Despite a Death Star's-worth of angry YouTube videos to the contrary, Star Wars is still very much a thing. And just next month, we're getting yet more stories set in that galaxy far, far away. On September 22nd, Disney+ will stream Star Wars: Visions, an anthology series told "through the singular style and tradition of Japanese anime." And it looks … pretty goddamn great. Judging by the newly-released trailer, the show will feature a return to the Tatooine podracing arena, the return of Boba Fett, and the return of giant bunny people.

The concept of a film franchise releasing an anthology of anime shorts tethered to its fictional universe seemingly owes a debt to a trend that began with 2003's The Animatrix, a straight-to-DVD collection of films that helped expand the Matrix universe -- including one story which revealed that the "evil" robots were actually pretty nice, and it was the dickish humans who forced them into turning us all into a race of fleshy Duracells. 

The Animatrix was the Wachowski's attempt to incorporate anime, one original film's most "significant influences," into the franchise. Star Wars seems to be doing something similar; it's no secret that the series has taken its fair share (or perhaps more than its fair share) from Japanese cinema. And the Lucasfilm press release specifically underscored that the aim of Visions was to "explore the cultural heritage" of the franchise that has "counted Japanese mythology ... among their many influences." Which is a pretty tactful way of saying that they want to hire more Japanese artists more than 40 years later after arguably ripping off a bunch of Japanese artists.

It wasn't just The Animatrix; a few years later, there was Batman: Gotham Knight …

and Halo Legends ..

Then … nothing. So Star Wars may be reviving this trend, but really, if they want to "explore" Japanese culture, why not hire a Japanese studio to produce a feature-length animated film? And it's not like the bar for Star Wars animated movies isn't shockingly low ...

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: Lucasfilm

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