This Star Wars: Visions article contains spoilers.
Seven animation studios have come together to create Star Wars: Visions, a collection of nine anime short films that reimagines the galaxy far, far away through the lens of Japanese culture and aesthetics. It’s one of the most ambitious projects Lucasfilm has ever embarked on with the saga, and it’s an experiment that largely pays off, as it not only brings fresh perspectives to Star Wars but also new characters, from the mysterious swordsman known only as Ronin to a little droid named T0-B1 who wants nothing more than to become a real Jedi Knight.
The stories in Visions take place across several eras of the Star Wars saga, including after The Rise of Skywalker, but are these tales part of the official Disney canon? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Star Wars: Visions Canon?
First of all, who cares? Good Star Wars is good Star Wars, whether it’s part of Disney canon or Legends (the old Expanded Universe before the timeline reboot) or somewhere in between. You should be able to enjoy a Star Wars book or TV show or video game simply because it is a good story with characters you love and not because it fits into whatever the official continuity is that day. Go read Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston’s X-Wing books, they’re great! Want more Clone Wars in your life? Genndy Tartakovky’s non-canon Clone Wars microseries is spectacular.
But if you must know the answer, Star Wars: Visions falls in that third category: “somewhere in between” canon and non-canon. Our own Star Wars reporter Megan Crouse said it best: “Visions sits just to the side of Disney’s Star Wars canon.” None of the stories or characters really clash with anything on the timeline, so they could all be considered Disney canon in theory. But Lucasfilm isn’t really thinking about Visions that way.
“I think these shorts are all authentic Star Wars storytelling,” executive producer James Waugh told Digital Spy. “But some are less on the timeline than others. Some could very much fit within our timeline. But Visions, as a whole, is more of a celebration of Star Wars, through this unique perspective, this unique form, this medium and culture. And that was really the intention.”
Okay, so which stories are canon?
“Some stories like ‘Tatooine Rhapsody’ or ‘The Elder’ can very easily fit within certain canonical points,” Waugh said. “But that’s not really the point of the initiative. We needed this to be something different, and we needed it to be really from the hearts of all these creators, to not try and answer questions in Star Wars. Instead, you have Star Wars as an amazing palette to tell stories through.”
While Lucasfilm hasn’t officially labeled which anime shorts are canon and which aren’t, most of them do occupy a specific era in the Star Wars timeline if you want to map out what happens when in Visions.
Where Does Each Episode Fit in the Star Wars Timeline?
Here is a guide to each of the stories and roughly when they take place on the timeline, according to their creators, who previewed the episodes for IGN ahead of the premiere.
Kamikaze Douga’s “The Duel” follows Ronin, an enigmatic warrior who wanders from one part of the galaxy to the other with his trusty droid companion B5. When a village in the Outer Rim comes under attack by Sith, Ronin must choose whether to defend this place or continue on his journey.
When Does It Take Place: Described as an “alternate history pulled from Japanese lore,” the short takes place after the “Sith rebellion,” a conflict which saw a sect of Jedi break off from the rest of the clans. This sounds a lot like a period on the canon timeline known as the “Hundred-Year Darkness,” an era thousands of years before The Phantom Menace that led to the formation of the Sith.
A runaway Jedi padawan forms a rock band with a former member of the Hutt clan in this short by Studio Colorido. When they’re captured by the infamous Boba Fett and brought to Tatooine for their execution, the band hatches a plan to play to best show of their lives in the hopes that Jabba the Hutt will spare them.
When Does It Take Place: Since “Tatooine Rhapsody” begins with a padawan running for his life on Coruscant, it’s very likely the bulk of the short takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, with Jabba still at the height of his power on Tatooine.
Twins Karre and Am were raised as children of the dark side so that they could one day rule the galaxy as one. But when one of the siblings begins questioning the dark path that’s been decided for them, it splits the twins right down the middle.
When Does It Take Place: “‘The Twins’ is set after Episode IX, after the Empire has been vanquished by the Resistance,” Trigger studio co-founder Hiroyuki Imaishi told IGN. “The remnants of the Imperial Army have raised a pair of twins on the Dark Side of the Force, and the story goes from there.” But where’s Rey?
The Village Bride
In Kinema Citrus’ short, a peaceful village prepares for a big wedding party, while a cruel warlord plans an attack. A fallen Jedi must decide whether to get involved or do nothing.
When Does It Take Place: While “The Village Bridge” is meant to evoke feudal Japan, the B1-series battle droid puts it squarely in the Prequel era, likely during the Clone Wars.
The Ninth Jedi
The daughter of a legendary sword smith might be the only hope for restoring the Jedi Order at a time when the Sith rule the galaxy once again.
When Does It Take Place: “The Ninth Jedi” is another story set after The Rise of Skywalker. Director Kenji Kamiyama of Production I.G told IGN: “I wondered, after Episode IX, has the galaxy settled into peace? We all love stories of the Jedi and lightsabers, but what became of the Jedi Knights after the movie series? My story is about that.”
A little droid is on a mission to terraform a barren planet, all while learning the ways of the Jedi and defending his home from the Empire.
When Does It Take Place: This Science SARU short takes place at some point between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, when what remains of the Jedi Order is still being hunted down by the Empire’s cruel Inquisitors.
A Jedi Knight and his padawan encounter great evil in the fringes of space: an aging sword master who wanders the galaxy looking for a worthy opponent.
When Does It Take Place: This story is set some time before The Phantom Menace. “For some viewers, this series might be their first Star Wars experience, so I wanted to make something that you can enjoy without any knowledge of the rest of the story,” Trigger co-founder Masahiko Otsuka told IGN. “So our story is not directly connected to any of the characters from the films, but it explores the idea of the Jedi Knights and the master and padawan dynamic in an older setting.”
Lop and Ocho
Two sisters must decide the fate of their planet. Should they join the Empire or fight to preserve the natural beauty of their home world? This short also introduces fans to Lop, a new hero inspired by a classic Marvel character.
When Does It Take Place: “The story is set between Episode III and IV of the Star Wars movie series,” said director Yuki Igarashi of Geno Studio. “The Galactic Empire is expanding throughout space.”
Billed as “a painful love story,” a Jedi will do anything to protect a princess when a Sith warlord threatens the peace.
When Does It Take Place: The second Science SARU short is the most difficult to place in the timeline. But Wookieepedia has done some detective work: since the installment features a B-wing starfighter, that means it must takes place at some point after the first B-wing prototype was created in Rebels (4 years before A New Hope). And since the Jedi are around again, that must mean “Akakiri” happens after The Rise of Skywalker during an era when the Order has been restored. Unless this is an alternate history and none of those clues matter…
Star Wars: Visions is streaming now on Disney+.