An exciting first look at Star Wars Resistance dropped on Friday, August 17. While the teaser was only a minute long, it gave fans a better understanding of what Lucasfilm has been working on as well as what to expect when the series debuts in October.
Resistance is drastically different from what we’ve seen before, and while that can be slightly daunting, I think it gives us a taste of how Lucasfilm is always trying to find new ways to convey its stories.
Let’s take a closer look at the characters, the teaser, the animation style, and everything else between.
Based on the brief character descriptions and some other details shown in the teaser, here is a list of the voice actors alongside their characters.
Kazuda Xiono (Christopher Sean) is assigned as a mechanic to Jarek Yeager’s starship repair shop on Colossus, where he’ll work undercover to blend in with the locals and find out who’s loyal to the Resistance and who’s not. Not much else is known about his character, but from what we’ve seen in the teaser, he shows a lot of enthusiasm.
Tam Ryvora (Suzie McGrath) is part of Jarek Yeager’s crew at the starship repair shop. She works alongside Yeager, Neeku Vozo, and an old astromech called Bucket.
Her tool patch reminds me of the wrench logo the Freemaker family used in their own salvage and repair shop in LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.
Jarek Yeager (Scott Lawrence) is an old friend of Poe Dameron and a veteran pilot who operates a starship repair shop. He must be exceptionally skillful at what he does because pilots are some of the first to lose their lives on the front lines. Given how much older he looks, maybe he was even an active pilot during the old trilogy.
Lastly, Star Wars in the Classroom pointed out the similarity between his name and Chuck Yeager, the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound.
Torra Doza (Myrna Velasco) is a racer pilot at Colossus.
While the 5 on her shoulder is reminiscent of Sabine Wren’s shoulder armor from Star Wars Rebels, I don’t think this is a sign they’re related. After all, Fives was also known for sporting the number 5 as a tattoo on his temple. For all we know, the number 5 could be Torra’s lucky number. Torra also has blue markings on her cheeks, but it’s difficult to say whether these are non-human traits or if they’re tattoos.
Neeku Vozo (Josh Brener) is a Kadas’sa’Nikto, or Green Nikto, who works alongside Tam Ryvora, Bucket, and Jarek Yeager at the starship repair shop. He looks like he has a kind soul and his encouraging words toward Kaz in the teaser trailer make him sound like he’d also be a good friend.
Other characters include Bobby Moynihan as Orka and Jim Rash as Flix. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Rash mentioned both of their characters run the equipment.
There’s also Donald Faison as Hype Fazon. Not much is known about his character at the moment, but with a name like “Hype,” I like to think he’s in the same area as Torra Doza.
Lastly, Rachel Butera will provide the voice for General Leia Organa.
“So right now, Resistance is a bit different, in that I’m not on that day-to-day,” said creator Dave Filoni in an interview with IGN. “I created and set it in motion, but I’ve given that to other people to raise up, people that I’ve worked with a long time, who I think deserve the opportunity to tell stories and I think it’s exciting, and I give them my thoughts and notes – I was just doing that this morning, like George would give me. So that’s fun.”
It’s exciting to know other hands are involved in the decision-making process and that the torch is being passed down to other trusted employees at Lucasfilm.
Those overseeing the series include executive producers Athena Portillo, Justin Ridge, and Brandon Auman as well as Amy Beth Christenson as the art director.
“The most important work for art directors is done during the very early stages,” said Christenson in an interview with Amy Richau for 365starwarswomen.com. “One of the first steps is to start on look-development studies, rough character sketches, and early key art. From there, creating example art and early screen tests are especially essential, as is working closely with the supervisors as the pipeline is developed.”
Christenson went on to add, “Another aspect of the job is creating an overview of the show’s look/feel, as well as a definitive art style guide. Guides like these help sustain the visuals of the show throughout its course, and are handy for the artists to have as short-hand reference. During production, I manage the concept design team; help schedule the tasks; and review designs, color keys, matte paintings, and lighting. As a group, the producers, supervisors, leads, directors and I review the episodes at various stages. Also, I continue to design some of the characters, vehicles, or sets for each episode.”
For the average viewer, it’s easy to forget the amount of time and effort that goes into a project of this nature. This part of the interview acts as a reminder that Christenson is an important part of the puzzle. It’s not just about drawing. There’s so much more involved, and for those who actively follow the animated content, understanding how a series is made enhances the viewing experience.
Teaser Trailer Breakdown
It’s safe to say the teaser trailer primarily contains scenes from the first one-hour episode, “The Recruit,” where Kazuda gets assigned his mission and he meets a variety of new characters.
Kazuda seems like the kind of guy who’s excited to do something meaningful for the Resistance. I think most of us can relate to that in some way, like how can we contribute to something bigger than ourselves? Despite his brief appearance in the teaser trailer, he also seems like the kind of guy who’s overly enthusiastic and generally happy-go-lucky. I appreciate that kind of attitude, especially given his line of work. It’s also naturally appealing to a younger audience.
When Kazuda arrives on Colossus, he sees a Gotal being thrown off the platform. It’s not exactly the sight you want to see on your first day on the job. In the teaser, it comes across more as a comedic gag sort of like Agent Kallus kicking off a stormtrooper in “Spark of Rebellion.”
