TV Review – Lucasfilm Partners with D’Art Shtajio for the “Star Wars: Visions” Vol. 2 Class-Struggle Parable “The Pit”

The eighth and penultimate animated short in Star Wars: Visions Vol. 2– entitled “The Pit”– is a unique one, in that it was actually created by Lucasfilm itself, in collaboration with the (Tokyo-based) American animation studios D'Art Shtajio (Sound and Fury, Indigo Ignited), instead of an outside company. Its writer and co-director LeAndre Thomas has contributed to a number of Star Wars projects in the past, including Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi, in their editorial departments and other roles.

“The Pit” tells the story of a group of laborers (or perhaps slaves would be a better word) who are forced by the Empire to dig a hole in the middle of a vast, empty desert in search of Kyber crystals– the rare and precious gems that, in the more familiar Star Wars canon, power the Jedi’s lightsabers. The work is hard and arduous, but the servants keep going, occasionally uncovering one of the crystals for the stormtroopers (the commander of which is voiced by Steve Blum from Star Wars Rebels) to transport back to the prosperous city that has begun growing near the hole. Eventually, with the city booming and the hole tapped out of its natural resources, the work stops– and the exhausted laborers are at first relieved until they realize that the Empire intends to just leave them there to die with no apparent way out now that their usefulness has come to an end. One worker named Crux (Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, who is another Lucasfilm veteran, having voiced a recurring character on the Star Wars Resistance animated series) decides to climb out of the pit despite the great danger involved, and travels to the city to beg for help.

Unfortunately, as he was warned by an old prisoner (Reno 911!’s Cedric Yarbrough), most people just ignore him, and when he takes to a platform to shout his ideas to a larger audience he is taken into custody by stormtroopers and thrown back into the pit, falling to his death. But a young girl named Livy (Jordyn Curet from Home Economics) is inspired by Crux’s sacrifice and leads the other prisoners to chant his mantra “Follow the light!” until the townspeople finally come to help, shaming the Imperials into abandoning the site entirely and bringing up the captives via spaceship. The hand-drawn animation looks nice, and I can’t deny this is an inspirational, hopeful story with a great cast including Anika Noni Rose from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. But “The Pit” is just a little too self-serious for my Star Wars tastes, and the middle section is dour and bleak enough to be depressing. I understand that’s a big part of what the filmmakers are going for, and there are definitely real-world parallels here that are worth examining, but this short is consequently lacking the fun and adventurous nature I look for in A Galaxy Far, Far Away.

My Vol. 2 ranking so far:

1 – “I Am Your Mother”

2 – “Screecher’s Reach”

3 – “The Spy Dancer”

4 – “In the Stars”

5 – “Sith”

6 – “The Bandits of Golak”

7 – “The Pit”

8 – “Journey to the Dark Head”

Star Wars: Visions Vol. 2 is now available to stream in its entirety, exclusively via Disney+.

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Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.