‘Star Wars Visions’ Director Kenji Kamiyama Confirms ‘The Ninth Jedi’ Is a Pilot Episode
‘The Ninth Jedi’ has quickly become a fan-favorite short among the many featured in last month’s anime anthology Star Wars Visions, and many fans were left wondering whether it was supposed to set up a potential series or not. Now, we might have an answer.
While other shorts are open-ended as well, there’s something about the way in which ‘The Ninth Jedi’ is structured and told — it largely feels like the first act of a grand story, toying with common Star Wars narrative beats and setting up both a surprising threat and new mechanics that work well with the established lore from a galaxy far, far away. Furthermore, the story takes place centuries into the future of the universe, effectively making it “possible” within the current canon, as its rules and overall style fit in nicely and don’t negate what we’ve seen before.
During an interview with Japanese site Oricon News, director Kenji Kamiyama, from Production IG, had a lot to say about the creative process behind the short, its story, and how he feels about its place within the franchise. The most important bits have been translated here by Twitter user @NorskAkiruno, and there’s quite a bit to chew on.
He first delved into why and how he crafted the story that we ended up seeing — it largely became a reality because it was a story he, as a longtime Star Wars fan, would’ve liked to see on the big screen. Moreover, putting some distance between the end of the Skywalker saga and the beginning of this tale allowed him to come up with a whole new balance of power in the galaxy (the entire “mapping” process took him only two weeks).
Kamiyama also claimed to spend tons of time fleshing out his characters’ backstories, and his work on Star Wars Visions was no different. However, and despite the short’s runtime (the longest in the series), there’s a lot more to tell about Kara, Ethan, and the rest of characters who are alive by the end of the action-packed and deadly episode. When the interviewer asked him about a possible continuation, Kamiyama said he’d love to have an opportunity to at least make a film out of it:
“I’d love to have the chance to make a full length feature out of this. I feel I have a complete story in place.”
He also agrees that the essential magic of Star Wars is how it tells the story of “a young nobody that sets across the galaxy.” In his opinion, it’s part of the reason why we relate so easily to the Skywalker saga films. And he’s totally right.
In another interview, also translated by the same user, Kamiyama explained why and how the number 9 is important for the story. According to him, it all goes back to 9 due to the power of maths, signifying “rebirth” and “restart” for many people. Here we should take into account that we, as Westerners, are unfamiliar with tons of Asian values and bits of culture/beliefs, so don’t feel to bad if you don’t get it. Still, Star Wars, and the transition between trilogies, is largely about endings that become hopeful new beginnings, so we can safely say (especially after watching his amazing short) that Kamiyama gets what makes the franchise so special and everlasting. Give him the chance to continue telling this story, I say.
Francisco J. Ruiz is that guy who has watched Jurassic Park a thousand times and loves Star Wars. His hunger for movies is only matched by his love for video games. He graduated in English Studies from the University of Malaga, in Spain. As he keeps writing about what he enjoys (and doesn’t) for websites all over, he’s continuing his studies.