Star Wars: Visions dropped this past week, and for many fans the series has been a pleasant surprise.
The anime anthology seemed to cater towards more of a niche audience throughout the marketing campaign, but since releasing the shorts all at once the Star Wars faithful have found that there's a little something for everyone. The episodes "The Duel," "The Ninth Jedi," and "The Elder" are near-unanimously heralded as the best of the bunch, but even some of the more unique pieces have caught fire.
As always, the biggest question for Star Wars fans is: what's next?
For the franchise overall, that answer is clear. The Book of Boba Fett begins streaming in December and will be followed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, The Bad Batch Season 2, and The Mandalorian Season 3 at various points throughout 2022. On the publishing front, the first phase of The High Republic will begin to wrap up in January, and the narrative will then take its next turn likely in the summer.
But what about Visions?
Originally viewed as a small passion project by many fans, the anime series has taken on a life of its own. There's already clamoring for a second season of the show, and a large segment of the fandom has even begun to push for a series connected to the events of "The Ninth Jedi" entirely.
Are there more Visions stories on the horizon, even in different mediums? Could live-action be a potential suitor for the further development of these tales? The Direct had the opportunity to discuss these possibilities with the series' executive producer.
Live-Action Visions Appearances Currently an Unknown
In an exclusive interview, The Direct recently spoke with Star Wars: Visions executive producer James Waugh. The producer also serves as VP, Franchise Content and Strategy at Lucasfilm, and works closely with the story group in cultivating new forms of Star Wars storytelling.
During the interview, Waugh was asked about the prospects of seeing characters and settings from Visions appearing in future Star Wars stories, noting that the forthcoming novel Ronin will begin that trend:
“I think that's always possible. I would say that it could be our continuing with some of this storytelling, we're doing a book with Del Rey right now that carries forth "The Duel" story, it's called Ronin, with a really interesting author.”
The VP addressed live-action specifically, stating that he currently isn't sure what the future might entail in that realm for Visions characters:
"We want to explore these characters in other mediums, for sure. Whether or not you'll see these characters in live-action, or in our core animation - I don't know, is the honest answer there."
Waugh mentioned that characters from the EU have already returned to the canon, and the option to feature elements inspired by Visions will be at the discretion of future storytellers:
"If these characters, or these scenarios, or these world building elements inspire creators enough, like everything with Star Wars, you never know. You see things from the EU being pulled into the current timeline storytelling, and that's kind of the magic of it. So it's possible."
Inspiring the Next Generation
Given the reception to the series, it's safe to say that this is just the beginning for many of the characters and narratives introduced in Visions.
As Waugh suggested, there's already at least one continuation planned in the form of the novel Ronin, set for publication on October 12. Whether the story will be part of the canon continuity remains undisclosed, but the book will serve as a continuation of the events that transpired in the Kurosawa-esque short "The Duel," carrying Ronin's journey forward as he defeats Sith and collects their kyber crystals.
There's always the possibility that more stories from the first season of Visions could be expanded upon in books - "The Village Bride" certainly set up an intriguing character with plenty of room to be explored in prose.
The aforementioned desire among fans to see a full-fledged series guided by the events of "The Ninth Jedi" is also something Lucasfilm is undoubtedly aware of, and a partnership with anime studio Production IG to continue the story wouldn't be a surprise in the slightest. Of all the shorts, "The Ninth Jedi" offered the most room for growing an entire narrative, and the cliffhanger ending certainly seems to indicate that the door was deliberately left open for the chance to revisit the story.
As for live-action appearances, it will really just depend, as Waugh said. For the moment, none of the Visions stories really intersect with any of the current Disney+ projects coming down the pipeline, so the inclusion of the anime character currently seems unlikely. There's every chance that some of the planets or concepts introduced could make their way into the live-action realm, perhaps in something a little more separated from the rest of the timeline like Leslye Headland's The Acolyte, but it will be a while until any of the characters may show up.
Star Wars is a generational experience, and the creators of future stories are always inspired by the work of those who came before. Many of the live-action projects currently out or in production under Disney have been heavily influenced by the original trilogy, and in time the fans who grew up under the prequel and sequel eras will tell tales based on their childhood favorites as well.
In time, those inspired by Star Wars: Visions will have the opportunity to introduce the anime characters into the live-action world, too. This could happen sooner than later even if a current creator finds a way to make something work in one of their own live-action stories. But there will certainly come a time when the children of the Force have the chance to bring their beloved Visions characters and stories into the forefront.
Star Wars: Visions is currently streaming all episodes on Disney+.