So . . . that was Resistance!
Earlier today I uploaded my review of the last episode of Star Wars Resistance, the animated series which has been running for two seasons. And it's my review of the final episode of the final season of this short lived show, as it was announced that this would be the final season of Resistance on the same day they actually released the trailer for the season. Which surprised many, including me.
Now to be up front and honest, I've not been a fan of this series since I started watching it. Although if you go back through the daily updates of the site going back to when the original season 1 trailer came out you can see my comments and I was actually really positive, as it seemed a really interesting idea.
And I continue to actually agree with that. When they announced the series, it seemed as if it was going to be a Sequel Era version of the Star Wars Rebels series (of which I'm a massive fan). Where instead of founding the Rebel Alliance in the years leading up to A New Hope, it would be the founding of the Resistance in the years leading up to The Force Awakens, a time period which there seems to be little information about. So I thought was ripe for new stories, with the series being able to show us the failings of The New Republic and what causes the First Orders rise to power and the formation of the Resistance.
Also from the trailers, it appeared to me to be that the series was going to follow the lives of a bunch of Ace pilots, who by day would be daredevil racers, and by night would fight the creeping rise of The First Order.
However, the series which was actually delivered was a lot different to what I'd imagined when watching the trailer. Instead of the slow rise of The First Order, and any failings of the New Republic, the series is based on a colony world mere months before the start of The Force Awakens. The First Order is an already existing threat, and the Resistance already operating (with Leia in charge and Poe Dameron being a major player in setting events in motion).
And instead of following a group of heroes like Rebels or Clone Wars, Resistance would centre on one character, a pilot named Kazuda Xiono who leaves the New Republic to join the Resistance in partial rebellion against his family, and partially because it's the right thing to do.
Now Kazuda has a lot of promise as a character, he's an ace pilot, who throws his career away to do the right thing and fight evil. But more than any other character in Star Wars, he has his limitations. For example, while he is one of the best pilots in the Resistance (and shows that by flying the worst fighter in existence, a vessel named for its habit of exploding), he is terrible in ground combat barely being able to hit anything with a blaster. He is also quite boastful and full off himself, which really goes against the role the Resistance gives him as a spy.
And his role as a spy is quite an interesting one as well. Because at this stage the Resistance knows that The First Order is paying attention to small colony worlds such as the one Kazuda is placed on, Castilon, but they don't know what The First Orders plan is. So Kazuda is to go undercover at the Starfighter races on Castilon and find out what the First Order is up to.
The series also puts Kazuda in a fish out of water role, by his placement on Castilon being as a mechanic in a racing team rather than a pilot, which puts him at a massive disadvantage as his mechanical skills are rudimentary to say the least.
Now all of that is an excellent set up for a series, along with quite a remarkable setting, that of the Colossus. The Colossus is a refueling station platform in the middle of an planet spanning ocean on Castilon, it's upper structure providing landing pads for starships, and the open markets which provide commerce, while visitors watch and gamble on the races taking part over the stunning clear oceans of the world.
But, that is also where the series falls apart, because the series treats Kazuda all too often as an incompetent mechanic spy, rather than the Ace Pilot Hero that we as an audience could root for. He pratfalls around, clumsily blowing things up and breaking things, and his colleagues at the workshop treat him with disdain. In fact it is revealed in the final episode that they even invented a code so they could talk about him behind his back without him knowing. And it's really hard to root for an idiot, which makes Kazuda kind of unlikable.
The big First Order plot that he is to discover also just turns out to be a protection racket. The First Order simply hires pirates to raid colonies, and just asks their fealty (and probably taxes) in return for protecting them. (In a fairly interesting twist, they do seem to pay the pirates with ex-imperial equipment, meaning the pirates wear patchwork Stormtrooper armour, and fly vessels built from bits of Lambda shuttles and Tie Fighters, which makes for an interesting aesthetic). And once that is discovered, Kazuda's task seems to be over, he just remains in place as a spy, because that's what he does now.
At the end of the first season things change a little though, as the events of The Force Awakens unfold with the Hosnian Cataclysm, the Colossus has welcomed the First Order to protect them against the pirates, but the restrictions they impose begin to cause problems, which leads to resistance against the occupation, until it is revealed that the Colossus is actually a massive spacecraft, with most of its bulk beneath the surface of the ocean, and it launches, jumping to Hyperspace to escape the First Order.
