New ‘Star Wars: Forces Of Destiny’ Animated Series Features Female Characters At The Center

With the release of the last two Disney/Lucasfilm movies in the ‘Star Wars’ saga featuring some much needed diversity, especially when it comes to lead female characters, it’s easy to see why the new animated ‘Star Wars’ series on the Disney Channel has done the same.

Released on July 3rd, ‘Star Wars: Forces of Destiny’ is centered around major females in the saga in a series of short videos, including favorites like Leia from the original trilogy (not to mention her recent cameos), Rey from ‘The Force Awakens‘, Jyn Erso from ‘Rogue One’, Padme Amidala, and other animated favorites such as Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla, and more.

Fans will also hear some familiar voices — Daisy Ridley (Rey), Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso), Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), and Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata, narrating the series) will all reprise their roles for the show. For the new generation of young ‘Star Wars’ fans, a collection of clothing and toys will also be available this summer though a partnership with Hasbro.

We’re not surprised Disney and Lucasfilm are continuing the female empowerment streak because if box office numbers are anything to go by, audiences are more than happy to see girls kick some butt on screen as much as the boys. Not only is ‘The Force Awakens’ the highest grossing ‘Star Wars’ film ever, it officially surpassed ‘Avatar’ as the highest grossing film in the US of all time.

And it’s not just the ‘Star Wars’ films that have been exciting audiences with its badass female characters on screen, this summer saw the release of the very first ‘Wonder Woman’ feature-length movie, which made over $100 million in its opening weekend. That is a phenomenal number for the DC Extended Universe, which struggled to do the same with recent iterations from its Batman and Superman franchises, and let’s not forget the abysmal reception for ‘Suicide Squad’.

After the past few years of hearing and seeing many women in Hollywood speak out against the ingrained sexism, the lack of complex roles for females, and the dearth of opportunities behind the camera for female directors and writers, seeing the slow tide of change is encouraging, and we hope it will continue.

With ‘Forces of Destiny’, younger fans, especially girls, will get to be exposed to a series of leading female characters who aren’t sexualized, aren’t just background or ceremonial props, and aren’t just there to aid the male quest. These women are leading the adventures, they are ones whose stories we follow throughout each video, and they are also giving insight to some character side stories you won’t find in the films.

As Marissa Martinelli from writes, the impact of this 8-part animated series is going to do wonders not just for young fans, but older ones as well, and it proves Disney is clearly listening to what audiences want in terms of diversity.

“The series’ main characters are not just women, but women of different backgrounds and abilities who are brave, kind, and smart. They stand up to Stormtrooper bullies, keep their heads during wampa attacks, and sometimes carry cool-looking swords. They are, in short, the kind of role models who are good for kids of any gender, but will especially do wonders for getting little girls interested in ‘Star Wars’, because with each new female character the franchise introduces, the chances of a kid looking up at the screen and seeing someone she can identify with increases. And as the franchise promises more diverse female characters going forward, its appeal will only grow,” she writes.

The intended aim of the series may not be about generating buzz before the next major film is released, instead what it does do is raise a new generation of fans on content that will hopefully see just as many girls as boys become loyal to one of the world’s biggest cult obsessions. If there’s one thing Disney knows how to do well and effectively, it is marketing to young girls, yet even their bread and butter Disney Princess range is moving toward a more empowering and less sexualized focus.

With so much outcry over the damaging and limited messages around teaching girls to aspire to marriage and finding their “prince charming”, perhaps we are witnessing the advent of a new era of Disney thanks to its ownership of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. And we ain’t mad about it!

You can watch all 8 episodes on Youtube by clicking here. Watch ‘Sands of Jakku’ featuring Rey’s story below:



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