‘Star Wars Resistance’ Review: 1.1-2 “The Recruit”

Star Wars Resistance isn’t the sort of Star Wars we’ve ever really had on the screen before. Aimed at a slightly younger audience than we’ve seen, Resistance is a bright and colorful kids show that might have more in common with Teen Titans than with Star Wars Rebels or The Clone Wars. The show follows a character named Kaz Xiono, played by Christopher Sean—which is notable in that he’s an Asian lead, another first for Star Wars animation. Kaz is a young pilot for the New Republic and is quickly drafted by Poe Dameron for a spy mission in a remote part of the galaxy.

Set just six months before the events of The Force Awakens, it’s startling how little the Resistance knows about the First Order and that’s part of what Kaz is sent to do. Poe Dameron drops him off on The Colossus, a massive platform outpost that is described by voice-actor Bobby Moynihan as essentially a giant truck stop. It’s the sort of place that reminds one of the Mos Eisley cantina if it were set of a giant floating platform. 

Kaz’s mission is to fit in, race planes, and spy on everyone in order to discover more information about the First Order. 

That’s it. 

He’s introduced to a cast of characters that makes one feel like maybe this will be as much of a sitcom as it is a Star Wars adventure. There’s Tam Ryvora (Suzie McGrath) who is the gruff mechanic with what seems to be a secret. Jarek Yaeger (Scott Lawrence) is the grim old man with a past who no longer wants to get involved. Neeku Vozo (Josh Brener) is the wacky friend who doesn’t really understand social norms (a cross between Teen Titans’ Beast Boy and Starfire.) There’s Flix and Orca, the wisecracking mechanics. And then there’s a whole host of hot-shot, ego-centric pilots. There’s a lot of personality and a lot of comedy but the stakes are fairly low at this point. This was my only initial concern with the show, but my concerns were assuaged by the promise that we’ll be taken into the timeline of the destruction of Hosnian Prime and the beginning of the war.

The show itself is gorgeous. Amy Beth Christensen’s design sensibility married with the unique lighting gives us some of the most beautiful shots we’ve seen in Star Wars animated series. There’s a particular shot of an area of the Colossus where the sun is low and flags and sails hang up over the deck and it might be one of the prettiest moments I’ve seen. It has these breathtaking moments of imagery throughout and I think the team is really creating some iconic images of Star Wars. 

I’m excited to see how it fills in the gaps of knowledge left from the movies and what the political situation is like. 

More than anything, it really does remind me of Robotech. The cell shading gives it a Saturday morning feel that is refreshing and new, offering new challenges to the artists involved and a fresh look at the universe. But blending Saturday morning cartoons and Robotech makes a promise that these characters might ultimately suffer and one might lose their life. I would put money on Yaeger at this point in the Roy Fokker role, but who knows how that will shape up?

The thing I loved most about the show, though, is just how funny it is. There are deep laughs on a lot of levels. It has that surface Teen Titans level that kids are going to enjoy, but the Star Wars nerds are going to find a lot to love, too. I found myself laughing deeply when I realized that Greg Proops was, indeed, announcing the race on the show. Then I started laughing when I realized that the name of the announcer was “Jak Sivrak,” a play on the name of Lak Sivrak, a character that was added to the cutting room floor when George Lucas made the Special Editions.

Some of my favorite characters on the show were Flix and Orka, the mechanics. I’m interested to see how their roles develop on the show. Something tells me they would be joining the Resistance before they’d join the First Order. 

The characters are charming, the humor fun. If the stakes get raised in an interesting way as we get deeper into the war, it’s going to turn into a great show.

I’m giving this pilot a 7 of 10, though, and have my heart set on the great things to come.