First Look at Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Animated Shorts and Toy Line
By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
Since the release of the original Star Wars trilogy in 1977, Leia has been the central character for girls to look up to. She may be a badass hero, but she’s full of heart. However, her story is arguably not the central one on the Star Wars mythos – she may be a Skywalker, but her brother is the lead.
To a lesser degree, the prequels showed her mother Padme’s story and audiences got to see where Leia got her tenacity. Padme was a queen, but later got to show off her fight skills during the battle on Geonosis. And then, of course, without her, Luke and Leia wouldn’t exist.
Now, two more women have joined the Star Wars family in principal roles. Jyn Erso led the rebellion in the recent Rogue One, and Rey’s story, introduced in The Force Awakens, will be expanded in this December’s The Last Jedi.
But before that happens, Disney and Lucasfilm are bringing a galaxy far, far away closer than ever with the release of Forces of Destiny.
Launching this summer, Forces of Destiny is a multi-platform campaign composed of short-form animation, children’s books, apparel, and toys featuring beloved characters like Leia, Padme, Rey, and Jyn. It will also dive further into the backgrounds of Sabine Wren and Ahsoka Tano, who were introduced in Star Wars: Rebels.
Eight 2-D animated shorts will debut on YouTube in July, and then eight more will follow. They will be packaged together as two half-hour specials on the Disney Channel in the fall, coinciding with the release of the books.
The canon shorts will be two to three minutes in length and focus on the women’s everyday acts of heroism. The plots already released are as follows:
• A deleted scene from Empire Strikes Back inspired “Beasts of Echo Base.” In it, Leia takes the lead and saves R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca from a Wampa trapped inside the Rebel base.
• “Tracker Trouble” takes place on the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo, Chewbacca, Rey, and Finn during their trip to Maz Kanata’s castle. It highlights Rey’s mechanical skills as she works to disarm a tracker left by Unkar Plutt.
• “Newest Recruit” will show how Sabine brought her old bounty hunter friend Ketsu Onyo into the Rebel cause. Ketsu is not convinced the Rebel life is for her, but has a change of heart when the she and Sabine make a discovery while on a mission to steal cargo and food for the Alliance.
• In one story, whose title hasn’t been revealed yet, Rey protects BB-8 from a Jakku scavenger named Teedo during her journey to the Niima Outpost where she meets Finn. (Check out a sneak peek below!)
• In one even more secretive episode, Leia teams up with Hera Syndulla from Rebels for an adventure with Han Solo and some Ewoks on Endor.
Several movie actors will reprise their roles for the shorts, including Daisy Ridley (Rey), Felicity Jones (Jyn), and John Boyega (Finn), while Tiya Sircar (Sabine) and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka) return to their roles from Rebels. Lupita Nyong’o is on board as well, whose Maz will narrate the series. More information will be available after tomorrow’s “Heroines of Star Wars” panel at Star Wars Celebration, where the first installment of the series will also be shown.
If Star Wars characters are known for their heroism, Star Wars fans are known for their attention to detail. And eagle-eyed fans will notice something Jyn – as a child, anyway – and Rey have in common: they both collect toys. In August, Hasbro will allow fans to take a page out of Jyn and Rey’s books to become toy collectors in their own right when they release their line of “Adventure Figure” toys that blend traditional dolls (11-inch height, hair, outfits) with action figures (highly poseable, weapon accessories). The line will include the six core heroes of Forces of Destiny with other key Star Wars characters sold separately. Most single figures will cost $19.99, but more elaborate sets (like Endor Leia, which features both her camouflage poncho and brown party dress, and includes a Wicket figurine) will retail for $24.99.
Hwever, some packages will also include sidekicks, like Endor Leia with Wicket, but others contain Rey and BB-8, Hoth Leia with R2-D2, and Luke Skywalker with Yoda. A solo Chewbacca will be available, too, as will Kylo Ren, the first villain in the series.
Besides the animated shorts and toy line, the Forces of Destiny line will be comprised of an apparel line and books, which will initially be adaptations of the shorts.
Though the main goal of Forces of Destiny was to reach young fans who are new to the fandom or may not feel welcome, especially little girls, it is meant to have broad appeal. Yes, the line is meant to highlight the women and provide strong role models, but even more so has the primary goal of bringing balance to the Force by welcoming everyone into the Star Wars universe.