‘Star Wars: Visions’ Adds Classic Aardman Stop-Motion in Vol. 2

With "I Am Your Mother," director Magdalena Osinska takes Aardman into the "Star Wars" universe with British wit, stop-motion prowess, and girl power.
"I am Your Mother" from "Star Wars: Visions Volume 2"
Aardman's "I Am Your Mother" from "Star Wars: Visions" Vol. 2
Lucasfilm Ltd.

When Lucasfilm asked legendary Aardman (“Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget”) to participate in “Volume 2” of the “Star Wars: Visions” animated anthology (currently streaming on Disney+), the Bristol stop-motion studio came through with the amusing day at the races comedy “I Am Your Mother.” For director Magdalena Osinska (“Share the Orange” Alzheimer’s U.K. Research campaign), it was an opportunity to not only introduce Aardman wit and handmade prowess to the “Star Wars” universe but to emphasize girl power and maternal pride as well.

In the lively, 10-minute short, Anni (Charithra Chandran), a Twi’lek teen and promising pilot, refuses to enter the annual parent-child starship race because she’s embarrassed by her clinging mom, Kalina (Maxine Peake). That is, until Kalina shows up and urges Anni to take on the snooty favorites: Julan Van Reeple (Bebe Cave) and mom Dorota (Daisy Haggard).

“I was thinking: What do I love about ‘Star Wars’? What do I know about ‘Star Wars’? And the first thing that came into my head was the ‘I’m your father’ line,” the Polish-born Osinka told IndieWire. “It’s the most obvious, iconic thing you can think of. And then I thought: OK, I’m a mother. Now, when I constantly think about myself as a mom, it’s whether I’m good enough. So I thought about telling a story about a mother and daughter but a more positive spin than the original inspiration.”

Not only were the main characters based on Osinka and her mom, but many of the other characters were also loosely connected to people she knows. Even the dog droid Z-1 was inspired by her first sausage dog. The theme of alienation was personal as well, reflecting cultural and class prejudices that she experienced after emigrating to the U.K.

(L-R): Anni and Kalina in a scene from the "STAR WARS: VISIONS, Volume 2” short by Aardman, “I AM YOUR MOTHER”, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
“I Am Your Mother,” part of Disney+’s “Star Wars: Visions” Vol. 2Lucasfilm Ltd.

“That was exactly the inspiration,” she added. “And I really wanted the [mother and daughter] to be aliens, so there is that story about not fitting in. There was actually quite a big backstory about coming to a new place [Hanna City] and figuring out how things worked. We approached it almost like a feature film. We had so much material to use. We initially had a scene where Anni and Kalina were moving from a very far away fishing planet.”

Osinka chose the popular Twi species (most notable for the pair of long appendages protruding from their skulls) because they are recognizable and have strong silhouettes. But they had to work quickly to build the puppets, spaceships, and sets to look like they belonged in the “Star Wars” universe. That meant using different textiles and fabrics than Aardman is used to.

“I really was inspired by the costumes, and, just in general, the detail and the depth and the layers of ‘Star Wars,'” she added. “Usually, at Aardman, we’d have latex clothes, and, in this one, we had the real fabrics that ‘Star Wars’ would use. With the puppets, we actually went a little too far into ‘Star Wars,’ I’d say. We needed to circle back to the Aardman style and make it more stylish and simplified. The characters have humor. But one thing we did that was new was we made the mouths CG because there was no time to print it out for lip sync and expressions. But it worked out well.”

However, there are plenty of “Star Wars” Easter eggs sprinkled throughout, including items owned by Luke at the market, and an appearance by Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles (voiced by returning Denis Lawson). “For example, there is his hand, a rifle, plates, lots of quirky things,” Osinka said. They also addressed how Maz came in possession of the lightsaber Luke lost when Darth struck off his son’s hand. “So we thought we are going to solve this problem, this mystery,” she added. “A little jawa is about steal it, but then we see the orange hand of Maz stealing it ahead of him.”

But at its core, “I Am Your Mother” pays tribute to parents. “I think now, really quite often, that a lot of my talents come from my mom,” Osinka said. “She’s always been very motivating and giving, but I didn’t know it back then.”

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