A Guide To Watching Star Wars: Visions With The Kids
The Force is strong with the new anime series. But which episodes are good for the younglings?
Star Wars has just taken a big step into a larger world. With the anthology series Star Wars: Visions, the famous faraway galaxy dives into the aesthetic of anime in nine separate episodes — each installment its own take on the beloved world of the Skywalkers and the Solos. But this time, almost no familiar Star Wars characters are in sight, even though this new animated series feels very much like the Star Wars so many of us grew up with.
But, because the styles and content of these nine stories are varied and divergent, which of these animated tales is good for the kids? The short answer is, arguably, all of these nine shorts are fine for most kids over the age of 7 or so. If you let your 7-year-old (or older) watch The Mandalorian, there won’t be anything in these animated stories they haven’t seen before. However, be warned, many of these stories might seem to demand a sequel or another episode with the same characters. But as of now, each of these episodes is the only glimpse we’ll have for those people and their specific lightsabers. And this might be the biggest warning of all to parents: Star Wars: Visions is captivating, but unlike other shows and films in the franchise, you can’t get too comfortable, and there’s no indication that Visions Season 2 is coming anytime soon. So, be warned! If your kid’s new favorite Star Wars characters are the adorable droid TO-B1, or the brave Kara, or the Jedi rocker Jay, there’s no guarantee we’ll see any of these folks again.
With that in mind, here’s a brief rundown of each Visions episode — now streaming on Disney+ — and what to expect when you’re watching with kids. Mild spoilers ahead.
A lone warrior named Ronin comes to town. He’s going to deal with some local warlords. He’s got a cool droid with a hat on it. But is Ronin a Jedi? He has a red lightsaber, so maybe not?
What parents need to know: This episode is violent and fairly amoral. Ronin is a “good” person, but we’re not really clear as to what his whole deal is, or why he saved this town. On top of that, his enemy is an evil Sith warrior, who is basically a witch who is bad just because she’s bad. The episode is thrilling and wonderful to look at it, but the ethics are pretty grey. If your kid is 5-years old or younger, this one is probably one you skip and watch by yourself later.
A young Jedi becomes a rock star. His rock band manages to save a Hutt who also wants to be in a rock band. The whole thing is utterly adorable.
What parents need to know: This is probably the lightest of all the Visions episodes. There’s almost no violence, and even Boba Fett is barely scary. This episode is cute, uplifting, and best of all different. No word yet on if the band’s song is getting released on iTunes, but watch this space!
Easily the most manic of all the Visions episodes, this one is about two evil twins, but one of them actually decides he wants to be good. It’s a little frustrating that the brother is the good, enlightened character here, and the bad sibling is the tempestuous sister. Star Wars has a weird track record with sibling stories, and while this one is less odd than Luke and Leia, it’s still complicated.
What parents need to know: The violence in this episode is kind of silly. If you’ve got young siblings who fight all the time, maybe don’t give them any ideas with this one? Overall though, this episode is pretty harmless.
An undercover Jedi finds herself in a village where a young bride is betrothed in order to basically keep the peace. This episode is as beautiful as it is complicated.
What parents need to know: Even for a 7-year-old, the themes of this episode might be too complex to quickly explain. It’s a solid story, and perhaps the most nuanced episode of Visions. But, perhaps better for a 9-year-old rather than a younger kid.
Everybody wants a lightsaber! But only the lightsaber-smith can make them! What will happen to Kara’s dad? And is the Margrave really a Jedi Master, or something else? This episode is gripping and feels like an instant classic. You’ll be reminded of all the reasons you love Star Wars, and the story will give you chills.
What parents need to know: There are some scary moments in this episode. Again, perhaps not scarier than any of the Star Wars films, but sometimes horrible things happening in cartoons is oddly scarier to kids than those things happening in live-action. Also, of all the episodes that seem to demand a “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?” moment from your kids, this one will be the hardest to answer. It really makes you want to see another installment. (Which, again, doesn’t exist!) Probably too scary for a 5-year-old, but okay for a 7-year-old. And, any 10-year-old Star Wars kid will freaking LOVE IT. (Including the 10-year-old inside many parents.)
This one is bittersweet and very heartwarming. It’s also sad and, like all great Star Wars things, features the death of a parent. (So does “The Ninth Jedi”!) But, the basic story of this one is so positive and uplifting, even a small child could dig it.
What parents need to know: The faux-Darth Vader thing at the end of this episode could be scary for little, little kids. But, other than “Tatooine Rhapsody,” this one is probably the next most kid-friendly.
Spooky! Two Jedi meet a scary AF killer old man, who has two red lightsabers. This guy is not messing around. Of all the episodes here, this one probably has the healthiest teacher/student relationship and perhaps presents the best Master/Padawan pairing in all of Star Wars.
What parents need to know: The scary old guy with the lightsabers is really scary. And, at one point, you are led to believe that the young heroic Jedi Padawan has been stabbed to death. He’s fine, but it’s not clear at first. No little kids for this one. Too many nightmares.
A young rabbit-like girl becomes an adopted member of a “human” family. Turns out the family has a secret lightsaber, but the human sister isn’t going to be the one wielding it. Yes, it’s another story of siblings fighting, but unlike “The Twins,” this story is grounded and affecting. Lop is endlessly likable, and the idea that an adopted child is part of the real family is very strong here. You don’t need to be born into a Jedi family to get a Jedi lightsaber. Adopted Jedi kids are just as strong.
What parents need to know: There’s the usual amount of Star Wars swordplay and violence here, but nothing more than you’ve seen before. A 6-year-old might be okay with this one. It’s a little intense, but there’s a sweetness throughout.
A Jedi is haunted by a terrible premonition that he will kill someone he loves. Spoiler alert: In the end, he does. He manages to bring that person back, but the price is that he has to now turn to the Dark Side. Pretty much the same thing that happens with Anakin, but slightly more depressing because there’s no resolution.
What parents need to know: This one is dark. And very sad. There’s no hope in the end. It’s not scarier than the others per se, but it feels much darker and unforgiving. Sometimes, the dark side does win. Probably not okay for young kids who get nightmares easily. This one feels like it’s for adults.
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