Fans of sci-fi, fantasy and superhero entertainment have complained for years about the lack of merchandise featuring female characters. Now it appears Disney and Lucasfilm have responded with "Star Wars: Forces of Destiny," animated shorts and related toys devoted to the female heroes of the beloved saga.
According to Entertainment Weekly, both the "Star Wars: Forces of Destiny" shorts and toys will focus on key female characters: Leia Organa, Padmé Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, Rey, Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla and Jyn Erso. The shorts will see several "Star Wars" actors reprise their roles, with Daisy Ridley as Rey, Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Tiya Sirdar as Sabine Wren and Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla.
Lupita Nyong'o will return to her role as Maz Kanata from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to narrate the 16 animated shorts, which are considered canon, with many stories set in and around events depicted in the films. However, executive producer Carrie Beck has already teased that one episode will feature the first on-screen interaction between Han Solo and Hera Syndulla from "Star Wars Rebels."
The shorts are due to debut on Disney’s YouTube channel, with the first eight episodes arriving in July. A second batch will follow in the fall, when the entire series will be broadcast on the Disney Channel as two half-hour specials.
Accompanying the animation will be a line of 11-inch "adventure figures,” intended to combine elements from traditional dolls, such as non-molded hair, with the articulation and accessories of traditional action figures. In addition to the core heroes, the line will also feature several other key "Star Wars" characters, including Chewbacca, R2-D2, BB-8, Luke Skywalker (also with non-molded hair), Yoda and the villainous Kylo Ren.
Expect to hear more about the new "Forces of Destiny" shorts and toys at the "Heroines of Star Wars" panel Friday during Star Wars Celebration, which will include contributions from executive producers Dave Filoni and Carrie Beck, and voice actors Ashley Eckstein and Tiya Sirdar.