After dropping some cryptic tweets hinting at a collaboration with LucasFilm that sent certain corners of the internet into a tizzy, Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli’s Star Wars project has been revealed to be… a short film?
Now available to stream exclusively on Disney+, Zen - Grogu and Dust Bunnies is unlike anything else in the Star Wars universe. Successfully relying on hand-drawn animation and a dialogue-free story, the three-minute short unites Grogu (better known as Baby Yoda) and the Dust Bunnies (better known in Japanese as Suswatari) from previous Studio Ghibli films My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.
The film’s opening frame of a single drop of falling water carries viewers through to a bare-bones rendition of Grogu, sleeping peacefully as he twirls to a stop hovering above the surface of the water. From there, minimal tones and striking visuals create a powerful sense of serenity that endures even when the Dust Bunnies show up to greet him.
Since Disney acquired LucasFilm in 2012, it’s produced more Star Wars films and TV series and of course added massive attractions to its theme parks. But much of what’s been produced was quite similar to what made the franchise a juggernaut: big-budget action-adventure fare made for the masses. Zen is a departure that feels more like a lighthearted experiment than a serious tentpole title. Here’s hoping that, alongside Andor and The Mandalorian, there’s room for smaller, stranger titles that expand upon the excitement of the Star Wars universe.
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