Cartoon Saloon (the Oscar-nominated studio behind “Wolfwalkers”) delivers yet another banger with “Screecher’s Reach,” the story of a kid who dreams of a different life but in her desire for adventure ends up dragging her friends to a haunted cave where a ghost lives.
Director Paul Young described the episode as “an Irish kind of ghost story with a twist,” during a panel at Star Wars Celebration, and it shows. The ghost story, which is not uncommon in Irish mythology, easily blends into the tropes and aesthetics of “Star Wars,” resulting in something unique and special. What appears to be the story of an old lady haunting a cave turns out to have very dark side implications, with the signature Cartoon Saloon visual style tellings a story that feels uniquely Irish while also uniquely star wars.
Likewise, Studio 88 Pictures’ “The Bandits of Golak” tells the story of two siblings in the time of the Empire, but blends the traditional designs and iconography of the galaxy far, far away with authentic music, costumes, and designs of Indian culture to create something new and fresh — with fantastic visuals. Even “The Spy Dancer” by French Studio La Cachette directly references the history of the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation.
Then there’s Studio PunkRobot’s “In the Stars,” directed by Gabriel Osorio Vargas. The episode tells a story of oppression and rebellion, about two sisters navigating the desolate wasteland that used to be her home before the Empire destroyed it to mine for resources. What makes the episode special, however, is that it’s heavily inspired by the real genocide of the Selk’nam people of Patagonia.