Star Wars’ newest pop-culture initiative is honoring the legacy of its awesome and inspiring women.
Launching this summer, Star Wars Forces of Destiny is a multi-part campaign comprised of short-form animation, children’s books, apparel and toys featuring the sci-fi franchise’s stable of female characters in movies and TV, from Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia in George Lucas’ original trilogy to Daisy Ridley’s Rey of The Force Awakens and upcoming The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15).
“The portfolio of characters has been the cornerstone of the enduring success of Star Wars,” says Paul Southern, Lucasfilm’s senior vice president of licensing. Strong female leads like Jyn Erso of Rogue One, former Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano and warrior Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels and Padme Amidala in the prequel trilogy have “always been a cornerstone of the storytelling and a really important component in terms of creating that broad appeal.”
Eight animated shorts debut in July on the Disney YouTube channel and Disney.com that feature characters in untold two- to three-minute mini-adventures. Among the tales: Rey saves BB-8 on Jakku and Leia rescues Chewbacca from a Wampa on Hoth (seen in The Empire Strikes Back).
Executive produced by Rebels honcho Dave Filoni, the animation will also feature other iconic characters such as Finn, Han Solo and Anakin Skywalker. Some movie actors reprise their characters, including Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn and Felicity Jones as Jyn, while Tiya Sircar and Ashley Eckstein take on their respective Rebels roles as Sabine and Ahsoka. The first round of shorts — in addition to eight new ones — will be collected as a two-part Disney Channel special in the fall narrated by Maz Kanata, with Lupita Nyong’o returning to her wise Force Awakens sage.