The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: Visions #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Introduced in the Star Wars: Visions animated series on Disney+, fan-favorite character “the Ronin” returns in Marvel’s Star Wars: Visions #1 (by Takashi Okazaki and Joe Caramagna of VC). Okazaki worked on the Disney+ series as a character designer, which has a second season in the works. Steeped in the culture of feudal JapanThe Ronin features a character that is the perfect blend of something new and something familiar.
Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm, fans have been wanting something new from the star wars property, while fearing that the new star wars the content will not be recognizable by the dedicated fan base. It’s a balancing act that Disney has found itself faltering in, struggling to create new stories with old characters. But with Star Wars: Visionsand more precisely the character of the Ronin, Disney has a bona fide win on the board.
Who is Ronan from Star Wars: Visions?
In The dual On Disney+, the Ronin is presented as a wandering force user similar to the masterless samurai of feudal Japan and survivor of a Sith civil war. Along with his fellow astromech droid, B5-56, the two stop at a small town under siege by a group of Stormtrooper marauders led by another Sith. The comic simply offers another adventure in the life of the Ronin. Both stories are engaging, but for Star Wars, they’re pretty straightforward. However, the characters and concepts are much richer and offer a large amount of possible extensions and new knowledge.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Ronin is that he’s a good guy with a red Sith lightsaber. Little is known about The Ronin, but at the end of The dual, we see that he collected red kyber crystals, the power source for any lightsaber. His aesthetic is almost exactly that of a traditional samurai, from his wardrobe to his sword scabbard (which also houses a second secret lightsaber blade). The comic is a new story and is pretty much in line with what we see in the episode, but it takes some visual liberties with aspects of The Ronin. In particular, his movements and the dynamics of his lightsaber.
Star Wars: Visions advances through character and concept
Both in The dual and comics, Okazaki took familiar characters and concepts, but built them in a way that makes them fresh for the star wars galaxy. All Stormtrooper armor is incomplete and patched with bamboo limbs and grizzled metal parts. One of the best designs is the mini gun-wielding protocol droid wearing the traditional Japanese hakama. Okazaki also introduces a new Sith, Lord Kouru, in The dual who wields a parasol, similar to the weapons seen in Japanese action cinema. In the comic, he adds to the Sith lineup with a splash page of 18 more new Sith, each with their own unique red lightsaber, including kyber-powered machetes, bo staffs, and glowing red palm blasters. All from battles of the Ronin’s past, defeated, and added to his kyber crystal collection.
With the characters, Okazaki plays timidly with the concept of good and evil; Jedi and Sith. It creates a strong sense of ambiguity and sends the whole world back to the Akira Kurosawa films that George Lucas was so influenced by when he created star wars. Because of this, the comic creates a sense of heightened tension when the Ronin encounters a stranger on the road who wishes to join his company for the night. The Ronin deduces that the Stranger is a Jedi and is here to kill him, and in a daydream scenario envisions the two locked in battle. But instead, they both part ways destined to meet again.
A curious thing at the end of the issue is that Ronin refers to his droid as “master”. Using the Ronin theme juxtaposed with the Jedi theme, and even the Sith, it’s interesting that Okazaki leaves this open to interpretation for the reader. Another new twist on a traditional concept of star wars. It has not been announced if this is just a one-shot or if there will be a second issue, or possibly an ongoing series. But even more than another animated episode featuring these characters in season 2the Visions the comic lends itself to a real fork, to step away from Skywalker lore and create something brand new that lives in this galaxy that fans love. Okazaki manages to bring diversity in both culture and concept into one issue, something star wars wrote the book about, and will continue to do so with ideas like Visions.