Despite the presence of Princess Leia, Queen Amidala, Rey, and Jyn Erso on our screens, it can’t be said often enough: the Star Wars franchise isn’t just for boys.
That point will be driven home this summer by a new initiative called Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. It’s a series of toys and cartoons, aimed at a younger demographic, where the women of Star Wars take center stage.
Narrated by Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), Forces of Destiny will offer 16 animated shorts, each around three minutes long, which will be available online and on the Disney Channel beginning in July.
Daisy Ridley voices Rey, Felicity Jones reprises her Rogue One role as Jyn, while Shelby Young (American Horror Story) steps in to speak for Leia. Also getting a cartoon of their own: Padme Amidala, Ahsoka Tano (Clone Wars) and Sabine (Rebels).
Some of those characters will meet each other, and the stories will count as Star Wars canon. The show, animated by a San Francisco company called Ghost Bot, will absolutely pass the Bechdel test, Lucasfilm says.
These tales focus on “what it means to be a hero, what it means to be a good friend,” says Paul Southern, VP of licensing at Lucasfilm.
For example, a short called “Tracker Trouble” takes place during the events of The Force Awakens, and shows Rey defusing a bomb set on the Millennium Falcon by its former owner, Unkar Plutt, saving the lives of Han, Chewie and Finn.
Here’s another glimpse of Rey in action, voiced by Ridley:
Alongside the shorts, Hasbro is launching a new line of 11-inch “adventure figures” with real hair, retailing for $20 apiece.
Just don’t call them Barbie dolls — they’re a lot more posable, not to mention realistically proportioned.
Perhaps the oddest part of the whole lineup — Hasbro’s first full-hair Chewbacca figure, which looks a little more Planet of the Apes than the Wookiee we know and love.
Will Forces of Destiny catch on and become a full-fledged animated series? Only the Force knows for sure — but it’s certainly about time.