Star Wars is kicking off its Celebration weekend with the announcement of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, a new animated miniseries aimed at highlighting the franchise’s female heroes. The Star Wars universe has introduced a number of heroines since George Lucas’ A New Hope kicked off the massively popular sci-fi franchise in 1977. Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa, Star Wars Rebels‘ Sabine and Hera, The Clone Wars‘ Ahsoka Tano, Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) are some of the most well known and beloved of the heroines.
Now, Disney and Lucasfilm are planning to explore the stories of these characters even further through a series of 2-d animated shorts that will roll out over the summer called Forces of Destiny.
EW released a first look video of the creators at Lucasfilm discussing Forces of Destiny [above]. Ridley and Jones are confirmed to return to voice their respective Star Wars characters, in addition to Clone Wars‘ Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano. Plus, Lupita Nyong’o will narrate each short as her character Maz Kanata. EW also released art from Forces of Destiny along with images of the series’ tie-in toys, called “Adventure Figures,” which will reportedly include Luke Skywalker in addition to those pictured. Take a look:
Each adventure in Forces of Destiny will take place at a different point in the franchise’s timeline. Leia’s stories will see her battling the Empire in previously unseen adventures, such as a daring fight on Hoth against a ferocious Wampa and a Endor-set battle that sees her teaming up with Hera. Rey’s stories will mostly be set on Jakku, though there’s one that will see her taking charge on the Millennium Falcon. There is no word yet on what adventures Jyn will get up to, or what queen-turned-senator Padme Amidala’s stories will show. These bite-sized episodes are designed to stand alone and serve as introductory points to the series for a younger audience.
The creators from Lucasfilm discuss the scorn female fans face, stating that this was why they wanted to make a series centered on the saga’s heroines. As such, this is a smart move on Lucasfilm’s part. While certain angry fans might say two female protagonists in a row is enough, that doesn’t make up for six previous films that hardly pass the Bechdel test. And considering the backlash women and young girls get whenever they try to engage with genre culture (the #WheresRey controversy and the Ghostbusters backlash are prime examples), Lucasfilm’s attempts at reaching out to and standing up for female fans is important. While the female character line-up could use some more diversity, this is still a strong step in the right direction.
Overall, these shorts look very tailor-made for the younger demographic to which Lucasfilm is trying to appeal, and will be fun for experienced and novice fans alike. At the very least, they’ll provide Easter egg-packed stories that we haven’t seen yet, with characters who are beloved among fans – and at best, they’ll be an exciting look at the universe as well as a great way to introduce the series to younger girls who are still looking for their place in a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny premieres on the Disney YouTube Channel in July.