Though an anime-inspired new animated Star Wars cartoon series will debut in just two weeks, a new fan-created trailer for A New Hope might be the best new Star Wars you’ll watch all year. Last week, a fan named Arhiman created an “animotion trailer” for the original Star Wars film, but this time, reimagined as a true Anime film, in Japenese, with English subtitles. It’s not only a totally beautiful piece of work, but it will also give you chills thinking about an alternate universe where this was the Star Wars the world got.
The funny thing is this trailer proves that George Lucas’s original intent — to crib from common story archetypes to create something instantly familiar on a psychological level — totally worked in retrospect. Even though you know the story of Star Wars, this Anime-trailer makes you feel like it’s brand new again.
But, beyond the sheer beauty of the animation and editing, there’s something else interesting about the trailer. Whether creator Arhiman knew it or not, it sort of gestures at one of Lucas’s original ideas for the first Star Wars: casting Japanese actors.
Before Alec Guinness became Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1976, George Lucas wanted to cast legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune in the role. Because Lucas had been so inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s films like The Hidden Fortress, it made sense of him to go after Kurosawa’s leading man; Mifune. But, famously, Mifune turned down the role, and the studio suggested Lucas think about casting Alec Guinness. The rest is history.
But, a more diverse 1977 Star Wars seems to exist out there in the ether of alternate realities of pop culture, and the excellent Anime-version of this A New Hope trailer feels like an echo from one of that wonderful roads-not-taken.
To be clear, there is no actual nor official Anime-version of Star Wars: A New Hope in the works. However, the Anime-inspired series, Star Wars: Resistance hits the Disney Channel on October 9.