This summer, the Forces of Destiny miniseries will show vignettes from around the Star Wars universe, focusing on the “everyday heroism” of female characters like Leia, Jyn, and Rey. This is the first Star Wars series to launch straight to YouTube, a move that matches nicely with its younger demographic. The format is reminiscent of the Clone Wars miniseries, which aired on Cartoon Network in 2003 as two-to-three minute episodes before expanding into a 15-minute format for a second volume.
Jennifer Muro, a veteran of shows such as Justice League Action, Lego DC Super Hero Girls, and the upcoming Spider-Man animated series, is the writer behind Forces of Destiny. We spoke to Muro about her vision for the series.
Muro brings her own fandom to the show. She has been a fan of the galaxy far, far away since she was a teenager. To work on this new animated series about Star Wars‘ most inspirational female characters is a dream come true.
While the conversation in geek circles a few years ago was about whether female characters could lead successful franchises at all, Star Wars has since proven they can by putting Rey and Jyn at the forefront of its latest movies. Now, the conversation has expanded, and fans are pushing for franchises to show multiple female characters in different types of roles.
“Going into it, I want to represent everyday heroism and the heroic moments that shape these characters in different ways,” Muro said. “Leia would handle a situation one way, Ahsoka another way, Jyn another way. That was the goal all along.”
She said that writing Leia, especially in the Original Trilogy era, is “hard to beat.” It’s not difficult to see why. After all, the character was revolutionary for her time and continues to influence other strong female roles in Hollywood.
Forces of Destiny was a topic on the latest Star Wars Blaster Canon podcast.
“We’ve lived with [Leia] longer than any other character. It’s about keeping true to her voice and to Carrie’s voice.” In Forces of Destiny, Leia will be voiced by Shelby Young, who’s a newcomer to Star Wars. “She really brought life to the character,” Muro said.
Fan favorite Ahsoka Tano will also play a big part in the series. Muro said she worked closely with the Lucasfilm Story Group to determine which stories about Ahsoka she wanted to tell. Another source of inspiration was Dave Filoni, executive producer and supervising director on The Clone Wars and Rebels, and now the driving force behind Lucasfilm’s future animation projects, including Forces of Destiny.
“I wouldn’t want to make any decisions about Ahsoka without Dave [Filoni],” Muro said. Filoni’s stories have left fans rampantly speculating about whether Ahsoka survived her encounter with Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels season 2. While Ahsoka’s appearance in Forces of Destiny might not necessarily answer that question, it’s a big deal that Muro gets to play with this fan favorite character.
Muro is also looking forward to telling some smaller stories about Jyn. Rogue One actress Felicity Jones will return to voice the character.
“Felicity [Jones] is going to do an amazing job. It’s so great to have her. They may not be epic moments for Jyn, but it’s nice to see a peak into the smaller moments,” Muro said.
Also making a return is Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, who narrates the series. That’s a nice touch, considering Maz is over a 1,000 years old and has been following the exploits of Jedi for a long time. It would make sense that she would become this galaxy’s storyteller.
Muro couldn’t reveal too much about the individual stories, but hinted at some things fans might expect, including some team-ups that could be “a nice surprise.”
Forces of Destiny will also shed some more light on Sabine Wren’s backstory. Sabine, of course, has been a main character on Rebels for the past few years. She is particularly unique in the sense that she’s an artist on top of being a Mandalorian warrior fighting against the Empire.
“We have a nice amount of Sabine in there, which is fantastic,” said Muro. “It’s about her growing into who she is. We get to see some early moments here when she’s not as mature as where we are now in season three and, coming up, on season four. She’s more impulsive.”
Forces of Destiny will premiere in July on Disney’s YouTube channel, and continue with a two-part TV special comprised of eight short stories on the Disney Channel the following fall. Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Tiya Sircar (Sabine), and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka) will also lend their voices.
Photo credit: Ricky Middlesworth