Forces of Destiny: Disney's First Failure in the Star Wars Universe. Hopefully They Got it Out of Their System.
If you have been following me for a while (or have eyes and can read my name) it's safe to say I have been chugging the Disney Star Wars "Kool-Aid" pretty hard. By now, most of you probably think I have a screw loose and I am about to propose to Mickey Mouse himself for resurrecting my beloved Star Wars franchise and creating amazing movies, TV shows, video games and toys.
Search your feelings. You know it to be true!
Don't think I haven't tried.
I have spelled out "I Love you J.J. Abrams" in cotton balls. I have stood outside of Walt Disney Studios in Burbank California holding a boom box over my head Lloyd Dobler style while it belts out the John Williams' score. I sent Bob Iger a valentine that said "I love you" on the outside. Then when you open it is says, "I know". Whenever I see a picture of Cinderella's Castle on my phone I swipe right. I got a tattoo...
You get the point. I have loved everything Disney has done with Star Wars.
Then this happened.
Chewbaca is hiding behind Princess Leia. OK.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny is TERRIBLE.
When I heard about the concept, I was a little excited. From what I understood, Disney was going to create a Star Wars children's cartoon featuring the female leads from all of the Star Wars projects. With it being aimed at younger kids, I figured I wouldn't love it myself but I would enjoy watching it with my 10 year old daughter. I also heard that the stories would be "canon" so I had no choice but to watch them. ("Canon" means that the material is a "sacred" and genuine part of the Star Wars universe. If it happens in a canon piece of material, then it really happened in the Star Wars universe and it affects all other events in the Star wars timeline).
I also discovered that these would not be full length 22 minute long shows. They were going to be mini cartoons with a running time of around 3 minutes. Hmmmm that sounded an awful lot like the Clone Wars cartoon produced in-between Episodes II and III of the prequels. That series was created, directed, produced and co-written by Genndy Tartakovsky (of Samurai Jack fame). They were AMAZING! They were far better than the movies. I had high hopes that Forces of Destiny would follow Tartakovsky's lead.
This is what a good animated micro-series looks like.
Oh my god was I wrong!
Earlier this week, the first 8 episodes of Star Wars:Forces of Destiny were released on the Disney Youtube channel. They also supposedly aired on July 9th on the Disney TV channel... but I could find no record of them being shown. My son found them and showed them to me. He may be grounded for a week for doing so.
Today, my 12 year old son, 10 year old daughter, and I sat down and watched all 8 episodes. I would like my 24 minutes back please. I have no idea who the intended audience was for these. Because they feature the female leads from the movies and shows, one would think they were aimed at my daughter. If they were, they missed. Her response to the shows was, "They were too short. I don't get it".
I don't get it either. While Tartakovsky's micro-series could be spliced together to tell one full story from beginning to end, these are very short stand alone vignettes that serve almost no purpose at all. Perhaps they are aimed at very small children... but they are a bit too violent for that (but absolutely no one dies).
My son watched them twice... but that is only because he is fanatic. He will consume anything if it is canon. He doesn't want to miss a single detail. I respect that. But he saw them, memorized what he needed to (which wasn't much) and now he's done. They certainly weren't for adults because they are vapid and boring. Furthermore...
The animation SUCKS!
It was very kind of Leia to perform the Heimlich maneuver on this teddy bear. The only problem is that he wasn't choking.
It is freaking Disney!!!! Animation is kind of their thing. How did they allow their name to be put on animation that is so horrible that it looks like it is unfinished? It was honestly as bad as the animation for the 1980s Droids cartoons.
If you are a Star Wars fanatic and you feel that you simply must watch them, first I am sorry for you, second I will give you three positive things to look for.
- Aside from Carrie Fisher, they used all the real actresses from the previous movies and cartoons.
- They use John Williams' music.
- The last episode with Sabine from Rebels and Princess Leia is actually not bad. Plus it includes IG-88!!!
If you are going to watch them, good luck. Please stop reading here.
If you would like me to save you some time and tell you the "important" canonical pieces from the episodes, here they are:
What's that BB-8? You don't understand the point of this? Me either.
Episodes 1 and 2: "Sands of Jakku and BB-8 Bandits"
This takes place during The Force Awakens. On the way home from the market with BB-8, Rey is attacked by a giant sand monster that eats junk (and droids). She becomes friends with the giant monster by feeding it junk instead of BB-8. She gets attacked by Tito, the marauder who she saved BB-8 from... and a couple of his friends. The monster helps her.
Episode 3:Ewok Escape
This take place during Return of the Jedi. Did you ever wonder how Princess Leia got that dress she was wearing when her friends find her in the Ewok village? I know I didn't. But now we know! She got it by helping the Ewoks defeat a couple of really stupid Stormtroopers.
Is this a bad animated version of Anakin Skywalker or Mick Jagger?
Episode 4: The Padawan Path
This takes place during the Clone Wars cartoon. Anakin Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano saves a little fish alien and her mother from a malfunctioning robot. I have never seen worse animation than the way Anakin was drawn. It was brutal!
Episode 5: Beasts of Echo Base
This takes place on Hoth before the start of Empire Strikes Back. I need to stretch a bit before writing this one...
Nope not ready yet...
Princess Leia finds a sleeping Wampa holding a terrified Chewbacca like a teddy bear. Princess Leia saves him.
I'm not kidding.
This is a hard fork. It is used for... (I'm sorry I couldn't resist).
Episode 6: The Imposter Inside
This takes place during the Clone Wars cartoon. While visiting Padme, Ashoka Tano notices that the table is not set properly. This leads to the discovery that the servant is really a lizard bounty hunter who planted a bomb. They make jokes about forks.
Also not kidding.
Episode 7: The Stranger
No this does not involve putting your hand to sleep and...
This takes place before Rogue One. Jyn Erso stumble upon a little girl with a cat. She is sad. Stormtroopers come and say it is illegal to own a cat. They take it. Jyn rescues it. I cried.
Still not kidding (except about the crying part).
Those Stormtroopers look sad. Maybe someone took away their cat.
Episode 8: Bounty of Trouble
I liked this one a lot. This takes place before Star Wars. Princess Leia is being guarded by Stormtroopers (she was a member of the Imperial Senate after all). Sabine from Rebels stages a fake abduction of the Princess so she can retrieve stolen data tapes from Leia. IG-88 shows up to attempt to really abduct Leia. Leia gets the Stormtroopers to take him out. It ends with a reminder that Leia is a spy fighting the Empire from the inside. It was cool.