Star Wars: Resistance, the latest television show in the Star Wars franchise, premiered this evening on the Disney Channel, and it was an absolute delight. The series takes place six months before the events of the movie The Force Awakens, and it features a New Republic pilot named Kazuda “Kaz” Xiono who is recruited by Poe Dameron for a secret spy mission for the Resistance. Kaz’s goal? To find intel on the dreaded First Order, an organization that many believe is a myth.
Die-hard Star Wars fans Swapna Krishna and Preeti Chhibber are here to discuss their reactions to the hour-long first episode, called "The Recruit," and their hopes and thoughts for where it might go from here.
Swapna: It’s finally here! We’ve been waiting for this show for months, and I have to say the first episode didn’t disappoint. From the beginning, Resistance sets itself apart from The Clone Wars and Rebels that came before it. First, there’s the animation style.
Preeti: So liquid and pretty and smooth. I love the animation Disney/Lucasfilm uses here. Every animated series up to this point has shifted a little in terms of what the characters look like, Clone Wars was angular and deeply mired in browns and reds. Rebels had more rounded features with a slightly more colorful base. And now we have this smooth, cell-shaded brightly colored fluid animation and it’s fantastic.
Swapna: I was really struck by the brightness of the colors, like you said. That, combined with the fluidness of the animation made it kind of a visual feast, a lot of fun to just soak in.
And then there’s the lack of any mention of the Force or the Jedi in the first episode, a big departure from both Clone Wars and Rebels.
Preeti: Yes! We’re both huge Force lore nerds, but I was okay with them focusing on the soldier side of things (or as it were, spy side of things). I already love Kaz and his terrible luck. The first two episodes could have been called Kaz And the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.
Swapna: Yeah, I agree! Let’s talk about Kaz. They really have managed to balance a kind of wide-eyed earnestness with maturity in this show in this character. He’s a little older than an Ezra or an Ahsoka (at the beginning of Clone Wars). He has a similar feel, for sure, but he’s a man trying to find his place in the galaxy, rather than a kid.
Preeti: I also appreciate that it seems he’s coming from a somewhat entitled lifestyle. This is also a departure of the usual Star Wars fare. He’s not an orphan, he’s a rich kid who has an idea of what he wants and is going against his dad’s wishes to get it (that place in the galaxy, that is).
Swapna: Yes! In that way, he feels more like a Leia than a Luke, and it’s a nice departure from what we’ve gotten so far in this universe, especially with the animated shows.
The premise of the first episode has Kaz getting involved with the Resistance, and then having to compete in a race that he’s really not that enthusiastic about. It felt like a really fun way to get to know this new character. The stakes were high, but they weren’t Resistance/First Order high, which I think was a smart move.
Preeti: Yeah, it pulled us into a world that I’m sure will get higher stakes (considering the timeline), but right now we can just rest easy getting to know this outpost and all the characters who live there. I’m interested to see how the relationships evolve (what is the backstory between Poe and Jarek Yeager?) But, most importantly... can we talk about my two new favorite non-human characters?
Swapna: Oh my god, the pig and the bird? Please tell me you’re talking about them.
Preeti: YES, THE PIG AND THE BIRD. They are perfection and I love them and they are, as the Internets say, Big Mood.
Swapna: I loved the wide range of characters we got to meet. So many new faces, so many aliens, so many characters of color (and actors of color voicing them!)
Preeti: It was so incredible to see women of color from the get-go, though my one complaint about the premiere is that the women don’t get enough dialogue or screen time. I’m sure this will only increase, but I wanted more from both Tam Ryvora and Torra Doza.
Swapna: Yes, I totally agree. I especially loved Tam, though Torra reminded me so much of Sabine Wren, I immediately loved her as well.
The question I have, and I think a lot of people have for the show, is where will it take us? Six months before The Force Awakens is not a lot of ground to cover, and you don’t want to be repetitive or too dependent on the movie for storytelling. Plus doesn’t the Poe Dameron comic (which I am very behind on) cover a similar time frame?
Preeti: Yeah, it does. Star Wars continuing to carve out narratives in these pockets of time is an interesting tactic, and I think they’re figuring it out as they go along. That said, it does make for some awkward balancing of tension within the storytelling. They need to give us enough to care about the characters, but not so much that it alters the movies. (I’m wondering if they’ll pull a Rebels eventually and just fast forward past the conflict.)
Swapna: Yeah, that Rebels epilogue was really effective. And you’re right, the tension here is that we know how it’s going to end up. The endgame of the show can’t be the First Order comes out against the New Republic in a big way because that’s what happens in The Force Awakens. So the question is where is this show taking us, but also does it even matter? Storytelling is really important in Star Wars, of course, but sometimes trying to figure out where the narrative is going and how it all ties in gets in the way of enjoying the actual thing. (And yet here I am speculating regardless.)
Preeti: Ha! Well, we are part of a particular brand of fan. All-in on these stories. And it helps that the group at Disney/Lucasfilm continue to ground the stories in very strong character work. Like we said, we already care about Kaz and Tam and Dora and the rest of the crew (I can’t wait to get more from Donald Faison’s character!).
Swapna: And Elijah Wood is going to be guesting in a future episode, which I can’t wait to see!
Preeti: OUR TWO LOVES TOGETHER AT LAST.
Swapna: They’re taking the hobbits to Starkiller Base!
Preeti: The hobbits the hobbits the hobbits the hobbits.
Swapna: THE END.