I must start with a sad confession: I had never believed in this series. After all, neither of its predecessors had managed to capture my heart. I watched them from time to time, I liked a few episodes, but overall—nothing. So imagine my surprise when I watched Star Wars: Resistance‘s first episode and found out I’m hungry for more.
Then I watched all the subsequent episodes, and even bonus shorts, and…well, my first impression proved to be right. I’d say, Resistance is more than a decent family Star Wars TV series. It’s an actually a really good family SW TV series. Why? Let me explain myself.
Compared to “Clone Wars” and “Rebels”
I’d say, it’s better, but that would be overly subjective. So let me phrase it this way: Star Wars: Resistance manages to escape some mistakes both other series had made.
The Clone Wars, for example, did great character work, but payed little attention to either plot or setting. Its goal was telling short moral tales about people fighting a war, so it didn’t bother itself with creating backgrounds or following some overarching story. It didn’t even had a concise timeline, blissfully hopping years back and years forward.
Then come The Rebels with a completely different approach, yet same problems. While in the series finale both the setting and the plot turned out to be actually relevant, still the first two seasons were much weaker in that respect. Trying to juggle good character works, thought-out plot and still run on short self-contained stories with a clear moral harmed all three of them. (Poor old Zeb, who had no purpose since he catalyzed a heel-face turn of agent Alexsandr Kallus. Who in turn fared only a little better after he turned.)
That doesn’t mean both series were no good. But that does mean Star Wars: Resistance (as of now) has overcome those problems. The setting plays a crucial role in the plot, the plot serves character arcs and builds itself off their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and we still have nice stories with a real moral message to watch with kids.
So, meet The Colossus: an Outer Rim refueling station, crucial for any war effort in the area. That is the information we (along with our main character) are given right at the start, setting both First Order’s and Resistance’s goals straight and clear. Both need this station, and even more than that, both need the other side not to get it.
But apart from great galactic-scale conflict the station has its own life and its own troubles. Sometimes, those are related to the First Order (like, pirates being a part of a simple but effective racket scheme), and sometimes those are just part and parcel of living in the far end of the Republic and having to do risky work to earn a living.
Each inhabitant of the station we meet has their own face, sometimes even their own quirk. Most of them have names; even unnamed ones have personalities. We see them resting in a cantina, watching Aces race or doing their hard work, and we can understand their basic qualities and motivations.
Serving as both a background and a mirror of life in the Galaxy just before the First Order’s first strike, The Colossus allows both the viewer and the character to show their true colors while providing them enough opportunities for both adventure and learning life’s lessons.
The Main Character
Kazuda Xiono aka “Kaz” provides us with a surprisingly new kind of a Star Wars protagonist. No, not because he’s Asian (which is great, by the way), but because he’s a privileged guy who lived his sheltered life far away of any real danger or real test of character. Which, well, is a bit closer to the potential viewer’s lifestyle than being a desert farmer or a street urchin.
While he’s sufficiently goofy for a Disney’s TV main hero, he’s not all slapstick. We see him actually trying hard to adapt in this new life with (suddenly) no privilege, no money, no shelter. And while he doesn’t act stellar good right from the start (more like the opposite) he actually learns his every lesson and grows fast enough.
Seeing him interacting with Poe Dameron (voiced by Oscar Isaac himself) was a real treat, as they are cut from the same material, yet one has more palpable experience (Poe), while the other has more humility and even caution (Kaz, earning both the hard way). They bounce off each other perfectly well, and their episodes together are a real treat to watch.
Other Kinda-Main Characters
In his life journey through perils and lessons of The Colossus, Kaz is supported, lead or confronted with many characters, each having their own relation to his cause or to the station itself.
An older friend of Poe, Yeager lives off a ship repair workshop and doesn’t want to deal with any new war. His employee Neeku is an optimistic Nikto with some troubles understanding sarcasm or any metaphor in general, yet with kindest heart(s) imaginable and widest variety of beings he sees as his friends. Aunt Zi hosts a local cantina and serves as a cynical yet good-hearted company for all those willing to talk with her about their troubles.
The Aces are distant and shrouded in mystery until they start interacting with Kaz, revealing their own goals and problems, and Captain Doza needs to balance his own gain, his station’s safety and all sides’ ambitions.
But one character I liked in particular, because that is the one I feared for the most.
Her name is Tam Ryvora and she’s got an attitude. I was instantly worried this was going to be the classic trope, but here it is really well subverted. You see, Tam is just made to tolerate a nameless newcomer taking for a ride and then crushing the ship she was promised. The ship she has been working on for a long time, mind you.
And that continues to be the trend: it is not her character that makes her angry or salty—she just reacts like anyone would react in a bad, unfair situation. Which in turn prompted me as a viewer to ponder some interesting questions. For example, whether we judge women of color by the same standards we judge other characters? Or even other people in real life? Or don’t we ascribe certain reactions to someone’s race or gender instead of the situation itself?…
But that’s been going on a tangent, sorry.
I would’ve talked a lot more about this series, but I tried to stay as spoiler-free as possible and the article can’t go for too long (which is sad, sometimes). So I’d just recommend you to give Star Wars: Resistance a try.
It has actually funny humor, some touching character relationships and interactions, enough cliffhangers, and a decent plot, so I guess you can find it enjoyable enough.
Images courtesy Disney Inc