star wars resistance elijah wood

Like Star Wars Rebels before it, Star Wars Resistance met some, no pun intended, resistance with certain Star Wars fans – especially fans who feel the Disney XD series is targeted specifically to kids and not themselves. But Star Wars Resistance is already showing signs of moving past its initial childlike wonder into a richer story that will weave itself into the larger Star Wars tapestry as a whole.

Fans aren’t wrong in the sense that both Resistance and Rebels have a younger age demographic target. When you’re a Star Wars animated series on a Disney Channel, that’s sort of par for the course. That said, as we learned with Rebels – where a Star Wars animated series starts and where it ends up are two completely different things.

I won’t lie to you. The first episodes of Star Wars Resistance left me… wanting. It was cute. I like cute but it didn’t grab me. Rebels grabbed me from the beginning. But, while I liked everyone on the show as a character, I didn’t hook in immediately. I didn’t watch the episodes multiple times. It was cute. It was amusing. It was Star Wars for kids and that was great and I was happy to leave it at that.

Then I changed my mind. Star Wars Resistance is much more than cute and amusing. It’s important.

The Basics

The overall premise of Star Wars Resistance is fairly straightforward. Resistance starts about six months before the events of The Force Awakens. Kazuda Xiono (Christopher Sean), a wealthy senator’s son, is a pilot in the New Republic who gets recruited into the Resistance by Commander Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Poe needs a spy on the Colossus, a refueling station on Castilon in the Outer Rim near Wild Space. The Colossus is home to all sorts of people and species, essentially a floating cantina, and hosts some of the best racers in the galaxy. The racers, known as the Aces, also serve as the station’s security forces so they’re deployed if there are attacks from pirates or other outside threats – but racing is what the Colossus is all about.

Poe sends Kaz in to pose as an aspiring racer, but his real job is to spy for the New Republic as word has reached them that there’s a First Order spy on the Colossus. Poe sets Kaz up with a former Republic pilot and current repair shop owner Jarek Yeager (Scott Lawrence), who’s doing this as a favor but isn’t going to give Kaz an easy ride, telling him,  “You can work as a mechanic on my team. But when it comes to your mission as a spy, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

Soon, Kaz is part of Jarek’s repair crew, also known as Team Fireball thanks to a ship they’ve been working on (and working on, and working on). Team Fireball includes Neeku Vozo (Josh Brener), Tam Ryvora (Susie McGrath), and R1-J5 aka “Bucket”. Now in place, Kaz has to try and balance life on Team Fireball and his duties there with his spying duties.

Let’s just say wacky hijinks ensue. Kaz is, well, Kaz. He’s a kid who comes from a pretty easy life. Life on the Colossus is very different than what he’s used to and many of the early episodes include Kaz getting himself into situations, alone or with his friends, and then having to get himself out. It’s a little slapstick. A little serious. And a whole lot of lesson learning. Sweet, funny, cute.

Just When You Thought You Knew

I think it’s safe to say I was just “okay” when it came to Star Wars Resistance, then I noticed something….changing. It was small things, at first. A First Order officer arriving on The Colossus. Refugees showing up who were being chased by the First Order. Fear bubbling underneath the usually casual demeanor of the numerous species and denizens of the Colossus who gather for things like races and refueling needs.

Pirates began attacking with more frequency and, in what looked like a coincidence (we discover later that it’s anything but), the First Order was there to offer assistance in battling the threat. The leader of the Colossus, Captain Doza, brushes off the offers, unwilling to give up any control of his station and believing his Aces can handle the threat. But it’s easy to see that the First Order officer in charge of this effort, Commander Pyre, isn’t about to let this go.

I’ve often wondered how the Empire occupied worlds. How entire planets could end up ruled by a totalitarian regime. It’s not like any planet just hands over their freedom and security because the Empire shows up. Events occur. People make choices. Fear grows and spreads. We saw it on Lothal in Star Wars Rebels, but Star Wars Resistance highlights the machinations behind the takeover in much more detail. By the end of the season, the Colossus is fully occupied and we’ve watched it unfold without even realizing it right until it’s happened. That’s pretty ballsy for a kid’s show.

One of the biggest moves the series made in its first season was tying it into the current film canon. When the series was announced, we knew Resistance took place before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But we didn’t know how far ahead. We knew Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma would make appearances in the show, along with General Leia Organa, but we didn’t know how that would happen or how the stories would intersect.

Those questions were answered in the first part of the two-part finale of the first season when General Hux’s speech, delivered on Starkiller Base, was broadcast on The Colossus – as was the destruction of numerous planets in the Hosnian system, along with Hosnian Prime. The destruction hits closer to home than we’d previously realized as Kaz reveals that Hosnian Prime is his home and, like Leia Organa before him, he’d just seen his homeworld and family obliterated.

But Star Wars Resistance wasn’t finished proving that it’s not a kid’s show anymore. In the second part of the season one finale, one of its lead characters ended up leaving with the First Order, proving just how good the First Order is at manipulating people. It’s a bold move, but an interesting one as it sets up an inside look at how so many people were part of the Empire and served under it without ever thinking they were the bad guys. We know this character is a good person. We know the First Order are the bad guys. But the choice is made willingly and without duress. Which means we’ll get a perspective next season we haven’t seen before in the films or animated series.

That’s not to say that Star Wars Resistance doesn’t still have silly moments or that Kaz isn’t still a klutz. Neeku’s still hilariously literal. Gorgs still bite people. Poor Opeepit’s STILL trying to get the floors clean. But the stakes have been raised and this “kid’s show” has most definitely leveled up. The season finale firmly chose a side of the fight for everyone on the Colossus. Without giving away details, let’s just say things took off in an unexpected way.

What We Can Expect In Season 2

While I personally don’t know what happens in Season 2, Star Wars Celebration did offer some insight on what we’ll see going forward.

The character we saw make a choice to go with the First Order isn’t regretting her choice. We’ll see her side of the story in greater detail and that means a better look behind the scenes of the First Order itself, not to mention a potential ally should she realize the First Order isn’t what it seems to be.

As for Kaz, the rest of Team Fireball, and everyone on the Colossus, they’ll have their hands full with their own challenges. The Season 2 premiere, according to StarWars.com, picks up right where the season finale ended – with everything in chaos and their future up in the air.

Why It’s Worth Getting Caught Up

Like I said earlier, where a Star Wars animated series starts and where it ends up are two completely different things. It happened with The Clone Wars. It happened with Star Wars Rebels and it’s showing signs of happening with Star Wars Resistance.

The truth is, we’re talking half-hour episodes here. You could get caught up in a relatively short amount of time, have some fun, see some legacy Star Wars characters, meet new characters, and generally have a good time. But you’ll also get an unexpected amount of lore and canon dropped in your lap along with a fair amount of emotion. That, for me, is what Star Wars is all about.

Star Wars has always been a mix of fun, adventure, drama, action, and real emotion that resonates with kids and adults alike. That’s why I think Star Wars Resistance is worth sticking around for. Sure, it may be geared toward a younger audience, but we’ve definitely learned that there’s some really good Star Wars out there in the animated universe – why miss out now?

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