The latest Star Wars series is off to a flying start.
This is a mostly spoiler-free review of the Star Wars Resistance series premiere, titled “The Recruit.”
The galaxy of Star Wars is so vast that trying to find an entry point can be utterly overwhelming. Luckily, Disney’s newest addition to their beloved animated canon, Star Wars Resistance, is a perfect jumping on point for new fans and an engaging expansion of lore for die-hards. Set six months before the beginning of The Force Awakens, the premiere of Star Wars Resistance aims — and succeeds — at replicating the model of its predecessor, Rebels, by introducing fans to a whole new group of characters in the galaxy far, far away.
Vibrant and colorful, Polygon Pictures and Lucasfilm Animation have done a great job of creating a world that looks recognizably like the galaxy we know and love whilst also managing to craft something that feels fresh and new. Which, it would seem, is the whole point of Resistance. Though some fans didn’t love the new cell shaded anime influenced art when the trailer was released, the visual landscape of the finished show has a warmth and life to it that’s quite charming, which particularly pops when the cast members interact with each other.
Speaking of that cast, our portal into this new story and planet is Kazuda Xiono, also known as Kaz. A young ace pilot who — due to dealing out some serious damage to a TIE fighter during an intelligence recon — gets selected by none other than Poe Dameron to become a spy for the Resistance. After interrupting a meeting with Poe and General Leia, Kaz and the galaxy’s most famous cocky fly boy are off to to Colossus, a star ship refueling station on the ocean planet Castilon at the edge of the known galaxy.
Christopher Sean is a great lead, giving Kaz an awkward and naive arrogance. His passion for flying and his belief in his own skills as a pilot are his driving force, and Sean balances them so that he never becomes an irritation in the ensemble. A running joke about Kaz being the “best pilot in the known galaxy” helps bring the heady young pilot back down to Earth — or should we say Castilon — pretty quickly. Oscar Isaac brings just as much charm to a pre-The Last Jedi Poe as you’d expect, but he’s back to the Resistance pretty quickly and leaves us with Kaz, the best droid in the known galaxy A.K.A. BB-8, and their new crew.
One of the greatest pleasures of Star Wars are the creatures, droids, and other fantastical aliens who inhabit the galaxy far, far away, and on that front, Resistance really delivers. Kaz’s crew is mostly made up of humanoids, but Colossus is filled with brilliant creations from recognizable species like the Abednedo and Sullustans — the most famous of whom is, of course, Nien Nunb — to less familiar intergalactic beings, from sassy warthog parts dealers to Team Fireball’s trusty droid named Bucket.
The rest of Kaz’s new family — the Team Fireball referenced above — is made up of: Tam, a skilled mechanic who’s none to pleased with the new addition to her crew; Yeager, an old acquaintance of Poe’s who wants nothing to do with Kaz’s role as a spy; and Neeku, a cheery and optimistic bud whose literal interpretations and belief in the young pilot lead Kaz into an air race with the most talented ace on Colossus, Torra Doza.
As you might have noticed, the premiere is centered heavily on one locale, along with the pilots, mechanics, and starship enthusiasts who live there. It’s the most refreshing part of Resistance and what could likely become one of its biggest strengths, as it vastly strays from what we expect from a Star Wars story, which helps it pave its own unique path. Resistance doesn’t just introduce a new group of characters ala Rebels — it moves away from the epic nature of war, and as far as the premiere goes there isn’t a Jedi or lightsaber in sight.