Star Wars: Visions is a celebration of all the Star Wars stories that came before. The season showcases a tapestry of diversified Star Wars stories from the best anime studios in Japan. To promote the show’s release, I got to speak with producers James Waugh and Kanako Shirasaki on what it was like to produce such an incredible project.
Shirasaki shed some light on the studio selection process and how they landed on the six animation studios.
We wanted to showcase different Japanese anime styles. So we went to different studios with different histories and backgrounds to show the diversity of anime. We reached out and asked them to submit a pitch. I think they sent a brief idea of their episode. Some studios sent multiple ideas.
According to Lucasfilm VP of Franchise Content, James Waugh, the pitches the team got had some unexpected ideas including the episode Tattooine Rhapsody, which is the season’s most unique story yet.
We had always knew we wanted a diverse array of creators. We really worked hard on cracking Visons’ framework to allow for fun celebratory swings and unexpected things you can only get from the anime medium. We saw The Duel first and thought, “This is unbelievably beautiful.” I ended up seeing Tattooine Rhapsody and went, “Whoa. We’re doing a rock opera now?” As that slowly went into script, that turned into a wonderful story.
I asked Waugh how Tattooine Rhapsody came to be given how it felt the most connected to the Star Wars we’re all familiar with yet also felt unlike anything we’ve seen from this world. No one ever imagined Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett in a rock opera yet this episode gives us just that.
It was really their pitch. We help ground it in Star Wars because their storytelling was so appropriate for that point in the timeline and was dealing with things that were established. We knew we could ground it in known fiction because their characters were so well rendered and fresh.
One of the more striking details of Tattooine Rhapsody are the wildly different character designs. Shirasaki revealed that the studio was anxious when they got first got a look at the episode.
The initial pitch of the character design was different from what you normally see in Star Wars and that made us skeptical. But it turned out great. I think the Star Wars story about rebels fit in with the punk rock attitude of the episode.