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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Visions

Star Wars: Visions is here, and critics say it’s ‘one of the franchise’s best’ new entries in (light) years

By Benjamin Bullard
Star Wars: Visions Still

For generations of fans, the galaxy far, far away has always served as an endlessly infinite space for new sci-fi ideas. Few story universes have had the kind of tractor-beam pull on creativity that Star Wars has, after all — which makes this week’s Disney+ debut of Star Wars: Visions, a series that reimagines the familiar franchise along anime lines, such a buzz-worthy entry in Lucasfilm lore. 

Visions hands the creative reins to a different anime studio for each of its nine new episodes, unfolding in an anthology format that gives each installment plenty of freedom to spread its X-wings without bumping up against the rest of the pack. As the series makes its debut today at Disney+, the reviews are beginning to stream in faster than a Rebel squadron. Does Lucasfilm’s anime experiment with one of the galaxy’s biggest names resonate with the critics?

Judging from what we’ve seen so far, yes indeed: Most reviewers don’t hesitate to proclaim that this is definitely the new animated series you’re looking for. The diversity, creativity, and unfettered single-episode anthology format all work together to serve up something special, say critics, with fresh Star Wars interpretations through the lens of Japanese anime studios helping longtime fans revisit things they thought they knew — only this time, in a whole new light. 

Here’s a sampling of what reviewers are saying:

“[W]hat a delight it is that Disney+’s new animated anthology Star Wars: Visions embraces the limitless wonder of this galaxy, reaffirming it as one where anything can happen to anyone. The only real connective tissue between its episodes is a love of Star Wars that runs so deep it’s bound to make new fans of the young and uninitiated, and remind old fans why they fell so hard for this universe in the first place.” Angie Han — The Hollywood Reporter

“The galaxy far, far away has never looked more stunning in animation, and at its best Visions folds core Star Wars tenets into compelling stories with characters you instantly want to see more of. Here’s hoping this isn’t the only season we get.” Amon Warmann — Empire

“Watching Star Wars: Visions sparks a kind of endless wonder that hasn’t been present in the franchise for some time now. By tying itself to the Skywalker Saga or even exploring adjacent stories, the anime series allows its creators to craft some genuinely groundbreaking stories, many of which are deserving of their own extended universes.” Juan Barquin — AV Club

“The biggest takeaway from these nine short, self-contained stories, much like some of The Mandalorian’s most well-received episodes, is that Star Wars is at its best when it isn’t afraid to ditch its more rote qualities and find new ways of celebrating its strongest influences. Star Wars: Visions is something new that also feels as if Star Wars has been reunited with an older part of itself, finally." Kenneth Lowe — Paste

“[O]ne of, if not the best, titles — television, film, or otherwise — to come out of the sci-fi franchise’s era under Disney ownership. It’s a beautifully animated and smartly written homage to everything that fans love about Star Wars, as well as the rare kind of installment in a multi-billion dollar IP that doesn’t feel like it was created by committee or focus-tested until all the artistry has been stripped away. If you’re a Star Wars fan who has become apathetic toward lightsabers and the Force in recent years, Visions could remind you about what made you love the franchise in the first place." Tyler Hersko — IndieWire

Disney has made and announced dozens of projects since they acquired Lucasfilm, but it is Star Wars: Visions that feels like the most essential. This is a show that is in constant conversation with Star Wars as a whole, reimagining the franchise through seven unique visions that celebrate what makes it special while delivering some of the most exciting stories we've ever seen in the galaxy far, far away. This better become an annual tradition. Rafael Motamayor — Collider

Featuring anime production from some of Japan’s most well-regarded anime studios (including Twin Engine, Production IG, Science Saru and more), Star Wars: Visions premieres as one big binge, with all nine animated episodes streaming now on Disney+.