I’ve been a fan of Studio D’ART SHTAJIO for quite some time. While they haven’t led too many projects, they’ve been vital as key and 2nd key animators on series like Tokyo Ghoul, Fire Force, and One Piece across various episodes. The first Black-owned animation studio in Japan, D’ART SHTAJIO, gets a chance to shine in Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 8, “The Pit.” In this emotional and mostly silent episode, a fearless young prisoner, Crux (Daveed Diggs), forced to dig for kyber by the Empire, plans a risky escape for himself and his people. The short is directed and written by Leandre Thomas, co-directed by Justin Ridge, and is produced by Lucasfilm Ltd.
The setting of the episode is simple, prisoners of all ages are made to work by the Empire digging kyber as they build a utopian city in the distance. The episode starts by showing the audience a forward progression of time after witnessing the inhuman conditions the prisoners are kept in. Fitted in orange jumpsuits, they dig and dig down until they hit bedrock, creating an inescapable pit in the process, all while a city blooms in the distance, sparkling with light.
When the kyber dig is complete, years after it began, there are children now, and with them comes a hope to leave. As their shackles fall off, they expect to leave but instead are abandoned as the Empire leaves them. It’s a stark story and one that keeps the audience in hopelessness for the majority of its short runtime. Even when a young prisoner escapes, his ending is tragic, and it’s hard to keep seeing how the story can keep moving forward. That is until the young man’s sacrifice saves his people.
Featuring one of the saddest moments in Star Wars Visions Volume 2, “The Pit” looks to show the audience resiliency in spite of the pain. Or, in other words, what rebellions are made of. That said, it doesn’t make the pill go down any easier, particularly since the violence happens to Black characters by the Empire. And while it did make me uncomfortable, given the real events in the United States, sometimes being uncomfortable is important.
Read Our Full Review Of Star Wars Visions Season 2 Here.
Here, in Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 8, the importance of not turning away from the inhumane treatment of others. Kept far beyond the city’s outskirts, the pit is out of sight and never once entered the mind of the kyber city. When confronted with injustice, the city acts, and while this is the scenario is one we hope for, this is fantasy after all. And in that fantasy, I want to see the wish fulfillment of justice being done. Of lives not being valued, of lives being taken for no other reason than that authorities can not be without impact.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 8 is an episode that allows the situation and reactions to it to speak for itself. “The Pit” doesn’t need extensive explanations of why what is happening is wrong; it just needs to show the audience and, from that, make us move to action. Like the citizens of a city built on the abuse and labor of those they can not see, we have to acknowledge where we all are and that we can listen to the voices asking for help and dignity.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 8 is streaming now on Disney+ with the entire anthology.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 8 — "The Pit"
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 8 is an episode that allows the situation and reactions to it to speak for itself. “The Pit” doesn’t need extensive explanations of why what is happening is wrong; it just needs to show the audience and, from that, make us move to action.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.