From July 3rd through July 9th, Star Wars fans had even more reason to go online! All week long, Lucasfilm released Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, a series of animated short stories that star the female heroes of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Each episode is only 2-3 minutes in length, and they're set at different times in the Galaxy's history. Now all the episodes are out, check them out below, and take a look at how they fit into the Star Wars story!
'The Sands Of Jakku'
Lucasfilm has kicked things off with Daisy Ridley's Rey in a short story that's set early on in The Force Awakens. Rey has just discovered the wandering droid BB-8, and this episode shows just why the plucky little droid should be glad to have been rescued.
- Characterization: It's a fun little story, with two subtle character beats. Firstly, note that Rey has unconsciously been using the Force for a long time, and just assuming she was "lucky." That's actually a smart detail, as it fixes a frequent fan complaint — that Rey finds it too easy to tap into the Force in The Force Awakens. It turns out that Jakku itself has been her teacher. The second character beat is an emphasis on Rey's compassion; remember that she sells junk for a living, and yet she's willing to toss some of it away to feed a hungry creature. Sure, it's probably a smart move; the thing is unlikely to stick around and eat her when she next sets foot on the sand. Still, it's played out as compassion rather than self-interest.
- Monsters And Villains: Be it Wampas or Rancors, Star Wars has always loved pitting its heroes against monsters. It's time for Rey to take on her own creature, albeit one that's a tad less threatening than the beasts of the Geonosian Arena.
- Continuity: In terms of continuity, this episode is an intriguing one. As we learned in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, the desert planet Jakku was ravaged by one of the most significant space battles in the Galactic Civil War. Jakku is essentially part-junkyard, part-graveyard, and countless spacecrafts slammed down on to the planet's surface. The dust clouds generated by plummeting Imperial Star Destroyers likely caused a subtle change in climate. In the aftermath of this, it seems the hardiest Jakku wildlife has adapted by literally eating the junk!
In a surprise twist, the second episode has continued its focus on Rey. Carrying on straight after the first short, this instalment reveals that the Teedos didn't just give up on BB-8!
- Characterization: BB-8 Bandits is a fun sequel to The Sands of Jakku, bringing the story full-circle. Rey helped the creature out and now the creature helps her.
- Monsters and Villains: The Teedos were introduced in The Force Awakens, with a scavenger initially capturing BB-8. Rey rescued the droid, but it seems the Teedo didn't give up on their prize! Behind-the-scenes, the Teedo are a reptilian species of scavengers who appear to share a telepathic bond.
- Continuity: You'll notice the distinctive speedsters the Teedo are using — They're classic Imperial designs.
We're leaving Rey behind (for now?), and heading back in time to Return of the Jedi! In this third animated short, we see a secret adventure in which Leia Organa teams up with Ewoks!
- Characterization: This short story explores just how Leia became a close friend of the Ewoks. It's a fun plot, demonstrating both her compassion and the bravery of the Ewoks.
- Monsters and Villains: It's a good time to focus in on the Imperial presence on Endor, as Star Wars Battlefront II will kick off with our playing an elite Imperial unit on the planet. It's interesting how this short explores the evil of the Imperials, with their assumption the Ewoks are "savages" and comments about how the Empire should have wiped them out.
The Padawan Path
It feels strange seeing Ahsoka rendered so differently to anything we've seen in The Clone Wars or Rebels. At the same time, though, this is a tremendous episode, showcasing Ahsoka's character in full. The Padawan Path is probably the strongest episode to date, in my view.
- Characterization: The Jedi are planning a ceremony to recognize Ahsoka's growth as a Padawan. Unfortunately, she has a tendency to find trouble!
- Monsters and Villains: Appropriately enough, Ahsoka takes on a broken droid. It's slightly odd to imagine Battle Droids still strolling around Coruscant at the height of the Clone Wars, but there are hints in the animated series that the Trade Federation kept providing some droids to the Republic, so it works.
Beasts Of Echo Base
A second animated short starring Princess Leia, this takes place on Hoth during the Galactic Civil War. It will reintroduce fans to a classic monster...