It’s great to see a female Crolute as part of the diverse group of aliens present on Colossus, especially since that species was first introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I also love the space waffle tattoo on her left arm. It’s random, but it’s a nice subtle throwback to Zeb’s space waffle scene in Star Wars Rebels.
As previously mentioned, Neeku, Tam, and Bucket are part of Yeager’s crew. I get the feeling Neeku is a huge fan of the races, since he looks giddy and excited when an old green ship is unveiled. Either that or he was once a racer himself. After all, the symbol on Neeku’s right arm is also the same symbol seen on Bucket’s helmet, Kaz’s racer helmet, and the side of the worn-out green ship Kaz flies in the teaser trailer.
There’s also another great throwback sitting behind Tam in the image on the left. This Mandalorian Protector symbol was first seen on Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Boba Fett, but it later appeared on Fenn Rau’s helmet in Star Wars Rebels. Is there some connection to Mandalorian Protectors in Yeager’s shop? One can only hope.
While being a racer pilot sounds like heaps of fun, Kaz’s ultimate mission is to figure out who’s working for the bad guys. At some point, he finds himself in a cargo area and he comes under heavy fire from First Order forces. I also find it interesting that an Aleena is standing beside him when the ships attack. The second image in the middle provides a clearer look at the Aleena, a species we haven’t seen since Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
While Kaz does have an important mission to carry out, I also get the impression that he’s somewhat unprepared for it. Then again, this is just the teaser trailer, so he may have a skillset we just haven’t seen yet. For now, he comes across more as an inexperienced recruit whose bitten off more than he can chew.
The podracing scene in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is one of my favorites because it gave us a glimpse at what people do for fun in the Star Wars universe. It’s not all about Jedi vs. Sith, Republic vs. Empire, or Resistance vs. First Order. There are other things happening outside of these conflicts and ring racing is one of them. I’m also a big fan of the colorful gear racer pilots wear. It’s similar to Nascar racing in that sense and how each participant has their own color scheme and something they’re representing.
At some point, Kazuda and the crew decide to revive an old ship. I get the feeling this is Neeku’s racer ship, since his color scheme matches the ship’s colors. (Similar to how Torra’s pilot gear matches her own ship.) As implied in the teaser trailer, Kaz has a desire to become an ace pilot, so more than likely, he’s racing in the ship to prove he does have the skills to be just that. Does he let the racing get to his head and in the way of his ultimate mission? Or does he need to experience a bit of humility and understand that there’s a time and place for such desires?
Make no mistake, Resistance is a 3D animated show made to look 2D with the use of cel shading. This is a technique used widely in video games, and while it has been used in animated television shows and movies before (specifically to animate non-organic objects), it’s normally not a technique used for an entire production. At least, not until recently.
Comments about the technique looking cheap are mostly born out of a lack of understanding because that is far from the truth. Cel shading is not a filter you can simply apply at the end of the production. It’s a time-consuming process where animators have to examine and review the style throughout every aspect of the production.
At the end of the day, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. People will easily and quickly judge something based on how it looks. It’s human nature. Personally, it’s exciting to see Lucasfilm exploring current animation rendering techniques and producing something that hasn’t been seen before in Star Wars animation.
From where I stand, I’m pleased with the look of the show, especially because it demonstrates how Lucasfilm Animation continues to find new ways to express its stories. I’m also reminded that this show isn’t aimed at me, a 32-year-old fan. It’s geared toward a younger age group that has been exposed to an increasing amount of cel shaded content.
As for the humor present in the teaser, I have a firm belief Resistance will be similar to LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. Some fans tend to dismiss that kind of humor as “kiddy” and hope the show will get more serious with time. Like most animated shows today, however, I believe Resistance will have lots of humor to go around with some serious plot points surfacing from time to time. After all, a good portion of the voice cast have comedic backgrounds.
In terms of the era itself, I still find it difficult to fully connect with the post-Return of the Jedi content. The Last Jedi, however, is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed because it shared similar elements and themes with Star Wars Rebels. That said, I hope this show does something similar in that there are subtle similarities or homages to the animated content that came before it. Things like that tend to rope me in more and make me care about the story being told.
As for the characters themselves, it’s great to see a diverse group that also includes non-humans. A major complaint from fans in regards to the sequel era is the lack of aliens seen in the Resistance as well as the muddy colored aliens that have appeared on screen. As an animated show, Resistance is able to play around more with color, so I’m glad to see vibrantly colored non-humans as well as pilot uniforms and helmets with intense and saturated colors.
Finally, one thing I noticed from conversation on social media is that some fans see Kaz as immature. Those same fans forget that pride has no age, and oftentimes, the lessons we learned as children don’t stick around long enough into adulthood. We are constantly learning and re-learning as we grow older. Regardless of his age, Kaz is an example of that. It’s also an important reminder that the main character is going to exhibit traits a younger generation will identify with. What an adult sees as “immature,” a younger person might see as “cool.”
Overall, I look forward to watching the story and humor play out as well as getting to know these new characters over time. I’m not one to immediately turn away from content simply because it looks kiddy. I’ve consistently embraced the child inside me and have always lived by the words “young at heart.” And speaking of young, I have no doubt this will turn out to be an exciting adventure for a younger generation of current and soon-to-be Star Wars fans.
Premiere Date and Time
Star Wars Resistance will premiere on Sunday, October 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel, DisneyNOW, and Disney Channel VOD. There will also be subsequent airings on Disney XD.