There are many ways to celebrate the third anniversary of one of the most popular streaming services on the market today.
Instead, Walt Disney Co. and Lucasfilms teamed up with Studio Ghibli to cook up something sweet for viewers.
It was announced Friday evening that Ghibli director Katsuya Kondo has created the hand-drawn short Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies in celebration of the third anniversary of Disney+ and Star Wars’ popular series, The Mandalorian.The short debuted on the streaming platform on Saturday, Nov. 12, and can be watched here.
The short gives Grogu a chance a breathe and meet with some playful dust bunnies (also known as soot spirits) while not worrying about hiding from the Empire.
Studio Ghibli is well known for producing nostalgic classics like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro. The company creates endearingly sincere and charming characters, fantastic scripts, and highly detailed and aesthetically pleasing animation.
The beloved Japanese animation studio tweeted the Lucasfilm logo earlier last week, hinting at the upcoming secret collaboration. The teaser was then amplified by Walt Disney Pictures’ President of Marketing Asad Ayaz when he retweeted the Studio Ghibli post with a hinting eye emoji.
This isn’t Studio Ghibli’s first time landing in the Star Wars universe. Lucasfilm teamed up with Japanese animators to bring the beloved animated style to the Disney+ series Star Wars: Visions last year. Studio Ghibli was one of several anime studios to create nine short films within the galaxy far, far away.
“The goal with Visions was always that we wanted this to be authentic Japanese anime,” executive producer James Waugh told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021. “We wanted it to be a true expression from these individual creators in a process that they’re used to. The last thing we wanted to do was be a Western studio that went with our ideas and then really leaned on them for their aesthetic. They were creating stories and concepts that could only come from their unique cultural perspective.”
Waugh credited Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for being “very instrumental” in bringing Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s work into the U.S.
Studio Ghibli is not the only filmmaking company helping Lucasfilm expand the galaxy of Star Wars. Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi is taking charge of a new franchise installment that will introduce entirely new characters and bring a new perspective into the universe. Deadpooldirector Shawn Levy and Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins are also in talks to direct an upcoming Star Wars film.
As the universe expands, it is exciting to see Lucasfilm collaborate with beloved studios and filmmakers with exciting visual languages.
What collaboration would you love to see from Lucasfilm? Let us know in the comments!