- Characterization: There's not really a character arc in this one; it's more another demonstration of Leia's selflessness and bravery. With Echo Base at risk, Leia steps up and sends the technically-proficient Chewbacca to fix the door while she distracts a wampa. It's a smart touch.
- Monsters and Villains: It's refreshing to see a wampa again! The creatures were introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, when poor Luke crossed paths with one of the beasts.
- Continuity: This animated short is set during the construction of Echo Base on Hoth, where the Rebels were based at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. Beasts Of Echo Base shows what we can presume to be a first encounter between the Rebels and the savage wildlife of Hoth. Amusingly enough, it also seems to be a subtle homage to a deleted scene from Empire, which features Snowtroopers stumbling across a wampa that had made its way into the Rebel base as the Rebels deserted it.
The Imposter Inside
Back to the Clone Wars, for a Separatist attempt to bring a terminal end to Padme's negotiations! We get an entertaining team-up between Padme and Ahsoka when the Jedi Padawan unwittingly uncovers a Changeling...
- Characterization: This episode doesn't just have one star — it has two for the price of one! Padme's arc is interesting, as she's so focused on preparing for the negotiations that she doesn't notice the shapeshifter. Ahsoka's, meanwhile, is perfectly in-character; she's disinterested in politics, scorning politicians, and yet shows a little more political savvy than she'd ever admit. The two prove (once again) to be a formidable team.
- Monsters & Villains: The villain of the piece is a shapeshifting Clawdite, albeit one who's not properly prepared for her mission. As we saw in The Clone Wars, a more well-prepared Clawdite can even infiltrate the Jedi Temple!
- Continuity: We've never heard of a race known as the Arthurians before, although apparently they don't like using implements for their food! The race's name is likely a nod to the legends of King Arthur, which actually exerted a subtle influence on George Lucas's Star Wars story. There's a loose thematic tie between the idea of the lightsaber and Arthur's blade, Excalibur, which has always fascinated Star Wars fans.
This episode take us back to the days before #RogueOne, as we see Felicity Jones's Jyn Erso in action against a squad of Stormtroopers!
- Characterization: It's a fun episode, showing that — however much Jyn objected — she was always unable to sit back and watch injustice. In this case, she won't just ignore Stormtroopers abusing their authority.
- Monsters & Villains: This is the most interesting portrayal of Stormtroopers yet, showing a squad who are clearly reveling in their authority. Notice how, the moment they encounter resistance, the Stormtroopers suddenly double in number; it's a classic Star Wars approach, suggesting that the Empire always has strength in numbers.
- Continuity: Oddly, this is the most difficult episode to date in terms of overarching continuity. According to the novel Rebel Rising, Jyn had avoided using her real name since her parents were taken. That said, it's easy to imagine that detail making this little encounter more important for her; she lets her guard down when dealing with a child.
Bounty Of Trouble
The final episode of this series sees Leia and Sabine (of #StarWarsRebels fame) working together in secret. Leia's acquired a data-tape of secret Imperial bases, and manages to slip it to Sabine; there's an amusing twist when a real bounty hunter, IG-88, turns up.
- Characterization: The interaction between Leia and Sabine is really entertaining, with Sabine clearly more than a little dazzled by the Princess's celebrity!
- Monsters & Villains: IG-88 was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back (he didn't survive, as he crossed Boba Fett). The rogue assassin droid has been a mainstay in comics and novelizations whenever bounty hunters are mentioned.
- Continuity: We don't have a precise date for this short, but it clearly takes place before the destruction of Alderaan and Leia's being outed as a Rebel leader. It's worth remembering that, at this point in time, Mon Mothma was still attempting to mobilize the Senate against Palpatine. That makes the data-tape all the more intriguing; it's most likely a list of installations that the Senate was unaware of, and will have been intended to cause political problems for Palpatine rather than simply to help the Rebels launch military strikes. It's possible that, unknown to Leia or the Rebels, some of these military bases were secretly tied to the Death Star project.
The choices we make and the actions we take, both big and small, shape us in #ForcesOfDestiny. We've seen the big moments in the history of a galaxy far, far away, but now it's time to enjoy some of the smaller ones.
Do you want to see a second season of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny? Let us know in the comments!