In early December, several new Galaxy of Adventures shorts were released on the Star Wars Kids Youtube channel. I watched them at the time, but for whatever reason I didn’t get around to writing about them until now.
But here’s the reality: these shorts are absolutely amazing. Seriously, they’re great. If you haven’t seen them yet, click on that link above and go watch them, because they’re beautiful renderings and adaptations of iconic Star Wars scenes. These shorts are made for kids who aren’t quite old enough for the films, but I’ve found that I love them a ton too. I really enjoyed the first batch of shorts, but this second batch is even better. The ones of the trench run, of Luke confronting Palpatine, and of Luke fighting Vader are especially great, and I’ve watched them over and over again.
These are only about a minute long each, but they’re awesome (if you haven’t gotten my point yet, I like them a lot). Anyway, here’s a look at the second batch of Galaxy of Adventures shorts!
Princess Leia vs. Darth Vader – A Fearless Leader
In this short, we see Princess Leia’s confrontation with Darth Vader aboard the Tantive IV from the beginning of A New Hope. The dialogue is the same, with Vader wanting to know what happened to the plans and Leia insisting she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But while Vader is saying that Leia is a part of the Rebel Alliance, we get glimpses of Leia leading troopers in combat aboard the ship. As the stormtroopers are taking Leia away, she smirks as she glances back toward Vader.
We obviously never saw Leia fighting on the Tantive IV in A New Hope, but it’s cool to visualize how Leia very much was a part of the Rebellion – so Vader was right. And the smirk that Leia gives as she’s being led away seems so quintessentially Carrie Fisher that it’s perfect.
Han Solo – Galaxy’s Best Smuggler
This one is entirely framed around Han Solo’s conversation with Ben Kenobi and Luke Skywalker at the Mos Eisley Cantina from A New Hope. But as he’s working his way through his introduction of himself and of the Millennium Falcon, we see different clips from Solo’s life. As he’s introducing himself as Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, we see the Falcon taking off from Docking Bay 94 as stormtroopers fire at it and Han stands on the landing gear firing back. As Han’s explaining that this is the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, we see the scene from Solo: A Star Wars Story where Han and Chewie do make the Kessel Run, escaping the Maw. And then as Han says he’s outrun Imperial cruisers, we see the Falcon evading Star Destroyers and fighting TIE Fighters. Ben tells Han that they want to avoid any Imperial entanglements, and Han responds by saying “that’s the real trick” as we see another encounter with Imperials.
This is a wonderfully edited short that highlights just how cool of an idea these Galaxy of Adventures shorts are. The entire thing is based on Han’s words at the Cantina, but we get glimpses of what he’s actually talking about while he’s saying it. So we see the Falcon, we see the Kessel Run, we see Han outrunning Imperial starships. It really helps to bring these words to life in a new way by combining what we know and have seen into one clip.
Luke vs. the Death Star – X-Wing Assault
This short depicts the trench run from A New Hope, picking up with Luke, Wedge, and Biggs making their attack run. The music is triumphant at first, but soon it’s just Luke left and the Imperial March blares as Vader takes out R2-D2. We then hear Old Ben tell Luke to use the Force, and the Force theme blares as he switches off his targeting computer and everything slows down. Han arrives and takes out the TIE Fighters while Luke fires the shot that blows up the Death Star.
I love this one, and it’s such a beautiful rendition of this iconic scene. The music is terrific (like always), and I love the ominous Imperial March playing as Vader closes in on Luke – plus, of course, the Force theme playing as Luke turns off his targeting computer. But the thing that really makes this video spectacular is the way they render Luke using the Force: everything fades out and goes in slow motion. It’s a perfect visual representation of Luke using the Force and relying on it, and it’s absolutely stunning in this minute-long video. I could watch this one over and over – in fact, I have!
Chewie vs. Holochess – Let the Wookiee Win
This short is just a fun little one about Chewbacca playing R2-D2 in Dejarik from A New Hope. Chewbacca gets upset, at which point C-3PO lectures him about it being a fair move. Han Solo says to let Chewie have it since it’s not wise to upset a Wookiee, and then we get a montage of Chewbacca getting upset: with Han Solo, with a mouse droid, with stormtroopers, with Lando Calrissian, and then with more stormtroopers. After this montage, C-3PO says that he sees Han’s point and suggests that R2 let the Wookiee win, much to the delight of Chewbacca.
This clip doesn’t feature Chewie ripping anyone’s arms out of their sockets (which is what Han warns about in A New Hope), but that’s understandable. What it does show, however, is that Chewbacca has quite a temper and is not one to be messed with, which is Han’s point anyway. It gets the point across in a very clear fashion: it’s always best to let the Wookiee win.
Luke vs. Emperor Palpatine – Rise to Evil
This short begins with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader standing before Emperor Palpatine aboard the Second Death Star. Palpatine explains to Luke that everything that has transpired has been according to his design, and as he says this we see Chancelor Palpatine from the prequel trilogy manipulating things, creating a Grand Army of the Republic, as Darth Sidious, facing off against the Jedi in his office, and reorganizing the Republic into the Empire. The transition is then seamless back to the Death Star, where he tells Luke that the Alliance will die, as will his friends. Luke then draws his lightsaber and ignites it, meeting Vader’s blade while Palpatine laughs.
This is one of the most amazing shorts they’ve done yet, as it so beautifully shows how Palpatine was manipulating things all along. We see him in the prequel trilogy doing this, and we get some pretty awesome shots of Palpatine doing just that. So as he’s explaining to Luke that everything has transpired according to his plan, we get a chance to actually see just how true that is. This one is absolutely stunning in its transitions and how seamlessly it works everything together to show Palpatine’s cunning plans.
Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader – Join Me
This is an action-packed rendering of Luke Skywalker’s fight against Darth Vader on Cloud City. It starts with Vader fighting Luke in the Carbon Freezing Chamber, with the Battle of the Heroes playing. Then, after Luke knocks Vader off the platform, it picks up with Vader ambushing Luke, throwing things at him with the Force and levitating off the ground. This knocks Luke onto the walkway, and Vader dives after him with his lightsaber as the Force theme plays. Vader offers Luke the chance to join him, which Luke refuses, as the two rush toward one another and clash lightsabers.
This is another epic rendering of an epic scene, and it really shows Vader’s power but also highlights the action-packed nature of the battle. The music is perfect, the dialogue is perfect, and the action is perfect – all without giving away even a hint of the dramatic reveal that Vader utters at the end of this battle. They’re preserving that secret for when kids watch the actual film, and that’s wonderful. This clip is another one of my favorites, and I’ve watched it several times already also.