DEREK GARCIA WRITES — Star Wars’ ‘Visions’ was a great TV series that pushed the boundaries of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise and animation, but why didn’t it get more buzz? Well, Disney severely hurt and possibly killed its potential due to its method of release management.
Let’s begin with what, exactly, ‘Star Wars Visions’ is: a 9-episode anthology series that premiered on Disney+ September 22nd. It was created by Lucasfilm, in partnership with seven distinct Japanese animation studios, including the famous Studio Trigger and Science Saru, in the effort to tell short stories set in the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Episodes ranged from 13 to 22 minutes and consisted of a variety of animation styles.
Lucasfilm gave free reign to story creators, the results of which were stunningly beautiful and unique.
What went wrong? Disney released all of the episodes of ‘Visions’ on Disney+ at the same time. As a result, they started to seem too similar; this is not a series to binge watch. After one to two weeks, ‘Visions’ slowly died, while Marvel’s ‘What If,’ a similar anthology series spread out over 9 weeks-from early August to early October- remained a big draw.
Similarly, ‘The Mandalorian,’ a Disney+ headliner which isn’t animated, was shown from early November to late December, in 2019 and 2020, so it kept fans waiting excitedly for every episode, over two seasons. ‘The Bad Batch,’ another animated show that premiered May 4th, was released over a span of 16 weeks.
The explanation given for the change? ‘Visions’ executive producer James Waugh, in an interview with CNET, explained that “it felt right for an anthology, since each of these shorts is 13 to 20 minutes.” Waugh said that these episodes’ tones and styles of anime were sufficiently different.
But to some Western viewers, that didn’t seem to be the case. Many falsely believe that all Japanese anime are similar, despite their thematic and stylistic variances. The release of all ‘Visions’ episodes at once enhanced that misperception.
Nevertheless, Japanese animation studios such as Kinema Citrus, Production I.G, Studio Colorido and others will no doubt continue to gain popularity in the mainstream Western world. Fortunately, not all of their creations, or marketing strategies, are alike.