A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas created a sci-fi franchise so vast and so enduring, new stories are still being told. The latest installment in that universe is Disney’s animated series “Star Wars Resistance,” which takes place between the events of “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.”
In the series, New Republic pilot Kazuda Xiono (Christopher Sean) is recruited by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as a spy on Colossus, a massive refueling station on the ocean planet Castilon. While he works as a mechanic, he also gets involved racing the ace pilots who are defending the station.
“Resistance” isn’t just a retread of the same two-sided conflict story that’s been told before in “Star Wars,” and it both looks and feels different as well. Here’s a breakdown of how “Resistance” sets itself apart from the rest of the galactic franchise:
Fewer Stars, No War
Even though the series opens with a skirmish in space, the show will mainly take place on Colossus. Also, since the Empire has fallen, the show’s characters won’t be under constant threat of battle. So how does a “Star Wars” story function with fewer stars and no war?
Executive producer Brandon Auman assured IndieWire that even though the series makes its home base on the station, the action will eventually make it off planet.
“It really is like a very big town, and it’s important to want to be a part of this town, defend it, protect it. That’s where the ace pilots come in. They’re there to protect the station from any invaders or pirates or whatever it is,” he said. “So we wanted to make sure that the show is geared around family but it’s also geared around the idea to extend that family out to the town, the place that you live, your home. And it quickly becomes Kaz’s home. But we do get to go to other places as Season 1 progresses. You definitely get to see other aspects, it’s not all just Castilon.”
Bobby Moynihan, who plays a character named Orka in the series, said, “[Colossus is] almost like a truck stop/all purpose place, a pit stop place. You can get your ship fixed there, you can get parts. There’s a lot of places to drink and stuff like that. It’s blue collar, you know? It’s these guys working and working on ships and building stuff.”
And as for the conflicts, just because the Empire no longer exists, that doesn’t mean there’s peace. The First Order is ramping up, and it’s suspected that one of its members is undercover on Colossus. It’s Kaz’s mission to identify this person.
“It starts off peaceful, but as the series goes you start to see that the First Order starts to have more of a presence,” said executive producer Athena Portillo. “And that’s part of the reason why Kaz is recruited by Poe and Leia to spy on the platform to try to get any kind of intel that he can to provide to them to let them know what’s going on with them.”
Although Poe had recruited Kaz, he didn’t exactly provide him with any training. “He’s learning how to be a spy,” said Christopher Sean, who plays Kaz. “We watch him in the process of just trying one thing after the next. Finding out what works and what doesn’t, and then continuing on the path until things start to fall in his lap and then the story just goes haywire.”
Where Are All the Jedi?
Don’t expect to encounter an Anakin, Luke, Rey, or Ezra in this story. “We don’t focus on the Jedi because there are hardly any Jedi around. We focus on the pilots,” said executive producer Justin Ridge.
Donald Faison, who provides the voice for alien pilot Hype Fazon, is excited for this aspect. “I love that there are no extraordinary characters in it,” he said. “There’s no Force. There’s no all magical power controlling everybody’s destiny on this platform. Everybody is in control of their own destiny. There’s something really special about that. I don’t think we’ve seen that in the ‘Star Wars’ universe. This is the first time where you’re going to get to know the everyday people of the galaxy.”
As Kaz learns to navigate the world of the station, he starts to build a family around him that becomes Team Fireball, consisting of repair shop owner Jarek (Scott Lawrence), mechanics Neeku Vozo (Josh Brener) and Tam Ryvora (Suzie McGrath), and astromech droid R1-J5, aka “Bucket.” They’re a ragtag team of underdogs who rally around Kaz, who flies the restored ship Fireball in the races against Team Aces.
Hype Fazon is part of Team Aces, the best pilots who defend the platform but also have dominated the races. “Like all the aces on the Colossus platform, he is a security officer,” said Faison. “He guards the skies around it, but for recreation, they race. He’s the fastest pilot out of all of them. He knows it and he’ll be the first person to tell you that he’s the best.”
