SEASONS 1 - 2 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: DISNEY+ (FROM MARCH 24TH)
With Disney+ now available to watch in the UK, there’s an awful lot of new shows that haven’t been readily available for British fans. The question is, what do you watch once you’ve seen The Mandalorian? One option is the various animated shows. Some you’ll have seen before of course, but Star Wars Resistance is new to streaming. But is it worth the time?
The House of Mouse has a good track record with cartoons, after all, and Star Wars Rebels left some pretty big shoes to fill. The animated series nailed the feel of the original trilogy pretty well, drawing upon some of the bigger ideas from the expanded universe in order to create a seamless and addictive show. Star Wars Resistance deals with this challenge by doing something completely different. The show begins six months before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and follows the story of Kazuda ‘Kaz’ Xiono, a privileged kid who dreams of being the ‘Best Pilot in the Galaxy’. He gets recruited by Poe Dameron himself and with the aid of BB-8 finds himself assigned to a thing called Colossus, a vast fortress/service station on the ocean planet Castilon. The Colossus is more of a city-state than anything else, with its own sun-drenched culture. Pilots with supreme skill are lauded on The Colossus, and Kaz bumbles his way into a series of adventures that are either about becoming a better pilot or discovering why The First Order are so interested in this location.
The animation style is a sharp departure from Rebels and Clone Wars. It’s more obviously CG, with cleaner lines and a brighter palette. This allows it to be more action-focused and more importantly, more tech-focused. The droids and the various custom star-fighters are as much a part of the series as the characters. It feels unnatural at first, but it handles action scenes beautifully, especially space ship battles.
The first series begins slowly. After a few guest appearances from Poe (and the swift addition of BB-8 to the main cast), the narrative kicks off with a formula familiar to Rebels fans. Much like Ezra, Kaz starts off as a bumbling idiot with moderately good intentions and slowly evolves into a relatable character. We get the heartfelt but naïve buddy with the character of Neeku, who’s ‘logical and literal alien being’ gimmick fails to get old. Tam, the engineer, seems to only exist to drive the plot and ace pilot Torra begins as the most interesting character at the start and then fails to develop.
Many of the stories are forgettable, but good enough that you keep watching. This is because unlike Rebels, this show is going for the slow burn. By the time we get to the second season however, it has found its feet. If we’re honest, it feels like the creative team are working very hard to make the best of the mess left by the new trilogy. It certainly feels a lot more Star Wars than the last movie a lot of the time. With no Force-related plot, it’s true to say that it quite literally doesn’t have the same sort of magic as The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels. It makes up for this by blowing up a lot of spaceships.
Resistance hits its stride when it stops trying to be an add-on to The Force Awakens. Both seasons have the same pacing issue; half-way through a season all the arc-plot begins to bunch up, and the last few episodes are genuinely engaging. It’s worth a watch, but perhaps revisit the other animated shows first.