“The choices we make, the actions we take. Moments, both big and small, shape us into Forces of Destiny” ~ Maz Kanata
Forces of Destiny, Episode 1 – Sands of Jakku
The first episode (are we calling them that, or just shorts?) of the new Star Wars animated series Forces of Destiny landed today, and it was very, very good. Like really good. For those who are unaware, Forces of Destiny is a new series of animated shorts produced by Lucasfilm Animation’s Dave Filoni and Carrie Beck, and written by Jennifer Muro. For a while people had been speculating just what Jennifer had been brought into Lucasfilm to work on, and this series of animated shorts seems to be it – at least in part.
The first episode, Sands of Jakku, aired on Disney’s YouTube channel earlier today and I have to admit – it was bonkers good. I loved the animation style, simple, more throwback than we’ve seen in Rebels and especially The Clone Wars, and that’s a good thing. Everyone who frequents Dork Side knows how deep my love for The Clone Wars goes, and they are also aware that I like Rebels a great deal as well. However, I found this new animation refreshing to be frank, a nice change. Anyhow, let’s get on with the quick review, shall we. And of course ***SPOILERS*** ahead, so turn back now if you don’t want to the two minute short spoiled for you…
The basic premise of the the episode is that it picks up right after Rey & BB-8’s initial meeting on Jakku, and they have a problem. A Nightwatcher worm is apparently after BB-8, as his species eats junk. And if he looks familiar, he should, as BB-8 initially encounters one when escaping Lor San Tekka’s village in The Force Awakens. Cute, right?
And this is what they really look like:
Yeah, not quite as cute…. One thing that continually intrigues me is the way the story group is showcasing how the residents and life on Jakku have all had to adapt to their new way of life after the planets decimation (as if it wasn’t already desolate enough) after the Battle of Jakku, as highlighted in Aftermath: Empire’s End. The Nightwatcher worm in particular consumes technological scrap and is hungry for BB-8 is seems. There are some nice callbacks here, and I’m going to point out the ones I caught. The entire sequence is more-or-less the dianoga/trash compactor scene from A New Hope, as the Nightwatcher grabs the hapless BB-8 and sucks him under the sand for a few moments, only being shaken up when Rey throws her staff into the ground to head him off. Second, she uses her staff in the same manner as Luke did in Return of the Jedi during his bout with the Rancor, to initially keep BB-8 out of the Nightstalker’s mouth. Lastly, she catches her staff at the end of the encounter and, although this one’s probably not deliberate, it reminded me of Chirrut catching his staff when Baze tossed it to him in Saw’s prison in Rogue One.
Another bit I found humorous was how easily Rey caught BB-8 when the Nightwatcher worm spit him out. In full stride no less. Kinda makes Finn seem like a wuss when he can’t even bear BB’s weight on the Falcon, doesn’t it. Or it’s just animation. Either way it was funny to me and I thought I’d mention it,
In the end, Rey’s kindness and huge heart shines through again, as she tosses the hungry Nightwatcher worm a scrap piece from what appears to be a junked droid. A part she probably could’ve salvaged and gotten some rations from Unkar Plutt, mind you. Yeah, she’s awesome.
In the end, I loved everything about Sands of Jakku, and can’t wait until tomorrow’s installment. Yes, they’re releasing one a day for the eight straight days. Hell Yes. It was also nice to hear Lupita Nyong’o reprise her role as Maz, as she’s narrating the entire series, and of course it was awesome to hear Daisy Ridley back as Rey and BB-8 blirping-and-chirping again. The entire episode is below as well, if you haven’t already seen it. Enjoy!