Disney and Lucasfilm are set to introduce 16 brand new female-led storylines to a galaxy far away. The new animated shorts, called Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, will focus on women from the latest Star Wars live-action films (Rey and Jyn), the Star Wars Rebels TV series (Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren and Jedi Ahsoka Tano) and literally the only main female character from the original movies, Princess Leia.
And it's coming soon: the three-minute cartoons will be available on the Disney YouTube channel in July, then be packaged with eight others later this year for a pair of TV specials airing on the Disney Channel.
Interestingly, the show promises some of these characters will meet with other established fan favourites. Disney haven't revealed a lot of details, but have said the stories will all be canon.
“We didn’t want to put them in a false social construct. They’re meeting each other on Star Wars terms,” Carrie Beck, executive producer of the shorts, explained to EW. “No part of Star Wars should feel like, ‘That’s the fake Star Wars, over there.’ No matter who you are, or how young you are, you want to feel like you are sharing the same thing your dad and mom love, that your grandparents love. You want to feel like you are a part of it.”
And to cement these new shorts in the Star Wars universe, most of the original actresses will be voicing their characters. Daisy Ridley will return to play Rey as she protects BB-8 from a thieving Jakku scavenger in a story set during the events of The Force Awakens (so don’t expect spoilers for The Last Jedi, or answers about her mysterious past). Plus, Felicity Jones will be voicing Jyn Erso (in an adventure set before the climax of Rogue One – for obvious spoiler-filled reasons)
However, after Carrie Fisher’s death late last year, Leia will be voiced by Shelby Young (The Social Network). The character will be appearing in a short inspired by an Empire Strikes Back deleted scene where Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca face off a Wampa imprisoned in the rebels ice base (see the four-minute mark in the video below). “Leia saves the day and rescues Chewie, so we get to see her leadership in play,” Beck said.
Natalie Portman won’t be returning to voice Padmé Amidala, but Catherine Taber – who took on the role in animated series The Clone Wars – will be.
The new series also looks to be answering the #WheresRey controversy that emerged after the galaxy’s newest Jedi was largely omitted from The Force Awakens merchandise. Along with the shorts, Hasbro will be releasing a new line of ‘Adventure Figures’ containing all the heroines featured in Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. And these aren’t just dolls: each figure will be able to replicate action from the films – for instance, Rey can swing her lightsaber.
But if action figures are not your thing then just know a series of kickass animations are speeding towards a universe near you. Excited, we are.