First short in 'Star Wars: Forces of Destiny' has Rey and BB-8 on the run

Very seldom does a week go by without bringing at least one new piece of Star Wars-related news — even when that week falls on Independence Day. Per ScreenCrush, the latest from a galaxy far, far, away, is the first in a series of animated shorts entitled, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny.

This first installment (embedded above) is called Sands of Jakku and gives us a peek at Rey and BB-8 palling around on the perilous planet. The main action comes when the pair are chased by a formidable, subterranean, junk-eating beast known as a nightwatcher worm, and it is hardly spoiling anything to say that both manage to escape the ordeal in one piece. We actually got a fleeting glimpse of the monster’s (antennae?) in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, but when it rears its ugly head (and we do mean ugly), we realize there was something far more frightening waiting just beneath the desert sand.

The 2 minute, 48 second-long film is primarily meant to fill in the gaps between scenes from the most recent installment of the Star Wars franchise and will be followed by a new one each day at 1:00 p.m. (ET) until Sunday, when the collected shorts will air on The Disney Channel. Don’t expect anything revelatory out of this series but — if you’re looking for a fun little diversion to tide you over until Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi — this may just do the trick.

That said, you shouldn’t expect Disney to phone these in, either. The studio has Daisy Ridley voicing Rey in this first animated adventure and subsequent entries will feature Rogue One’s Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), as well as Star Wars Rebels cast members like Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren) and Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla). To top it off, Lupita Nyong’o narrates the series as Maz Kanata.

That’s not a bad lineup for a side project and it will be fun to see what these shorts have in store for some of the series’ new stars.

You can watch the trailer for the series below and — to all those celebrating the upcoming holiday — may the Fourth (of July) be with you.