For all of season one's problems, season two is far better written with many watchable episodes which allow Kazuda to act heroically. Even if the sub plot, where one of Kazuda's colleagues (Tam) has joined the First Order and even though we're supposed to be rooting for her to rebel against their rule, I found myself just wanting to see her punished for repeatedly trying to kill her former friends and colleagues.
Season two also has a massive problem timeline wise. With Season one ending with the events of The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi happening only days afterwards, and Rise of Skywalker not due for release until Resistance season two was almost complete, Resistance found itself in a void. Characters which had featured quite heavily in season one (Captain Phasma) were now dead, so never appeared again, and until Rise of Skywalker was released, no information could really be released about it's time frame and what had occured between the two movies.
So for much of the season, the Colossus found itself wandering space, encountering the remains of events from The Last Jedi, but unable to interact with or effect anything else from the movies. For example, Poe Dameron and BB-8 who had been regulars on the show through the first season are gone, never to be seen again. General Leia who had a couple of appearances during the first season, also gone.
So what we were basically left with was the Colossus running from system to system, being tracked by the same First Order Commander (Pyre) and Intelligence Agent (Tierney), and making a jump to hyperspace to escape (the climax of probably half the episodes this season).
Until eventually, the series just ends with them rescuing Tam from her employers, destroying a single Star Destroyers, and killing Pyre and Tierney. They haven't saved the galaxy, they haven't joined the Resistance, but they have stopped one particular Star Destroyer from chasing them.
Now, in many ways I think Resistance ending after season 2 is a mistake, as it had a number of storylines which it never touched on again. For example, Kazuda is originally from the Hosnian system, so after it is destroyed by Starkiller base, he believes his family to be dead. Now this is a pretty emotional situation, which could make Kazuda's actions against the First Order take on a far more personal and revenge based nature. But nope, one episode later, his Dad who he never got on with, and who had told him he'd let down the family by joining the Resistance gets in touch to say that everyone was fine.
The absence of Poe Dameron and BB-8, who set everything in motion, at the end feels wrong as well, with it feeling as if they should be there, if not to go on one last climactic adventure together, but at least to congratulate Kazuda on a job well done.
With both major heroes and villains missing, it makes Resistance fizzle out. Where instead of a climactic victory, the end of the series feels so unimportant that both the First Order and Resistance forgot to turn up for it. Rebels ended with tonnes of minor characters turning up from throughout the 4 seasons of the show, and plot details dropped in the first season proving to be vital in the series resolution, as the heroes go up against not only Grand Admiral Thrawn but the Emperor himself. Resistance ends with the death of a mere commander, and numerous minor characters being completely forgotten about. The Pirates who had somewhat redeemed themselves at the end of season 1, and turn on the heroes during season 2, are just forgotten about, with Tam getting her redemption, but them not being worthy of it.
Now, it Resistance had gone on for another season, with us now knowing the details of Rise of Skywalker we could have gotten more interesting stories, with the Colossus truly on the run as the might of the First Order turns on them, not just a single Star Destroyer. We could have had the build up as Palpatine reveals his return to the galaxy, which would scare away some support, but rally others from the days of the Rebellion, and some encounters with the Sith Eternal rather than just The First Order. With the series wrapping up as Poe's call goes out for all ships to go to Exogol, either just ending there, or showing us Kazuda and the Colossus's Aces in action against the Sith Eternal Fleet.
Now that feels a bit more epic, a bit more Star Wars. But instead we just got Resistance going out with a whimper rather than a bang, and everything in Star Wars should go out on a bang.
Comments made about this Article!
Posted by Wiggty
I found the series forgettable and not relevant to the Star Wars story at all. I am not entirely sure what they were planning to do with the series. It could make for a really good background for a RPG campaign with loads of interesting characters that were never really flushed out in the series. There will be a lot of 'What Could Have Been' with the series, but with the Clone Wars final season, the Mandalorian, and whatever they call the Rebels sequel that is coming Winter 2020, I don't think Resistance would have lasted anyhow.
Posted by Freddy
I try to not read anyone elses reviews before I write mine, so after finishing writing this last night I went on IO9 and read their review.
And they very much seem to agree with the idea that this was the best way to finish Resistance that was possible, "it was always brimming with untapped potential. And thatâ€™s why â€śThe Escapeâ€ť was the perfect finale for the show. It had everything you wanted, but didnâ€™t come close to giving you enough, which is an excellent way to describe Resistance as a whole."
I think Resistance benefits from ending prematurely, as we now can make up better stories than the series ever seemed to manage.
Written by Freddy@RPGGamer.org, based on his own meandering thoughts on a kids series which really wasn't written for the likes of him.