Forces of Destiny, Lucasfilm Animation and Disney’s newest series of web shorts featuring the heroines of Star Wars, cutely packaged in three minute blocks with simple – but in this writer’s opinion effective – animation. I reviewed the first episode, Sands of Jakku, as soon as it was released. I was (and still am) excited about this project, but it’s not without it’s issues… There is an uproar that is seemingly dividing the fan base between angry fanboys and defiant fangirls, and quite frankly, I don’t get either side… Truth of the matter is, I can objectively see both sides of the argument. To summarize, the fanboys think it’s cheap and bad animation, with even more focus on female characters, whilst ignoring male heroes. This has, in turn, enraged the opposing side of the fan base – fangirls – and caused what to me in a knee-jerk reaction with the ladies pounding their chests and saying it’s our turn. Mind you, the numbers are SMALL on both sides, so please don’t think I’m lumping the entire Star Wars fan community into this. However, it’s worth noting, and it’s something to keep an eye on…. Having said that, I’ve enjoyed almost every episode, and what the hell, I’m gonna rank them – worst to first!
#8 – Beasts of Echo Base
Look, I love a good Leia story – especially Hoth Leia. But this series is canon, and this story just seems ridiculously far-fetched, even for a dramatic retelling (if that’s how we as a fan base choose to view these). Chewbacca being cuddled and trapped by a wampa, and then cowering behind Leia… Yeah, not buying it. It’s cute, to be sure, but it just doesn’t jive with the Chewie we know and love. Check it out for yourself:
#7 – The Stranger
Jyn Erso, our Stardust Rebel. Hero of the Alliance, savior of the galaxy. Well, if you’ve read the amazing novel Rebel Rising then you know that this wasn’t always the case, and that Jyn preferred to run from her destiny and past rather than embrace it. And while I love a tooka cat as much as the next cat-loving fan, but the fact that Jyn reveals her name – her REAL name in this is so out of character that it’s simply not believable. Again, maybe these are dramatic retellings of canon events, as they are all introduced by Maz Kanata, but still, this one doesn’t sit well with me…
#6 – BB-8 Bandits
Things get tougher here, as I genuinely like each of the episodes left, and have few issues with them. Having said that, I decided the second Rey / BB-8 episode was a little gratuitous, coming on the heels of the superior Sands of Jakku. Having said that, it was cool in the sense that it filled in some gaps in regards to Unkar Plutt’s thugs in The Force Awakens, and it again showed Rey’s big heart. But alas, I have to rank them, so here it is:
#5 – The Imposter Inside
I love Padme Amidala, and certainly feel she’s way too neglected in the new canon – whether it’s collectibles, stories, pretty much anything. I hate that… So it was great to see her in action, and with Ahsoka no less. The story was crisp, and the inclusion of clawdite Cato Parasitti was a nice touch, as we had previously seen her in an arc of The Clone Wars. Also worth noting, both Padme and Ahsoka look brilliant in the animation style of Forces of Destiny, just wanted to make a point of that. Overall it was a very enjoyable episode, my only quarrel being if the series is set up to show how heroic ALL of the heroines of Star Wars are, it would’ve been great to see Padme deal with the bomb situation as opposed to relying on Ahsoka to deal with it. Very minor issue, but I have to side with my girl Padme on this one…
#4 – Bounty of Trouble
Alas, the first meeting between Sabine Wren, member of Phoenix Squadron and the Ghost crew from Star Wars Rebels, and Princess Leia Organa. We can tell by Sabine’s design and hair that this most likely takes place during the timeline of season two, so it would have to be before Leia’s episode from the same season, A Princess on Lothal. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, and have no real quarrels with it. It was cool seeing Sabine use her paint bombs and the inclusion of bounty hunter IG-88 was a nice and unexpected touch. This is a very good episode and certainly worth taking a look at, I’ll say this though.. Getting used to Shelby Young voicing Leia is hard, but it’s Leia. I’m sure she’ll grow on me.
#3 – Ewok Escape
I’m a noted Ewok hater, and have stated on multiple episodes of The Exhaust Port podcast that I think they’re worse than Gungans. Having said that, if there’s a medium they’re suited to in the new canon then Forces of Destiny is it. I love this episode, where we see Leia and Wicket team up to help some of Wicket’s friends deal with some Stormtroopers. It’s cute and effective storytelling. Plus, we see how Leia got her Ewok village and celebration outfit from Return of the Jedi, another win. Check it out:
#2 – The Padawan Path
Look, this would’ve been #1 on the list, but there’s one thing I can’t get past – the TERRIBLE animation model for Anakin. I mean, WTF?!?! Super androgynous and no scar? What is up with that? Ok, so the series is geared towards young girls (although, I’ll be willing the bet the analytics say a different demographic is watching, but whatever), but this is unacceptable. You bring Matt Lanter back for this?? Shameful. Having said that, it was a GREAT representation of Ahsoka and was a perfect showcase for the character we’ve grown to love so much through The Clone Wars, Rebels, and her own novel. Yoda was also portrayed and animated very well, and the inclusion of the ‘Force Tree’ at the Jedi Temple was a nice touch.
#1 – Sands of Jakku
So as it stands the first episode released is the best (at least in my opinion). You can read my full review here, but suffice it to say I love everything about this episode – even Rey catching BB-8 in stride (suck it over-observant-nitpicky-canon-fans). I love how much heart Rey always displays, and of course, Daisy Ridley is a vision – even in animation!
As you can tell, I like this series. I think each episode adds something unique to the Star Wars universe and canon, and as a consumer of all things Star Wars I love having these little story gaps filled in. Just sit back and enjoy it for what it is – more good Star Wars content!