At this point, it’s hard to just be ambivalent about Star Wars. There is so much of it, with an ever-growing number of Star Wars movies, comics, novels, and Disney Plus Star Wars series, that each fan has comfortably found what works for them and what doesn’t. The latest treat for audiences to sink their teeth into – and judge – is Star Wars Visions Volume 2.
And it is a treat. Following on from its first outing in 2021, Star Wars Visions Volume 2 is a delicious nine-course meal at a Star Wars themed Michelin star restaurant.
Consisting of nine 10-15 minute self-contained episodes, each instalment is created by a different animation studio. This ensures an immense range of visuals to match the variation in the stories being told.
With its embrace of global animation studios, Star Wars Visions Volume 2 is a grand celebration of diversity and difference. Each episode has a discernible identity, grounded in the studio’s geographical and cultural context.
The episode from Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, Screecher’s Reach, feels distinctly like an ancient shard of Celtic mythology re-forged to fit within the Star Wars universe. Meanwhile, Journey to the Dark Head from South Korea’s Studio Mir carries the hallmarks of the country’s style and storytelling sensibilities. It is identifiably South Korean.
What’s striking, then, is the consistency of its recurrent themes and motifs: children as symbols of hope, mighty but hidden Jedi heroes, Sith as figures of temptation, and the Empire as a ruthless destroyer of nature. This is the kind of grand, archetypal language spoken by the best of Star Wars: simple, but rich enough that it scratches an underlying itch. It’s Geroge Lucas’ vision for Star Wars as intended, distilled into its purest form.
So, while accessible for all ages, Star Wars Visions Volume 2 retains a deep thematic resonance, even in the weaker episodes. And there are weaker episodes.
Due to its variety in visual styles there are likely to be a small number of episodes which audiences struggle to gel with, depending on their tastes. For me, there were two which didn’t quite match the standard set by the rest.
But even in this instance, Star Wars Visions Volume 2 has an answer: the episodes are barely longer than 600 seconds. If you find it’s not for you, it’s over before you know it anyway. The other upside to this is being left wanting more.
Star Wars has spent a lot of time – too much time – filling in tiny gaps in characters’ backstories, eagerly explaining itself and every question mark (the smug reveal of how Han Solo got his name comes to mind) at any given opportunity. Star Wars Visions Volume 2, meanwhile, revels in the mystery it creates.
There are episodes which could take place either in Star Wars’ deep past, or its far-flung future. It’s up to you to decide which. Similarly, as with Star Wars before the word ‘midi-chlorians’ was ever spoken, the connection between the Force and the ongoing life around it is enchanting in its ambiguity.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 continues to spin tales which feel ancient and expansive, broadening the scope of Star Wars to make the rest look miniscule and unambitious. Improving on the quality of the first Volume, it’s the fantastical potential of Star Wars fully realised, embracing the mystically which can be found in the best of the franchise.
Aiming to delight both devoted fans of George Lucas’ galaxy and those who have become disenfranchised by its recent output Star Wars Visions Volume 2 is a staggering achievement, and long may it continue.
For more on Star Wars, check out our interview with I Am Your Mother director Magdalena Osinska. 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.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 review
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 reaches soaring heights, expanding the boundaries of Star Wars with limitless creativity.