Star Wars: Resistance is the latest animated series executive produced by Dave Filoni, the man responsible for The Clone Wars and Rebels. This show is meant to cover the period leading up to The Force Awakens from the perspective of Resistance operatives, under the tutelage of Poe Dameron—and it’s while we can’t be sure what the season will bring, in the first episode we’ve already got a fascinating set of characters and a base of operations unlike anything we’ve seen before in this galaxy far, far away.
Resistance follows Kazuda (Kaz) Xiono, a young New Republic pilot who finds himself embroiled in the work of the Resistance when he hands over some important intel to Poe Dameron. Poe sees something in the kid, and asks him to join their cause, stationing Kaz on the Colossus, an aircraft refueling station on the Outer Rim where many of the galaxy’s greatest pilots convene. Poe puts Kaz under the care of Jarek Yeager, a former Rebellion pilot and repair shop owner who agrees to take Kaz on as a mechanic—a skill Kazuda technically doesn’t have—provided he doesn’t bring any of his spying activities back around to them.
Like all first episodes of these animated series (and indeed, often their first seasons), Resistance is finding its footing and the shape of the series isn’t clear yet. Presumably Kaz will make friends and find his place—and eventually discover the undercover First Order operative on Colossus—but the beginning of the series is mostly devoted to setting up the remote locale, introducing interesting denizens, and exploring Kaz’s personality. We also learn quite a bit about Yeager, too, who is something of a father figure to the set of misfits he employs, though he does his level best to pretend he’s not happy with that.
Kazuda is something of an outlier from the central characters we’ve known in Star Wars thus far. While his desire to help and see the wider galaxy at any cost has a ring of Luke Skywalker about it, Kazuda differs in that he’s a relatively privileged kid; he grew up in a stable New Republic, and his father—Senator Hamato Xiono—used his wealth and influence to get Kaz all the things he wanted. He begrudges his son all that the influence has brought him, going so far as to bemoan everything he’s done for the boy and all the help that he requires, but Kaz has been comfortable all his life. The show goes through a great deal of trouble to show what sort of learning exercise this will be for the young man; he’s smart but not that canny, skilled but not too worldly, kind but less experienced in his empathy. His lessons are destined to be nothing like Padawans Ezra Bridger and Ahsoka Tano (the central figures of Rebels and Clone Wars) because Kaz knows very little of war or suffering, and he doesn’t have the Force either.
His new home, Colossus, might feel a bit familiar to fans of the Expanded Universe novels of old. It has aspects of Nar Shaddaa, the Smugglers’ Moon, about it, and other bases throughout the galaxy where people from anywhere can pass through. It’s also on an ocean planet, Castilon, very similar to Kamino where the Clone Troopers are manufactured. And it’s home to some of the greatest pilots in the galaxy, including the Aces, who are a group of racing hotshots. One of those Aces is Torra Doza, daughter of the base’s captain, and though we don’t get to see much of her at the outset, she’s clearly going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Yeager’s crew are also a fun lot—we don’t get to see much of mechanic Tam Ryvora, but she’s the one vying for his starfighter, the Fireball, provided she can fix it up. Then there’s Neeku Bozo, a member of the Kadas’sa’Nikto species. (One of the first appearing Nikto’s in the Star Wars films was named Klaatu. Yes, George Lucas really did make that joke in the prequels.) Neeku is gloriously literal, which is part of what gets Kaz into trouble in the first place; when Neeku hears Kaz wishing to be the galaxy’s best pilot, he thinks that Kaz is boasting about actually being the best pilot, which the then spreads word of all over Colossus. While his earnestness is a bit over the top, it’s clear that he has his own journey to go on in terms of growth.
Also, Yeager has a one-hundred-year-old astromech droid named “Bucket.” Which is my favorite thing.
BB-8 rounds out the crew, having been lent to Kaz while he acclimates to his new spying gig. (Is this a thing Poe does all the time? Just lends BB out to all his favorite people as a sign of affection and belief in them? It kinda seems to be his thing.) But they’re not the only people making the place interesting—like all great Star Wars locales, Colossus has that Mos Eisley flair, featuring characters that the series is all too keen to give screen time. Think the “Tales of…” books in the ’90s, but peppered all through a long running serial program. This time, the favored tavern is run by a Gilliand named Aunt Z, who makes her money off the races that track around Colossus. There’s a whole network here to explore, and no shortage fun folks to make friends (or foes) of.
It’s an auspicious start to Star Wars: Resistance, even if the overall feel of the show has yet to be established. It’s just a matter of time to see what the story can really get up to—so here’s hoping for a good run.