Star Wars Visions Volume 2 is an eclectic celebration of the diversity found in animation across the globe. From Ireland to South Africa, France to South Korea, the second season of the animated series is more ambitious and varied than the first in every way.
The UK’s contribution to Star Wars Visions Volume 2 comes from the animation studio Aardman, known for Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, and other such classics. But Aardman’s episode of Star Wars Visions Volume 2, I Am Your Mother by writer director Magdalena Osinska, is very different from the rest.
When given the opportunity to tell any short Star Wars story, Osinska decided to eschew lightsabers, Sith, and the Galactic Empire in favour of something decidedly lower stakes. Sitting down to talk with Osinska, she explains how I Am Your Mother situates itself in the galaxy far, far away through other means.
“It wasn’t a story about that,” she tells The Digital Fix. “It was about a mother and daughter relationship – and in contrast – the mother and daughter relationship of the villains as well, so it was quite an intimate story. We tried to find the Star Wars elements through different things, like having all these different alien species and creatures; Wedge Antilles, the race as well, the flight academy.
“So I really wanted to make sure that there were lots of Star Wars references so fans felt like ‘OK, we are watching a Star Wars film,’ but not necessarily with the Empire and lightsabers. So it was a good limitation to try and tell a Star Wars story without the obvious…although there is a little nod to the Empire because the villains have the Darth Vader helmet hairstyle.”
Originating in the depths of Aardman studios, I Am Your Mother is brought to life in beautiful stop motion animation. It’s rich and textured, and it’s fascinating to see Star Wars through this entirely different lens. Or, at least, almost entirely different. As Osinska explains, Star Wars has a long history of stop-motion animation.
“I was so excited when the idea came to Aardman to start with, just crossing my fingers that hopefully we could do it in stop motion animation because in the original trilogy, there is quite a lot of stop animation – with the AT-ATs and the Tauntauns – so I was excited. And then, just thinking about, ‘Oh my god, if I could have the chance to create the Star Wars universe in miniature it would be a dream come true.’”
She continues, reflecting on the attention paid to blending two equally iconic styles. “I wanted to take inspiration from Star Wars for the texture because Aardman’s puppets are usually plasticine or latex, and in the Star Wars universe, you’ve got such an attention to detail in how the clothes are done, and the hair, and I wanted to incorporate all that attention to detail and the texture from Star Wars into the Aardman style.”
Aside from its aesthetic choices, I Am Your Mother will also strike an emotionally resonant chord with audiences as it explores semi-universal themes of embarrassment and class. For Osinska, however, this isn’t intended to be broad or general. It’s deeply personal and specific to her own experiences both as a mother and as a daughter.
“When I sat down to write this original pitch, which would go to Lucasfilm, I questioned myself. What is it that I can bring to Star Wars? And what from the Aardman universe could I bring into the mix as well? I love the complex politics and the visual world – the creatures – but what really draws me in is the relationships. And that was the first thing that came to my head, the relationship between Luke and Darth Vader, and the, “I am your father,” line.”
“And then I was thinking, I am a mother, I really honestly think of myself as a mother all of the time. I analyse myself, whether I’m good enough, and that makes me think a lot about my own mother and how amazing she was,” Osinska says. “I think I understand her much better now. So then I thought: ‘Why don’t I write an idea about mother and daughter relationships.’ This is where it started. I think mothers are quite often overlooked in films or it’s a background relationship between their son or daughter, but I think they are the real superheroes.”
Coming from Poland and immigrating to the UK, Osinska also considers how this experience can be found in I Am Your Mother, shaping the story’s characters, and their perception of the world around them.
“Thinking about my mum and growing up in Poland and how amazing she’s always been, and I think she’s made quite a lot of sacrifices I didn’t see. You don’t always appreciate your parents when you’re younger because you take it for granted. But I can see it now: how amazing she’s been. But at times I think both of us, when we’re in the UK (me with my quirky accent, her at my very fancy film school) we would stand out, like being these aliens.”
Alongside this, I Am Your Mother spotlights sharply crafted class dynamics, something new to Star Wars, which evidently originates from a personal place. Speaking on this, Osinska reveals these class dynamics are linked with the experience of moving somewhere new and feeling like an outsider or an “alien.”
“I was born in Warsaw, but come from this unprivileged part of Warsaw… Initially, [I Am Your Mother] was meant to [explore] class and also that they come from a planet very very far away (inspired by me moving to the UK) back then when moving into the country, I was feeling like an alien, and trying to figure out how things work on this different planet.”
“So it’s both: being from somewhere else and being of a different class.” Osinska concludes. Watching I Am Your Mother with the rest of Star Wars Visions Volume 2, it’s easy to see that this story, developed through Osinska’s experiences, is Star Wars as envisioned by someone with an appreciation for characters and dynamics which are otherwise overlooked in this grand universe of Super Star Destroyers and Sith Lords. It’s unique to Osinska, and also Aardman, and I Am Your Mother is all the better for it.
For more on Star Wars, check out our thoughts on why Star Wars Visions Volume 2’s best episodes make the Sith terrifying again, and read our Star Wars Visions Volume 2 review. Or, take a look at our guides to the Andor season 2 release date and the Ahsoka release date. Or, find out why we think The Mandalorian season 3 stuck the landing.