Star Wars needs more alien heroes

New Disney Plus Anime Anthology Series Star Wars: Phantom For long-time fans of the franchise, this is an exciting disagreement. The nine animated short films in the first season were produced by some of the most forward-looking and creative animation studios in Japan, with different colors and styles. They are set throughout the Star Wars timeline, taking a very different approach to the endless war between fighters who come into contact with the Force from the light side or the dark side. In the process of telling these scattered little stories, Vision The shorts get rid of the need to be obsessed with Skywalker’s route and its influence on the galaxy. But the strange thing is, Vision It still echoes a big, consistent flaw in the film series: it focuses almost exclusively on human protagonists and human stories.

The diversified galaxy of the Star Wars series is one of the reasons that makes the story stand out.George Lucas was obsessed with the appearance of the crowded bistro in 1977 Star Wars: Episode IV-New Hope, Full of mysterious, inhumane weird things, the creators of Star Wars have accepted the challenge since then, developed and portrayed new species and new worlds.Star Wars Canon says the function of this setting is more than just 20 million sentient species, And the movie constantly reminds the audience of this diversity, almost every crowd scene is filled with alien faces. But over and over again, the movie returns to the human protagonist, excluding all these alien species as partners or background details.

As early as 1977 new Hope After coming out, the decision made sense on a purely practical level: it reflected convincing special effects and the limitations of George Lucas’ budget. Many of Lucas’s tavern aliens look like believable creatures in the right light—but it’s helpful that they barely speak or move. Non-human characters that get more screen time, such as Chewbacca, Greedo, or R2-D2, don’t speak English-this detail makes the galaxy look more real and vivid, but also frees puppeteers and operators from worrying about Convincing lip sync in conversation scenarios.

Photo: Lucasfilm

The larger budget allowed Lucas to invest more money in more complex puppet shows, thereby eliminating this problem, which provided more for extreme inhuman aliens such as Yoda and Admiral Akbar. Large role space.They in turn made Maz Kanata and MandalorianIt’s Baby Yoda. With the advancement of digital effects, CG-dependent characters like Jar Jar Binks and Watto have become more and more common. But although the non-human characters of the film have become more refined and persuasive, they still play background roles in human-centered stories, regardless of whether the stage is dominated by Luke, Leia or Han Solo; Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padmé Amidala; or Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron.

Franchising into animation makes it easier for non-human protagonists. There is no particular reason to favor human characters in animation-Asajj Ventress may even be easier to animate than Obi-Wan Kenobi, because no one is worried about Ventress falling into the Uncanny Valley or not similar enough to her real character.In animation, non-human characters don’t put pressure on anyone’s budget-even in the mid-1980s, Star Wars expanded by telling non-human stories with animated series Evoques with Star Wars: Robot. This is the strangest part Vision‘Almost universal attention to the human thread: In terms of cost or convincing imagery, there is no compelling reason why the Jay in Tatooine Rhapsody cannot be inhuman like his other band members, or Why is F Dan in the “Country Bride” or “Elder” can’t be Tillek, Gothar, Rodian or Lassat.

The creators of Star Wars may just think that the audience cannot fully identify with the non-human protagonist. Considering that the most popular breakthrough characters in the series have always been non-human characters, from the Ewoks in the 1980s to the BB-8 or baby Yoda in recent years, this would be a strange reason to keep aliens on the sidelines. Ahsoka Tano, the most famous non-human protagonist of “Star Wars”, has been a member of the series since 2008, and she is an outright phenomenon among movie fans. But she is very lonely in the Star Wars animated story, surrounded by non-human characters. Before they disappear again, they have at most a short guiding arc.

The series’ long list of unforgettable non-human villains, from Jabba the Hutt Dashmore, to General Grievous to Admiral Thrawn, shows that the creators of Star Wars are a bit stuck in general relevance. Equal to heroism and humans, and rely on alienation to make opponents more threatening.even though Vision The short film visualizes about half of the villains as non-human characters that plague the human protagonist.

Even two Vision The shorts featuring non-human protagonists—the child robot TO-B1 in “TO-B1” and the loyal orphan Lop (probably Lepi?) in “Lop & Ochō”—still tend to this dynamic. When TO-B1 dreamed of becoming a Jedi, he imagined himself as a human being. His story did make use of his artificial nature briefly-he lost an arm (a long tradition of Star Wars) without any obvious ill effects, and he apparently lived long enough to hide and execute his mentor Ambitious plans. But his story never paid attention to the fact that he was not a human being. It revolves entirely around his relationship with the creator of mankind, and his ambition to become a Jedi-in his imagination, it is obviously all human.

t0-b1 Looking at the desert planet in Star Wars: Illusions

Image: Lucasfilm

At the same time, Lop was adopted into a human clan, just wanting to maintain these family relationships. She repeatedly emphasized that even if she is an outsider, she can sympathize with her adoptive father and sisters. Even if they don’t think so, she considers herself to be their relatives and regards their planet as home. The short film never allows her to use the abilities or advantages that only Lepi has, or to solve her inhumanity in other ways: it only cares about her emotional connection with human characters.

“Lop & Ochō” is still the closest Vision Really began to adopt a real alien point of view. That’s not because Rob has fur instead of smooth skin, or long lop ears instead of round small ears. Because she is an outsider in the human world. She has separated from her hometown, culture, and biological parents, and is trying to merge with those who are strangers to her, and those who are hesitant to consider her family.Although her short film only scratches the surface of her literal feeling of alienation, it is a fascinating dynamic that stands out among many other works Vision It just echoes the familiar story of the conflict between good and evil between the Sith and the Jedi. The other short film that deviated the most from the dynamics, “Tatooine Rhapsody,” is no coincidence. It highlights the roles of aliens and robots, focusing on what they want, and has nothing to do with the endless battle of the Force. Fight around them.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the stories about humans in Star Wars, or occasionally about non-human organisms and the relationship between robots and humans.This is just a strange narrow choice all The Star Wars story is about this dynamic, and Vision Considering that many of its stories are exactly the same as those confronted by humans in the Force camp, this makes the narrowness of choice even more compelling. There are at least 20 million other perspectives on the Milky Way in the setting. Why can’t we see more stories from these angles?

Initial shorts Star Wars: Phantom Don’t suffer because of their people-oriented approach. They mainly emphasize visual vitality and energy, looking for creative and colorful ways to depict the familiar Star Wars that we have been watching since 1977. But surprisingly, the animation studios involved rarely step outside these familiar boundaries, considering how crazy creative and unpredictable anime stories are usually obtained, and how much they usually like non-human perspectives.

But by limiting themselves to such familiar character templates and types, the studio ultimately limited the stories they could tell.if Star Wars: Phantom Continuing as a project, the producer can guarantee that the next batch of stories will be more dynamic and diverse, and only need to ask the studio to think further beyond the lines of these decades ago. And take a closer look at the huge diversity that makes “Star Wars” so compelling and unforgettable. There are many other wonderful stories waiting to be told, and there is no reason why every story needs to be centered on a human holding a lightsaber.