Also on Team Aces: Torra Doza (Myrna Velasco), the daughter of Captain Imanuel Doza who operates the station; Griff Halloran (Stephen Stanton), who sports an Imperial crest tattoo and has a mysterious past; Freya Fenris (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn), and
They’re treated with privileged status on Colossus.
Beyond that planet-bound rivalry though, another pilot will enter the picture flying a distinctive TIE fighter. “Major Vonreg. He’s the equivalent of our Aces, but on the First Order side,” said Auman. “He’s one of their top pilots. Captain Phasma is too busy setting up Starkiller [Base] so she has to send out her folks to make sure everything’s going according to her plan.”
And yes, Gwendoline Christie will reprise her role as Captain Phasma. She joins the other familiar “Star Wars” faces: General Leia, Poe, and BB-8.
A New Odd Couple and New Fauna
Move over, Artoo and Threepio. There’s a new odd couple in the galaxy. Kaz goes to Flix (Jim Rash) and Orka when he needs parts to help fix up Fireball. The duo have a humorous dynamic that may feel familiar.
“The script that I got had fake names. Flix and Orca were named Felix and Oscar, like ‘The Odd Couple.’ That’s why they’re called Flix and Orca,” said Moynihan. “We work in acquisitions. Flix and Orca are these guys who work in the basement of this place selling parts and helping everybody out. Maybe doing a little side hustle on the side. They may not be on the up and up.”
“Orka is the guy you go to when you need something but you don’t want anybody to know. He’s also the guy you go to when you need help and he will help you,” said Moynihan. “He loves eating. I think I’m eating like in every scene in the pilot. He likes deals, he likes getting things for not what they’re worth. He likes swindling people and haggling.”
Orka is also of the Chadra-fan race, one of whom was seen at the cantina in Mos Eisley the day Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker met Han Solo and Chewbacca. Flix is from the Gozzo race, which hasn’t been seen before but was based on an existing sketch Ralph McQuarrie did.
“Star Wars” fans can also look forward to discovering new fauna on the show, including a fish-like creature that Orka finds a delicacy. “I eat a Gorg. I call them aquatic Porgs,” said Moynihan.
The actor recently shared a clip of Flix and Orka on Instagram:
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Can’t believe I finally get to share this with everyone. Meet Flix and Orka. I play Orka. In Star Wars Resistance. In Star Wars. I’m Orka….in Star Wars… 😳 Premieres Oct 7th 10 pm @disneychannel @disneynow #starwarsresistance #FlixandOrka @jimrash 🐓🐷 #Acquisitions #TheColossus Hey @hasbro What’s a grown man gotta do to get a Flix and Orka two-pack!!!
A New Hangout With Spicy Mocktails
On Kaz’s first day on Colossus, he’s quickly introduced to the tavern run by Aunt Z, a hulking Crolute, who also doubles as a bookie.
“If you’ve got ‘Star Wars’ you’ve got to have a cantina in there somewhere, right?” said Auman. “And it’s also very heavily influenced by ‘The Right Stuff,’ which is one of Dave’s favorite movies. All the pilots in that movie are hanging out at the bar when they’re not flying, so he definitely wanted that because he wanted that parallel with ‘The Right Stuff.’”
Aunt Z’s is also where the stationers bet on the races and partake in some “spicy” drinks. Portillo wants it clear that Kaz and his friends will partake in non-alcoholic, spicy beverages.
“That was a big point,” said Auman. “I don’t think [Disney] was super happy that we had a bar in a kids’ series. So we’re like, ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry. There’s no alcohol in those drinks.’”
The animation seen in “Resistance” will lean towards a lighter, anime-inspired style.
“Because we’re dealing with a new timeframe that we haven’t done before this was an opportunity to try something new,” said Ridge. “It’s something that could fit the tone of the show, which is a little more lighthearted. We all grew up with anime, a lot of the shows from the ‘70s and ‘80s, so we wanted to kind of combine a bit of those things and make a hybrid that we thought would fit this time period well.”
Check out the animation in action in the extended trailer for “Star Wars Resistance”:
”Star Wars Resistance” premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on Disney Channel, DisneyNOW, and Disney Channel VOD, with subsequent airings on Disney XD.