t would’ve been easy for Lucasfilm animation to repeat the same formula from Star Wars: Visions - Volume 1 when making Volume 2. If Volume 2 featured more of the same, it would’ve most likely still pleased many fans. Instead, the creators behind the anthology series decided to do something different and take an even bigger risk. They decided to open up the series to animation studios worldwide. No longer was the series exclusively for anime studios from Japan. Now, even more studios from any nation could fuse their cultures, backgrounds, art styles, and voices into the melody that is Star Wars.
By all accounts, the risk paid off. Star Wars: Visions - Volume 2 features a greater variety of animation styles with various animators from all different walks of life. Nations like India, Chile, Ireland, and Korea — nations rarely featured in Star Wars — got a chance to show the world their talent. The episodes feature several different kinds of animations, from claymation to 2D hand-drawn, showcasing the wide artistic variety possible within the genre.
I previously got the fortunate opportunity to rank every episode of Star Wars: Visions - Volume 1. And with that completed, it’s now time to rank every episode of Volume 2. Like I said with Volume 1, every frame of this series is a painting worth displaying. In no way is this a definitive list, nor does it represent the opinions of everyone at Youtini. But for the sake of discussion (and friendly debate), I’d like to rank every episode of Star Wars: Visions - Volume 2 from least favorite to favorite. This list is the personal opinion of the author.
Much like I said with Visions - Volume 1, even the “worst” episode is still pretty good. It’s just that with lists like this, someone has to be at the bottom. Episode 8, “The Pit,” by studio D’art Shtaijo revolves around a group of prisoners forced to mine in a pit for kyber crystals by the Empire. After mining all the available kyber crystals, the Empire leaves the prisoners in the pit to rot, forcing one of them to try and climb out of it and contact the extravagantly luminous city nearby.
“The Pit” features interesting social commentary about the dichotomy of wealth and poverty among societies and escaping captivity. However, Star Wars: Visions features so many standout episodes, with so many unique art styles, that, unfortunately, “The Pit” doesn’t do too much to separate itself from the pack. Again, this doesn’t suggest the episode is bad; it just speaks to the amazing overall quality of the series.
I know for a fact that many fans adore episode 7, “The Bandits of Golak,” and have this as their favorite. That’s why I have to sincerely apologize (I’m sorry, Caroline and Hannah) for putting it next on the list. It’s a great episode but this again speaks to how high the bar is for Volume 2.
“The Bandits of Golak” is a beautiful infusion of Indian culture into the Star Wars franchise. Focused on a brother and sister duo, the older brother must protect and get his younger sister to safety before the Empire discovers she is a Jedi. The reason why I didn’t put this episode higher is largely due to its art style. Like all the episodes, it is stunning, but I enjoyed some of the other art styles more than this one. “The Bandits of Golak” features a computerized “realistic” animation style akin to video games that use the Unreal Engine. It’s a visual style similar to games like Life is Strange and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I’m not knocking it by any means, just stating my personal tastes.
Placed strategically in the middle of the series, “I Am Your Mother” is the perfect intermission episode, injecting some well-needed humor and levity into the series. Featuring a heartfelt mother-and-daughter storyline and beautifully clever stop-motion animation, “I Am Your Mother” is another fan-favorite I hated putting low on the list.
The heartwarming story of a young daughter learning to accept and appreciate her mother for who she is is a charming and emotional story that many can relate to. And while the story is sure to pull on the viewer’s heartstrings, it’s the clever and charming British humor by animation studio Aardman that makes this episode stand out from all the other episodes.
Volume 2 of Star Wars: Visions starts with a bang. In a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse-inspired animation style, an on-the-run artist must confront her past in the same way that she must learn to contend and paint with all the colors at her disposal.
Made by El Guiri Studios from Spain, the creators said that they were inspired by a string of museums in Madrid within walking distance from one another where they can see up-close the works of Dali, Goya, and Picasso all in one trip. Even in this small tidbit of trivia, one can see the power of the series in its ability to let creators draw from multiple inspirations and from their cultural backgrounds to craft something unique and different within the 46-year-old franchise.
Made by animation studio Triggerfish from South Africa, episode 9, “Aau’s Song,” is a warm and fuzzy episode many probably wouldn’t even realize is part of Star Wars if it didn’t have the name attached. Its story is about a young girl who has a special gift with her voice but must learn to control it. All the while, a loving and protective father tries to keep her safe from the dangerous consequences attached to it.
