TV Review – Punkrobot’s “In the Stars” Combines Stop-Motion Animation with CGI for “Star Wars: Visions” Vol. 2

The third short film in Volume 2 of Lucasfilm’s innovative animation project Star Wars: Visions comes from the Chilean studio Punkrobot (creators of Bear Story, Guitar and Drum, and Wow Lisa), and is entitled “In the Stars.” This piece tells the story of a technologically primitive civilization whose planet has been invaded by the Empire, and the two sisters who learn to work together in order to take down their destructive enemy.

“In the Stars” begins with these sisters, named Koten (voiced by Valentina Muhr from Night Across the Street) and Tichina (newcomer Julia Oviedo), reminiscing about better times for their world before the Empire arrived and built a refinery, which blocked out the skies with its smoke. This story is told via an animated cave painting drawn in-story by Tichina, and through which we learn about the deaths of the sisters’ parents– also by Imperial hands as they attempted to stage a rebellion. Then comes the time for Koten to sneak into the factory to retrieve a meager supply of water to sustain the sisters for another short while, but young Tichina wants to join in the quest– not to mention take it quite a bit further, hoping to end the Empire’s presence on the planet altogether.

Naturally this culminates with Tichina sneaking her way into the facility, a big, incredibly impressively animated climactic action sequence, a confrontation with the Imperial officer in charge (Game of Thrones’ always wonderfully wicked Kate Dickie), and lastly a summoning of the Force– which tends to be the way these Visions shorts go, for better or worse. At least there isn’t a lightsaber duel, and the Force definitely does work as a metaphor for hope here, with the ultimate destruction of the refinery finally clearing the skies above the planet and the light returning to Tichina’s paintings via the stars. On the whole, “In the Stars” is a really touching tale of family and unity in the face of oppression, and the technical prowess on display by Punkrobot Studio really brings the whole thing together via a mix of old and new media that combine to make something very special.

My Vol. 2 ranking so far (gosh this is just so very difficult):

1 – “Screecher’s Reach”

2 – “In the Stars”

3 – “Sith”

Star Wars: Visions Vol. 2 is now streaming 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.