Disney has premiered the first look at the upcoming Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, a series of animated shorts highlighting the courage and bravery of the women in the Star Wars franchise.
Beyond the general excitement that Star Wars had returned to the big screen for the first time in a decade, one of The Force Awakens' big hooks is that it features the first female protagonist in the franchise's history. Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia Organa and Natalie Portman's Padme Amidala were indeed strong secondary characters, but Daisy Ridley's Rey is undoubtedly the main focus of this new Star Wars sequel trilogy. To go along with Rey, Disney and Lucasfilm introduced Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso from Rogue One: a Star Wars Story, leading a brave rebellion team to steal the Empire's plans for the Death Star.
As part of a girl-power initiative with the hopes of getting younger girls excited in Star Wars, Disney has decided to salute some of these female characters in the franchise with their Forces of Destiny series. These online shorts will each focus on a major female character from the series as they use their brains and physical capability to overcome treacherous and dangerous obstacles.
Featured in the trailer are snippets of the shorts featuring Rey, Jyn, Leia, Padme, and Jedi character Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars animated series. Some of the shorts put slight twists on recognizable set pieces from the films, like Rey speeding away to protect droid BB-8 from attackers, Leia attacking unsuspecting Stormtroopers on the Ewok planet of Endor, and Padme fending off an attacker in her residency on government planet Corusant. These are all events that happen in the franchise, but with major male characters like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Finn removed from the equation. There is a brief glimpse of what appears to be Anakin Skywalker and Yoda in the time of the Clone Wars, but that's the only trace of any male familiar faces in the trailer.
Lucasfilm clearly wants to capitalize on the potential gender crossover appeal that having strong female protagonists has given the series. Once primarily a series catered towards young men, the inclusion of a strong female character may be enough to persuade hesitant little girls to give the Star Wars series a chance that they may have balked at without a Rey or Jyn. That's not to say that Star Wars has had an exclusively male fan-base up to this point, but these seem to be calculated towards bringing in more of a female presence than there ever has been before.
Forces of Destiny will make its debut next Monday, July 3rd, on Disney's YouTube channel.
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