After the frantic The Twins, The Village Bride chooses a much calmer, serene tone for its story. But is the short any good? Let’s talk about episode four of Star Wars Visions: The Village Bride!
In many ways The Village Bridge can be considered counterprogramming to The Twins. Where the latter was loud and brash with over the top action, The Village Bride is contemplative, calm and spiritual.
The short features a female Order 66 survivor, simply named “F”, who travels to some unnamed planet with a friend/mentor (not a Jedi though) which was once stripped of most of its resources by the Separatists. Much is only implied in The Village Bride. For example, “F” is still wearing her Padawan braid, she hides part of her face underneath a mask, the obvious reason is a scar on her face she wants to hide, but the actual reason goes much deeper than that. “F” is very much hiding her true self and true nature not just from others, but from herself as well. “F’s” former (now most likely dead) master came from the planet and it’s obious that her mentor brought her to this place for a reason.
On the unnamed planet “F” and her mentor observe some ritual performed by the locals as a young man carries his bride up a path. We soon learn that at least some of the people on the planet have a connection to the Force, but they don’t use it like the Jedi do, they even have a different name for it. They use the Force to commune with the planet and live in harmony with the environment. But the harmony is seriously disturbed by raiders who filled the power vacuum left behind when the Separatists occupying the planet were defeated, they reprogrammed the battle droids left behind and use them to terrorize the locals. The raiders demand collateral, i.e. hostages, and in stead of the village elder a woman is chosen, and it turns out the bride is this year’s “sacrifice”. The bride’s sister wants to fight though, but almost all villagers are devoid of hope and have submitted to their fate. This conflict is a mirror of “F’s” inner turmoil, which is never spelled out but implied.
Going to her master’s home planet and observing the locals trying to live in harmony changes “F” who finally decides to stop hiding under her shell. She removes her mask, cuts off her Padawan braid and when the raiders come she and her mentor defeat them in spectacular fashion. The mentor then stays behind to help the villagers and “F” goes on her way in her spaceship.
I suppose some may consider The Village Bride to be either boring or underwhelming. Nothing really happens for a long time, there is no action, no obvious drama really, but in my opinion this serene and calm approach to Star Wars is actually quite beautiful. Also, it is very rare for Star Wars to show us the lives of normal people in more detail, since the movies and shows usually center around the various heroes (for obvious reasons). What comes closest here is the season 1 Mandalorian episode “Sanctuary” where we meet villagers who live in harmony with their surroundings but are constantly under threat by evil raiders. “The Village Bride” is basically the same concept, but with added spirituality and “F”, as the main character, undergoes more of a personal inner journey here.
Where the episode falls short is in its art. In my opinion something like this needs Studio Ghibli levels of detail, with stunning visuals. But since this is a short on a budget much of the backgrounds are very stylized, not offering much detail, which is a pity since the story would greatly benefit from less stylized art.
And while the Village Bride may not cover any new ground really, the story about an Order 66 survivor who has lost herself in many ways still has great potential for more. A spiritual approach to Star Wars which is much more character than action focused could be a welcome addition to the roster of Star Wars shows. While it may not ever get the same kind of audience as The Mandalorian, I feel that the spiritual side of things often gets overlooked in the various movies and shows. Which is understandable, action is what the general audience prefers, but on Disney+ Lucasfilm does have the freedom to offer entertainment that is somewhat more niche perhaps. The adventures of “F” absolutely have potential.
Also, in my opinion this 17 minute short gave us a more compelling female Jedi than the sequels, if Rey had been someone like “F” the sequels would have turned out very differently. And yes, Jedi wearing transformer high heels are cool.
A quick word about the music: while maybe not typically Star Wars the music for this episode is haunting, beautiful and fits the spiritual theme. While songs with melancholy female vocals may be a typical anime ingredient it’s new for Star Wars. Lucasfilm may want to release the soundtrack for Visions.
And if you wonder what the “chicken scratch” in the caption is… it’s my attempt at writing Hiragana… and it simply says “Watashi wa Jedi”- “I am a Jedi”, this is the moment “F” accepts who she is and stops hiding from everyone, including herself. I like that moment much more than the “I am all the Jedi” in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s much more personal and intimate and ultimately more meaningful. This is what you get when someone who understands Star Wars writes a script vs someone who is all spectacle and no substance.
But what did you think of The Village Bride? Did it bore you? Did you enjoy it? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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