Star Wars Resistance Series Premier Review — A Guest Review by Chris Leoson
***Contains spoilers for the series premiere of Star Wars Resistance***
This first episode pulls us back into the Star Wars universe without any preamble or exposition. We’re plunged into a classic dogfight in space, the likes of which we’ve learned were all too frequent in the “galaxy far far away”. We see some New Republic pilots, including the young Kazuda Xiono locked in combat with a deadly First Order pilot who’d have destroyed them all had Resistance hot-shot Poe Dameron not arrived in time.
Star Wars Resistance is set during a time where “the good guys”, under the flag of The New Republic, are the rulers of the Galaxy. The opening scene is warm and nostalgic in its familiarity yet offers something new and exciting. This intrigue is found in the form of a TIE pilot dressed in all-red armor. This was instantly gripping for me as I’m sure it is for many of those viewers well-versed in the lore of the universe. Not only does red armor look cool, but it has also carried symbolic significance in this universe.
In the days of Palpatine's Empire, the all-red Imperial uniform was typically associated with the Emperor’s personal guard. These Royal Guard as they were known were highly skilled warriors whose primary purpose was that of safeguarding of the Emperor. As one can imagine for a task so important, only the best of the best were chosen to serve in this way. Legend has it that even a single royal guard could cause all manner of destruction, but you’ll have to read up about Kir Kanos in your own time.
As far as we know the First Order was built from the pieces of a shattered Empire, and resultantly it’s reasonable to assume that this particular pilot is someone of great rank and importance. Either that or the First Order is far more aesthetically liberal than the Empire was and the color red is simply very “in”.
The famed Poe Dameron is unable to defeat this pilot and the red-clothed foe escapes to hyperspace. This escape is further evidence to suggest that this mystery pilot is a valuable asset to the First Order and a serious threat to the New Republic. Perhaps Poe has finally met his match.
Clear of danger we have some time with Poe and Kaz together where Poe explains that he thinks Kaz will be a great fit for the Resistance. After some deliberation, Kaz decides to take Poe up on his offer and join the Resistance against his father's wishes. Like so many before him, a single decision will change the course of Kazudo’s life and begin a great adventure.
The excitement and youthful enthusiasm Kaz exudes is palpable and charming upon his arrival at the Colossus, a refueling station in the Outer Rim. Poe reconnects with an old friend Deager who reluctantly agrees, kind of, to take Kaz in as a mechanic allowing the job to act as a cover story for Kaz while he works as a spy for the Resistance, gathering information on the First Order.
As we’d expect, Kaz, a station newcomer, gets himself into all sorts of trouble and after an exaggerated boast about his flying skills, Kaz is unwillingly committed to a race against famed pilot Torro Doza. This all transpires by way of a rigged game of darts and a classic cantina brawl.
In the lead up to the race, Kazudo and his team of fellow mechanics under the care of Yeager scramble to get a “bucket-of-bolts” ship known as the Fireball prepped for Kaz to fly in the race. Much of the second half of this double episode is reminiscent of the notorious Boonta Eve Classic we saw Anakin Skywalker win in The Phantom Menace. It was a relief to see that some pit droids survived the rise and fall of Palpatine's Empire. He didn’t destroy everything after all. There were many scenes that gave a warm and grateful nod to what is commonly referred to in our world as “the prequel era”. It’s great to see some of the older designs crop up in a post-Emperor-Palpatine world because the level of design in the galaxy at large seemed to be far more artistically impressive and obviously less austere before Palpatine was ruling.
In this segment, we see Kaz and his new friend and fellow mechanic Neeku on a mission to attain the necessary ship parts needed to get The Fireball into working condition. There are plenty of lighthearted moments and jokes in this segment and it’s a joy to see that all the hard work the Rebellion did in defeating the Empire did indeed pay off. Growing up in this post-Imperial galaxy seems far less gloomy than what others like Ezra Bridger, seen in Star Wars Rebels, experienced.
Kaz ends up losing the race due to The Fireball living up to his name. He does so with a grace, wisdom, and acceptance beyond his years. It’s refreshing to see that not all young souls at the beginning of their hero journey need to be rigidly stubborn. He shows commitment to his larger mission by not becoming consumed by the immediate challenge and failure of the race.
After wrapping things up with Kaz and co, we get to see the mysterious First Order pilot, who caused so much trouble at the beginning of the episode, drop out of hyperspace into a menacing view of the monstrous Star Killer Base.
This elite pilot (here named Vonreg) checks in via comlink and requests that non-other than Captain Phasma is informed of his return. If the First Order have indeed kept the traditions of the Royal Guard alive, which is likely given the presence of the similarly clad guards in Snoke’s throne room scene in The Last Jedi, then Phasma must surely wield more power than we know of, commanding this elite warrior.
All in all, there is plenty to be excited for as this first season of Star Wars Resistance unfolds.
While it’s likely to remain focused on Kaz and his friends with occasional visits from Poe, I’m also keen to find out more about the broader political landscape. The animation style and vibrant color palette are fresh and visually rewarding and while there’s fun to be had for all Star Wars fans, I think younger viewers, in particular, will go crazy for this new series.