Star Wars Visions released on Wednesday, with all nine episodes available to stream instantly on Disney+. The series is amazing and a really fresh take on the franchise, and on the day it released I had a review of the series overall, in general.
But with the nature of this show – with each episode standing independent of another and telling different stories – there are bound to be certain episodes that really work for me more than others. And the really cool part of it is that the episodes that work for me and that I love the most may be different than someone else’s.
Because of that, I am careful here to avoid calling this a ranking of the “best” episodes, because that’s very subjective – particularly with a series like this. But I’m going to rank the episodes in terms of how much I enjoyed them, and I’d be curious to hear what your favorites were as well!
“A Jedi returns to his forbidden love to help her defend her kingdom from a Sith-like Shogun.”
The main reason why this one is last is simply because there had to be an episode to take that distinction, not because I didn’t enjoy it. I actually enjoyed every episode, but there were obviously some I liked more than others. I thought this one was fine – and that’s basically it. I actually thought that this episode’s strength was in the character relationships that occupied the first half of it, and there’s also the theme of tragedy that comes with attachment and a desire to protect those whom you love. This is very clearly a love story, and for only having a 14 minute episode I thought they developed it well – at least well enough for us to follow along with. But there was nothing about this episode that really blew me away; I watched it, enjoyed it, and moved on. One other note is that this feels like an odd choice to wrap up the series, but I don’t really hold that against it since these episodes aren’t really structured sequentially by any means. It’s rather arbitrary, so that’s certainly not this episode’s fault.
8. Lop & Ocho
“A family is torn about what to do when the Empire encroaches on their planet.”
Entering this episode about an anthropomorphic bunny, I didn’t expect it to be anything spectacular (no offense to Jaxxon). But I wound up enjoying this one far more than I expected, and it all centered around the theme of family – and the fact that family is something that runs deeper than blood. I was surprised that the ending didn’t feature a reunion of sorts but rather saw our protagonist all alone, mourning the loss of her family. But this tells a tale of siblings who both want nothing more than to protect their family legacy and carry it on despite the Imperial occupation, yet with very different approaches to it: one decides to join the Empire, while the other fights against it. There’s a lot more heart here than you’d expect.
“A cybernetic boy, who dreams of being a Jedi, discovers a dangerous truth about his creator.”
Similar to the previous episode, I didn’t expect this one to grab me like it did: it’s all about a droid who longs to become a Jedi (in that way it reminds me a lot of Pinocchio). It’s a pretty lighthearted story, but that doesn’t mean it strays away from the darkness. This droid, T0-B1, comes to realize that his creator is a Jedi, and it’s T0-B1’s inadvertent actions that actually lead to his creator’s death. But the boy completes his creator’s legacy and winds up embracing the destiny of a Jedi by fighting off a great enemy – the villain who killed his creator.
6. Tatooine Rhapsody
“A band with big dreams must save one of their own from Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett.”
This is the most unique of all the episodes, and it deserves a lot of credit for the ambition and creativity in doing so. If you watch all of these nine episodes back-to-back you’ll find some of them start to get a bit repetitive (though that’s not the fault of the creatives, by any means), and this one stands out all the more. It revolves around an upstart band of misfits trying to make it big in the galaxy, and so we are treated to some musical numbers. But this is also the only episode to feature established Star Wars characters, as Boba Fett plays a major role, and Jabba the Hutt and Bib Fortuna both show up as well (I love Fett’s in this episode and Temuera Morrison is as good as ever). I think it works really well, and I liked this really creative and distinct vision of the Star Wars franchise. Though I wouldn’t say the premise is one that is all that intriguing to me, I found myself enjoying it quite a bit due in large part to how different it was.
5. The Elder
“A Jedi and his Padawan pursue a dark and powerful presence.”
There’s a certain sense of mystery to this one, as a Jedi Master and his Padawan hunt down a mysterious enemy, not thinking it’s a Sith, since they have been extinct for a while. But as they gain more and more clues they come to realize that it is in fact a Sith they are hunting, but the Padawan is the one to confront the Elder by himself. He loses, and the Master then arrives to fight. These lightsaber duels at the end of the episode are really well done and I find the Elder an intriguing villain. And the way the lightsaber colors really jump out, thanks to the diluted colors of the rest of the scene, looks fantastic.
