The following review was submitted to us by listener and Patreon donor, Mike Ellis.
Is it canon? Is it worth watching? Why did Disney and Lucasfilm need to make more new Star Wars content? These are all relevant questions when it pertains to anything in fandom but even more so in the Star Wars fandom. The Star Wars community is very deep and diverse (for example, my love of the prequels!), but yet come together whenever new content is given to us. Although some will attempt to take things too seriously and others won’t take new material as devoutly, one factor remains true: the love for anything Star Wars.
So, when Forces of Destiny was announced, naturally some fans were excited and others were groaning because of what it would “focus” on (more on that later). As I have delved into the short 2-3 minute episodes, I began to take notes. After I have watched, watched, and rematched some more, I believe there are 5 areas that should be addressed in order to give Star Wars: Forces of Destiny a proper review. Now some may disagree with my thoughts and others may agree or have a pleasant mixture; however, one thing is for certain, we get more Star Wars! So, hold onto BB-8 and jump on your speeder ‘cause here we go…
Is it Canon?
The only way to really answer this question is by asking, “does it matter?” These are 2-3 minutes of short clips that help dive deeper into the Star Wars universe. There are certain names and scenes that fit in throughout all the Star Wars movies, but if they were missing, would not change the flow of the Star Wars timeline. Some would state that certain characters would act in ways different than what has been shown in the movies or television series. But to make that assumption would be unjust because we do not see every second of a characters life. So the answer to whether or not is canon is yes and no. Is it necessary? No. But is it awesome filler clips? Yes.
Obviously anyone who has already seen the clips knows that the graphics are different than most cartoons of today. The graphics are almost a reminder of the Clone Wars animated series from 2003. Lucasfilm obviously did not want to dump a load of money into these episodes which is fine. On a personal note, I would rather that money be spent on movies and television series anyway. These episodes were not meant to introduce some new graphics technology or design, but rather appeal to the younger viewer. As an adult, sometimes we tend to judge the graphics based on what we have seen in Clone Wars or Rebels. So are the graphics par with the greatest animation of all time? No, but they don’t need to be.
If we can get past the strong criteria we have for anything Star Wars, the stories are actually pretty good. I for one was glad to get some more “screen” time from those who we haven’t seen a lot of or who we probably won’t. This would include someone such as Jyn Erso. Outside of Rogue One, she is not seen in any of the films or television series. It was refreshing to see her in something else. Obviously, it’s always awesome to get a little more Ahsoka Tano and the relationship with Padme. It was nice to see Sabine Wren interact with someone else other than those found in the Rebels television show. And for what it’s worth, we did get some IG-88 action other that just on the Executor in Empire Strikes Back. The stories are simply just little nuggets of characters we may not get to see often and even those whom we grow and know, but yet we just wanted to see more of. The stories are good and wholesome, a little quirky at times, but enjoyable.
This is perhaps the one area that I have heard either distaste for or just a dislike about. The argument is that Disney and Lucasfilm are attempting to push woman leads or woman rights down our throats. That is honestly preposterous. There are a couple of reasons for that. One, it’s a cartoon designed for kids. Two, does it really matter that we get more woman leads or “screen” time? Not really. I really enjoyed seeing Rey as the main lead in The Force Awakens. Outside of Princess Leia, Rey, or even Jyn, there are not really any other major female leads in Star Wars. Kathleen Kennedy states, “Star Wars Forces of Destiny’ is for anyone who has been inspired by Leia’s heroism, Rey’s courage, or Ahsoka’s tenacity.” Sometimes there needs to be a change of view and there is nothing wrong with that. The point is, whoever is leading, it doesn’t matter because we have more Star Wars content!
This is actually a hard area to touch on because these areas are just 2-3 minutes long and in 50 years, they may just be something you look up on wikipedia to find out what it was. It may never be remembered again, but they have had an impact. Disney and Lucasfilm wanted something to engage the younger audience. Obviously they know they have fans like us who are going to watch them regardless and even try to pick them a part like a fine toothed comb. However, these episodes were not designed for myself or the older fan, but they were aimed at children. They are seeking to develop not just a fan but a lifetime fan. They know if they can get a child hooked on Star Wars at a young age, they have them for life. And that’s what Star Wars is all about. It is about developing a lifetime of fandom for something we love and want to share with others. My daughter is 3 and will ask me if we can watch another one every night. She can name the droids and some of the characters already. In essence, I am doing the same thing as Disney. I am attempting to develop my love for Star Wars and teach them to my kids so they will become a lifetime fan (Obviously I’m not writing the scripts or working on the animation). Will it have an impact? Yes. Will it last? That’s up to the fan to decide.
I probably have dug a little too deep for something so small. But Forces of Destiny is something for all ages to enjoy, especially there younger generation. When we stop critiquing things beyond what they need to be, we see the joy Star Wars brings to the world. Whether you like Forces of Destiny or not, just enjoy them for what they are; a new look at the Star Wars universe. The stories are great and the graphics are fun. It will leave some impact and some kids who will become lifelong fans. I for one am hoping my daughter will. So, my final thought is this; let’s enjoy these episodes for what they truly are; some thing to teach and spark the interest into the future generation.