast is fantastic. Saw Gerrera’s Clone Wars and The Bad Batch voice actor Andrew Kishino brings such gravitas to the Margrave. I love Kimiko Glenn in DuckTales and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and she gives Kara such balance between being both powerful and unsure of her path. Marvel’s Simu Liu and Heroes’ Masi Oka join the Star Wars universe supported by powerhouse voice actors like Patrick Seitz, Greg Chun, Kyle McCarley, Kyle McCarley, Adam Sietz, and JP Karliak who are all veterans in the business. The voice acting is rich and layered.

The Ninth Jedi is gorgeous to look at. All the set pieces are beautiful from the lush forest of Kara’s home to the otherworldly temple built into an asteroid. The character designs are fantastic. I love the old boatman droid who is a gift of a Star Wars character. He needs to come back again in canon somewhere because I know a few fans who love that design. From start to finish, The Ninth Jedi is some of the best Star Wars on screen. These are just a few reasons why it’s people’s favorite and why fans want this one particular world to be expanded upon. I know The Duel got its own novel. I mentioned in the first Visions Remembered that all the episodes should be expanded upon. But hands down, The Ninth Jedi should get that treatment next. It’s a complete story leaving fans wanting so much more.

Next up on Visions Remembered is another unique short paying homage to one of Japan’s greatest anime series. Astro Boy is often considered the first anime series to make it big in the United States, and Visions’ TO-B1 is a love letter to that series.

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