“Aau’s Song” features my favorite animation style of Volume 2. The animators took great care to highlight the cloth-like textures of its characters and show the jittery animations between frames, making it look like it’s stop-motion animation, even though it’s actually computer animated. And the overall colors, world aesthetic, and character designs look unlike anything else Star Wars has ever produced. I’ve said this before with some of the episodes in Volume 1, but if they ever make an entire series based on this one, I’d watch it.
Episode 6, “The Spy Dancer,” at times looks more like an impressionist painting than a Star Wars animation. It’s an unorthodox story focusing on an aerial silk dancer who works as a spy for the Rebellion and must steal information from her unsuspecting Imperial patrons. Yet, this unique art style and story speak to the achievement of Star Wars: Visions in how it creates opportunities for artists with various backgrounds and histories that lend themselves to creating something fresh.
In an interview with Cartoon Brew, Julien Cheng from Studio La Cachette spoke about how the animation team was inspired by the occupied Parisian Montmartre district during World War II that hosted many cabarets shows for Nazi troops. This shows how opening Star Wars: Visions to animation studios worldwide allowed for greater variety than ever before. It allows creators from all nations to use their voices and talents to create a work of art wholly unique to them.
A common principle for action movies is to tell stories through action rather than dialogue. This leads me to my third favorite episode of Star Wars: Visions - Volume 2, “Journey to the Dark Head.” Crafted by Studio Mir from South Korea, the animation studio excels when it comes to action, having worked on shows like The Legend of Korra, Black Dynamite, and The Boondocks.
The story centers on a Jedi Padawan entrusted with protecting a girl on a journey to the top of a giant colossus. On the way, they are attacked by a maniacal Sith whom the Jedi has encountered before. In this story, the action is the real highlight of the episode. At times, it feels like a “shonen” anime, similar to high-frenetic anime series like Naruto or Bleach. Yet, it can still convey its story through chaos, much like any great action movie, which is why it’s a personal favorite of mine.
In perhaps the darkest Star Wars story I’ve ever seen before, episode 2, “Screecher’s Reach” is a Star Wars tale I’ll never forget. Made by Cartoon Saloon from Ireland, the innocent and child-like animation is only a cloak for the dagger that is its horror-inspired plot.
Don’t get me wrong, the animation style is still beautiful. It hearkens back to the 90s and early 2000s Cartoon Network animations of Craig McCracken and Genndy Tartakovsky, the creators of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Samurai Jack. These are two series that I loved as a child that also featured heavy themes. It’s the same here as a group of children who escape their labor camp must do so only by passing through a cave haunted by a “ghost.” Eerie, creepy, and at times, downright terrifying, “Screecher’s Reach” also possesses possibly the most foreboding ending in recent memory, which is why it’s my second favorite episode of Star Wars: Visions - Volume 2.
Oh, man. What can I say about “In the Stars?” Beautiful, emotional, thought-provoking, heartwarming, and breathtaking, episode 3, “In the Stars,” is the prime example of what makes Star Wars: Visions a triumph, not just for the franchise but for animation and all those who love it.
Made by Punkrobot from Chile, “In the Stars” is about two sisters that live on a planet ravaged by the Empire and must work together to survive and steal for their water. Drawing upon the colonial history of Chile and Argentina and of the original nations of that area, the heartbreak of the episode is only magnified by the real-world parallel that the story is trying to reflect. But it’s impossible to have darkness without also having light, and the light shines through within the episode’s music and claymation-like art style that rivals the works of Laika Studios. This combination of animation, music, and writing makes this episode, and all the episodes of Star Wars: Visions, extraordinary, as it allows creators and artists rarely seen a chance to blend their voices into Star Wars to create a beautiful harmony.
By allowing animation studios from all across the world to join in on Star Wars: Visions, I think Lucasfilm achieved something greater than they were expecting. Yes, this decision created more variety in the animation styles used. More than that, however, the series celebrates diversity. Star Wars is a series that goes beyond borders, nations, and cultures. Star Wars unifies. It brings us all together in a shared love, celebrating characters, stories, places, and experiences that all make us human. Lucasfilm has already confirmed a third volume of Star Wars: Visions is on the way. But as this volume has shown, there’s endless possibility for the Star Wars franchise, which belongs to all of us.
If you enjoyed my ranking of every episode of Star Wars: Visions - Volume 2, feel free to check out Youtini’s essential guide to The Clone Wars. Stay tuned to our website and Youtube channel for more articles and videos celebrating Star Wars animation. And also, feel free to let us know your favorite Star Wars: Visions episode in our Discord community, where we foster a community focused on positivity and inclusivity within the Star Wars universe.