4. The Village Bride
“A Jedi on the run takes in the unique customs of a remote village under threat by a warlord.”
This episode stood out in particular for the gorgeous visuals and the beautiful score. I think it’s one of the very best-looking of the entire series and I think it has the absolute best music of them all, and those dynamics are what are most memorable to me. The story is good as well, with us seeing how this young woman is willing to give herself up to save her people, and with us seeing how these villagers on some remote planet connect with their world and try to survive. It works well, and when the Jedi ignites her lightsaber at the end, it’s such a thrilling moment (and such a cool lightsaber design!). So while I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite story that’s told in these episodes (though it was still good), it checks so many other boxes for visuals, music, and great moments.
3. The Twins
“Twins born into the dark side clash aboard a massive Star Destroyer.”
If there’s one episode that I think really gives “The Village Bride” a run for the best visuals, it’s this one. Though different stylistically, this one is absolutely gorgeous. There are so many moments that just had me mesmerized watching it, such as the fight between these siblings atop the Star Destroyer, and the time where one of them rode the X-Wing directly toward the Destroyer. And the last shot of the episode is perfection. I definitely thought this was the best-looking episode of the whole bunch, and that’s really saying a lot! But the story also really worked for me: two siblings, aboard a Star Destroyer, having to fight one another in a quest for survival and their future.I found this interesting and well-executed, and while it was admittedly rather simple and straightforward as far as the exposition is concerned, the way the fight sequences actually played out make it a stellar episode. This is one that you can just sit back, watch on the biggest screen you can find, and be enthralled with.
2. The Duel
“A wandering stranger with a mysterious past defends a village from powerful bandits.”
This episode was rather simple. It’s rendered almost entirely in black and white, except for some thoughtfully placed color (most notably from the lightsabers). There’s not as much dialogue or exposition, especially from the main character. We see a Sith invade a village, and the villagers fight to defend themselves against this evil foe. The protagonist then steps onto the scene, and he too wields a red lightsaber! That adds a bit of a morality twist to this adventure, but he fights in defense of the village – and it turns out he’s got a well-developed plan to do so. The simplicity of this episode actually works in its favor, and there are some great lightsaber fights. This episode also feels very influenced by the Kurosawa films that influenced George Lucas, which is also really nice. This is the episode that the tie-in novel Ronin is based on, and that’s great with me! I found a lot of things that were really compelling about the main character here and it left me wanting more, so it obviously worked.
1. The Ninth Jedi
“The daughter of a lightsaber-smith is pursued by dark forces while on a dangerous mission.”
Without any question in my mind, my favorite episode of them all was “The Ninth Jedi.” This had pretty much everything you’d want in an episode like this. It takes place in a very interesting period, set far into the future from the galaxy that we already know, in a time where the Jedi are nearly extinct and lightsabers are gone. So a mysterious figure recruits Jedi to a temple, promising to give them lightsabers. The planet below is rich with kyber crystals, and we meet a lightsaber-smith who has built nine sabers for these nine Jedi. The design of these lightsabers is fantastic: the blades change colors based on who is holding them. His daughter wants to be a Jedi, but her blade is colorless to represent her undeveloped connection to the Force – but she’s thrust into the adventure when enemies show up to arrest her father for his creation of the lightsabers. She pursues through the forest in a thrilling chase sequence and winds up getting away. She delivers the lightsabers to the Jedi, pleading with them to help her father – but when the others pick up the sabers, they turn red. The mysterious benefactor then reveals himself, as a Jedi who knew the Sith had infiltrated his plans, and with the enemy now revealed a massive fight breaks out. With the heroes victorious, they set off to rebuild the Jedi Order. This episode had plenty of heart, driven by this young girl wanting to save her father. It had really interesting and creative developments, like with the lightsabers changing color. This allows a truly fantastic twist to transpire when all of the lightsabers turn red, which was a genuine surprise. There are some really compelling characters, despite the fact that we’re just now introduced to them. There’s some stunning action, including both a speeder chase through a forest and a huge lightsaber fight. There’s great design and visuals, such as the temple being designed to look like a lightsaber. There’s humor, with the pilot droid in particular being a highlight. And there’s plenty of galaxy-wide intrigue, with this unexplored era and interesting concept.
Without a doubt, this was my favorite episode. And I really would love to see it continued.