The second season of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated shorts will be premiering later this year, before the live-action Star Wars:The Last Jedi arrives in theaters. The Forces of Destiny Initiative was officially launch back at the Star Wars Celebration in April to fan acclaim and has helped to make the wait between Star Wars movies more bearable, for those eager to return to a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars, as a franchise, has long included strong female heroines, but allowing them to headline projects has been a rarefied occurrence. Forces of Destiny changes that by giving characters like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Jyn (Felicity Jones), Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) more chances to stand on their own.
THR sat down with Forces of Destiny writer Jennifer Muro to discuss how she got involved with the project. Crediting the work to a collaborative process with Lucasfilm's story group, Muro explained how she wound up pitching her own ideas to the group (and vice versa):
Last year, I had some meetings with the Lucasfilm Story Group down in L.A. They told me what they wanted to do with this initiative, and we kind of came up with this thing together — what we wanted it to be, to create stories of everyday heroism for the women of Star Wars. It all came together organically. We worked through different incarnations of what that would be, and it ended up turning out pretty great!
Muro went on to explain that the goal was to inspire people and create stories about everyday heroism in the Star Wars universe, outside of the major installments in the franchise (movies, comic books, TV shows, etc.):
We always wanted to inspire fans of all ages, as long as it was through authentic Star Wars storytelling, I think that was our biggest goal. I think fans can sense that and, even if they're not thrilled, they understand, "Oh, I know who this is for." Honestly, the feedback has been mostly super-positive.
Indeed, Forces of Destiny takes us out of the macrocosm of the Star Wars universe into the microcosm of its characters, focusing on how they interact within the world without "sacrificing their character." For Muro, it's the moments big and small that shape these characters and Forces of Destiny was a great chance to explore that, especially for characters that don't normally get the spotlight. Fans got to see Han deal with Jabba the Hutt, but they never got to see just what Leia did before meeting Han and Luke. That's no longer the case, thanks to Forces of Destiny:
As Lupita Nyong'o says in the introduction to each episode, it's the moments both big and small that shape who these characters are. It's something we don't get a chance to explore very often in these stories, and something we don't get a chance to focus on. It's a great opportunity to do that.
Forces of Destiny certainly helps to make the Star Wars universe fell all the more "connected" and is all the more creatively-satisfying an experience for a self-described "biggest fan" of the franchise like Muro, for it. Being a fan and bringing these characters together has its benefits. One of the biggest honors for Muro was having Daisy Ridley, Felicity Jones, and Lupita N'yong involved and voicing different stories and characters. That's something that will hopefully continue as the series progresses in October:
It was thrilling that they wanted to be involved, and Lupita as well. It was so nice to have them with the TV actors and the voice actors — it brings the worlds together in a way I didn't expect. It gives it more legitimacy, but beyond it being legitimate, it's just wonderful for people who weren't paying attention to go, "Oh, that's surprising that [the movie cast] is doing that," and it brings more attention to what we're trying to accomplish. It was nice to have them in the mix.
With Season 2 coming this October we're very likely to see different sorts of characters. Muro teased that Hera from Star Wars Rebels has been announced but who knows where the future will take the series? There are a number of untold forces of destiny at work in the galaxy far, far away and they all deserve attention. If there's one person who seems more than ready to give them the attention they deserve, it's Muro and the team behind Forces of Destiny.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny season 2 premieres on YouTube and Disney XD in October.