Lucasfilm recently announced Star Wars: Visions, an animated anthology that will tell fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios. The official Star Wars website has announced author Emma Mieko Candon will write a novel based on Star Wars: Visions short “The Duel”, the short animated film by director Takanobu Mizuno. The site also released the cover and plot details for Star Wars Ronin: A Visions Novel.
The Jedi are the most loyal servants of the Empire.
Two decades ago, Jedi clans clashed in service to feuding lords. Sickened by this endless cycle, a sect of Jedi rebelled, seeking to control their own destiny and claim power in service of no master. They called themselves Sith.
The Sith rebellion failed, succumbing to infighting and betrayal, and the once rival lords unified to create an Empire…but even an Empire at peace is not free from violence.
Far on the edge of the Outer Rim, one former Sith wanders, accompanied only by a faithful droid and the ghost of a less civilized age. He carries a lightsaber, but claims lineage to no Jedi clan, and pledges allegiance to no lord. Little is known about him, including his name, for he never speaks of his past, nor his regrets. His history is as guarded as the red blade of destruction he carries sheathed at his side.
As the galaxy’s perpetual cycle of violence continues to interrupt his self-imposed exile, and he is forced to duel an enigmatic bandit claiming the title of Sith, it becomes clear that no amount of wandering will ever let him outpace the specters of his former life.
This is Emma Mieko Candon also first journey into Star Wars.
“In brief, jidaigeki [period dramas], Japanese monsters and folklore, and war trauma” inspired Ronin, Candon says. “The Duel is very much in conversation with period dramas a la [Akira] Kurosawa, while the latter two felt like natural Japanese extensions of the ‘Star’ and ‘Wars’ parts of Star Wars. Jidaigeki love samurai as protagonists because they’re suspicious of samurai as a class, and our Ronin falls right into that trope. I had to ask how this man rejected (or was rejected by) his social role, and why he continues to cleave to it. Why does he still carry that tell-tale red blade? And why does he hunt his own?”
While Ronin looks to be a character study though The Duel’s singular lens, it’s also something else. Ronin will reflect parts of Candon’s own story, as well. “A Star Wars movie made me ‘get’ representation, and I’ve tried to honor that feeling in this book for my own sake and for other people,” Candon says. “Besides being Japanese, I’m also a chronically ill, queer cyborg, and all of that showed up in some regard.”
And that ethos is reflective of the spirit or Star Wars: Visions: putting one’s own spin, and self, on and into Star Wars.
“I love that Visions as a whole is a grand recursive experiment. A fairy tale of a fairy tale. A myth built upon modern mythology,” Candon says. “Also, I think that sometimes I was funny!”
Star Wars: Ronin: A Visions Novel arrives October 12 and is available for pre-order now.