“I really wanted these characters to be inspired by real people.” The director behind the heartwarming Aardman Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 Briefly spoke to StarWars.com.
“Meet the Visionaries” is a series of StarWars.com interviews with the directors of Star Wars: Visions Volume 2now streaming on Disney+.
“I’m Your Mother” is stop-motion Star Wars: Visions Short Volume 2 from the legendary UK-based animation studio Aardman. Although the saga has a solid history of using this time-honored technique in its films and television shows, from Dejarik Chessmen through Star Wars: A New Hope of “scrapwalkers” in Season 2 of The Mandalorianthis is the first time it has been used to tell a complete, formal story in star Wars galaxy.
The short film follows the relationship between a young Twi’lek student named Annie (short for Annisoukaline) and her loving mother Kalina, who, though initially distant and strained in their relationship, grow closer during a high-stakes race through the Chandrilan capital of the city of Hana. Along the way, they face friends, enemies, and a whole host of obstacles, both in the sky and in their cockpit.
For the film’s writer and director, Polish-born Magdalena Osinska, this project was the definition of a dream come true. “My first dream was to work at Aardman and my second was to make star Wars movie,” Osinska tells StarWars.com. “I have worked at Aardman for 16 years, working on commercials and short films, including some live performances. But stalling has always been my ‘thing’. Love it.”
After Aardman was selected as one of the nine studios participating in the Visions Volume 2, the film’s story-making process draws from both star Wars history as well as personal experience. “When I first got the job, I tried to think about what excited me star Wars and, to be honest,” Osinska recalls, “the first thing that came to mind was the famous line, ‘I am your father.’
“Now that I’m a mother, I’ve started to analyze myself a lot as a parent. I was thinking about mine mother and I understand her much better,” continues Osinska. “I knew I wanted to make a film about the mother-daughter relationship and motherhood in general… but with a much more positive spin on that original line.”
The characters of Annie and Kalina are classic Aardman characters, usually portrayed as outsiders in the studio’s previous animated classics such as Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. Osinska also drew from the world around her. “I really wanted these characters to be inspired by real people. The mother is inspired by both my mother and me because I think my son will eventually put his mother to shame with her Polish accent and quirks. Z-1 [their droid] is based on my old sausage dog and many of the background characters are inspired by mums at my son’s school.’
Her experience of emigrating from Poland also came into play. “I wanted the characters to be aliens, Twi’leks, because that’s how I felt when I moved to the UK from Poland,” says Osinska. “There was a whole backstory: they came from a distant fishing planet and moved to Chandrila so Annie could study to be a pilot.”
Throughout the short, eagle-eyed viewers can spot numerous Easter eggs in the detail-packed short. For example, in Annie’s bed, the Aardman team placed posters of her idols, including Wedge Antilles and Hera Syndula, as well as a poster of the band Star Waver, who appeared in the first season of Visions in the short “Tatooine Rhapsody”.
There is another hidden detail that Osinska is particularly proud of. “I don’t know if anyone has realized this, but there is a shop in the market with ‘Luke Skywalker-touched items’, including his hand, as well as the original lightsaber that he lost. We’ve read that fans are wondering how Maz Kanata got the saber before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so we wanted to ‘solve’ the mystery,” she says. “If you look closely, you can see her hand stealing it.”
Another connection to the overall saga comes in a surprising way: Wedge Antilles’ character acts as the spokesperson for the family fun school day, with the original actor, Dennis Lawson, reprising his role. “We were looking for a character who would be some kind of idol for Annie, someone she could look up to as a pilot,” says Osinska. “I couldn’t believe we could get Dennis and so there was a lot of excitement in the studio when we found out he had agreed.”
With all these elements in place, “I Am Your Mother” is a classic star Wars a story about family, dreams and inner strength. “I hope the film is relatable on several levels,” says Osinska. “Ultimately, it’s about a character having to admit that something she thought was a weakness, where she came from, is actually her strength.” It’s about believing in yourself and your family.”
With all that said, I Am Your Mother ultimately has a single purpose.
“It is star Wars a love letter to all mothers.