The new animated web series Star Wars: Forces of Destiny has debuted online with an episode featuring Rey. Since the film series began more than 40 years ago, Star Wars has traditionally featured strong female heroines, including Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), as has the saga in the animated realm with Ahsoka Tano (voice of Ashley Eckstein).
Outside of the films and animated series, Lucasfilm and Disney realized that were many stories to tell about the famed characters, and at Star Wars Celebration in April they announced that Forces of Destiny would bring them to life in a series of animated shorts. Tailored to appeal to younger female audiences to generate excitement for the Star Wars saga, the Forces of Destiny animated shorts will take form in 16 3-minute episodes, featuring the everyday heroism of Leia, Padme, Rey, Jyn, and Ahsoka.
Less than a week after the release of the series' first trailer, Forces of Destiny officially premiered online Monday with Sands of Jakku, which plugs the action into Rey's timeline in The Force Awakens, after she rescues BB-8 from other scavengers on the desert planet. As it turns out, quite an adventure took place not long after Rey and BB-8 first met, as they encounter a nightwatcher worm that feeds on junk. But the eyes that pop out of the sand to spy on Rey and BB-8 is only a tiny part of one very large creature, and Rey needs to figure out how to fend off monster before it devours her new droid pal.
Even though the new Forces of Destiny episodes – which will air on Disney's YouTube channel and the Disney Channel (starting July 9) – are clearly aimed at younger audiences, all fans of the Star Wars saga are sure to be intrigued by them. Since the creators of the series have said the stories are Star Wars canon and will exist in each of the character's timelines, it's interesting to see side stories like the one in Sands of Jakku come to life, which effectively expand Rey's story from The Force Awakens. Making the experience even more complete is that Ridley is voicing Rey for the shorts, as is Jones for Jyn and Eckstein for Ahsoka.
Lupita Nyong’o is also serving as the narrator for each short as Maz Kanata from The Force Awakens. To begin Sands of Jakku, Maz narrates, "The choices we make, the actions we take, moments both big and small, shape us into forces of destiny." It's a thrilling way to begin the series, which are destined to be enjoyed by Star Wars fans both big and small.
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- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019