Star Wars Resistance : Everyone’s Battle
Resistance is a bit of a tough story to place on the timeline as it begins in the six months leading up to the events of The Force Awakens, and wraps up around the events of The Rise Of Skywalker.
This show has a lighter touch in some ways than the very-heavy Clone Wars series or Star Wars Rebels. Still, it’s provides an hugely important perspective to the story line as a whole, especially for the new territory covered in The Sequel Trilogy.
A thought that was begun in Rebels, given a spotlight in Rogue One, and then extended into a primary theme in the Sequel Trilogy is this:
This fight belongs to everyone, and we all have something to contribute.
Resistance plugs directly into that theme with the main character of Kazuda Xiono. He’s a skilled pilot from the New Republic Navy and the son of a wealthy senator. He’s a nice kid but horribly naive and inexperienced.
Still, he’s got potential, potential that is recognized by everyone’s favorite hotshot, Poe Dameron, who recruits Kaz to become a spy for the Resistance. He is assigned to The Colossus, a large oil platform on a water-covered planet. Intrigue and shenanigans ensue, but the shadow of The First Order and the grievous events that are about to take place slowly move into the show’s plot.
The beauty of this series is that we get some new perspectives on a story where we, the audience, have far more information than the characters themselves. We know how all of the dots connect. We know what we believe about the Empire, the Jedi, The First Order, the Resistance, etc. Not all of our characters know where they stand on these issues. Most of them only have half of the story.
Watching the oh-so-normal character of Kaz progress from a raw recruit to someone who is suddenly thrust into a place of leadership under heartbreaking circumstances is actually rather encouraging. It’s a reminder of what each of us is capable of given the chance. We also see other characters that could easily be underestimated using whatever gifts, talents, and experiences they have to pool together into a common goal.
The key to defeating the Empire, and then The First Order was always one thing above everything else. This HAD to become everyone’s battle, the Rebels/Resistance could only keep this evil at bay for so long. Eventually, all kinds of people across the galaxy were going to have to rise up and do their part.
Star Wars Resistance does an excellent job of showing us how that kind of a movement begins, and how it feeds into a New Age of Resistance in Star Wars.
The Force Awakens : Awakening, Old And New
I think this is my favorite Star Wars movie.
It was the first one I saw in theaters, it was an unforgettable experience and the wealth of emotions I walked away with were intense.
It’s an aptly named movie. The job that this movie had to fulfill was to blend into an already established story line but cover new territory. It had to give us a sense of nostalgia while also laying a path for new plots and characters. J.J. Abrams had to awaken a whole lot of stuff.
He was successful. This movie reminded me of the best parts of what I loved from the Original Trilogy, especially in how he brought back the physical elements of the settings, props, and alien characters.
Story-wise, we experience an awakening on multiple levels.
Finn discovers that the life of a Stormtrooper sucks and he isn’t okay with the job requirements. While we now know that he is Force-sensitive, so that makes him stronger in his will and choice to change, this was a big decision for Star Wars.
The Stormtroopers had been faceless minions for so long, I have wondered since I was a kid if they had any feelings or thoughts of their own. Finn proved the stereotype otherwise.
Finn instantly became a delight to me as I saw him not only fly in the face of brainwashing and discipline, but he also opens himself up to caring about another person (Rey) and facing his biggest fears to protect her.
Poe Dameron is a vital plot-mover in this chapter but he doesn’t experience his biggest challenges and growth until the following two movies.
Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker. This movie is described as “Han’s” movie as he is the Original trio-member most featured here.
Clearly some poop has hit the fan in the past 30 years and Han hasn’t been at his best in a long time. Grief can do a lot of things to a person. But while we are saddened to discover how many things have gone wrong, we also see Han again decide to be the man we know and love. The guy who runs into a mess because he’s just crazy enough to think he can make a difference. He still loves deeply, and his actions still change lives around him. Even in death, Han’s presence still lingers in the air.
Chewie is Chewie forever and we love him to pieces.
General Leia is probably the OT character doing best right now, but even she has her regrets. I found the conversations she and Han share about their son and the choices they made honest and humble. They both made mistakes, they’ve both been hurting, but their love is still strong, and they want to fix it.
Luke Skywalker. He’s kind of a disaster. But at least we found him.
Clearly the strongest awakening that happens in this story is for Rey and Kylo Ren.
Rey was just minding her own business, scavenging in the highly-sought after resort location of the deserts of Jakku. She had a thriving community of fellow scavengers and people getting more than enough to eat, and her boss was in the running for Galactic Boss of The Year. Or…not.
The whirlwind of events that catch Rey up out of her lonely life and pull her into a world of myth-turned-reality, new friends, old emotions, and the awakening of her Force abilities is incredible. I love how Rey works her way through this movie, she responds well (mostly) to each thing; but it’s not like she planned for any of this. Everything is a surprise! She’s flying by the seat of her pants this whole movie. It’s kind of nice, she has no expectations and very little pride, so her reactions are genuine. It makes her victories sweeter.
In contrast, Kylo Ren’s awakening is a bit ruder and definitely more uncomfortable for him. He is reprimanded multiple times by his mentor, Snoke, he fails many of the tasks given him, and his family issues are all up in his throat. He discovers someone new who he is both drawn to and afraid of, because he can sense her power.
He kills his dad (not his finest moment) and then gets his butt kicked by a little lady who grew up in a junkyard.
It’s not exactly a fun few days for him, but the truth is something had to be stirred in order for him to advance as a character. We walk into his life and immediately see the amount of daily turmoil he exists in. Kylo Ren is not exactly a likable character in this installment, but we had to start somewhere.
Loss and victory, new friendships, old problems, and a whole bunch of X-wing fire make this movie both a familiar song and a new dance. It awakened the Star Wars fandom and reinvigorated the big screen story that had been silent for well over a decade.
Awakening, Old And New.
The Last Jedi : Challenging The Status Quo
The Last Jedi was controversial if nothing else.
Some people loved it. Some people hated it.
I have parts I love, and parts I’m not overly impressed with. But I think the real purpose of this movie and the strongest theme was this :
Challenge the status quo.
This plot of this movie has some very definable holes. Admiral Holdo’s BIG SECRET PLAN and Finn and Rose’s sideline mission are among the very worst.
Although, Holdo’s brilliant purple hair is definitely something to write home about.
Still, I think this movie did accomplish something important for the Star Wars universe.
Poe and Leia’s relationship. We have seen the mentor/trainee role played out with Jedi and their padawans multiple times, but rarely have we gotten to experience this relationship in a different context.
Leia’s disgust with Poe’s reckless behavior almost seems contradictory in the face of how many sacrifices we’ve seen her and other Rebels make. But perhaps that’s a part of the bigger picture, she’s matured enough to know what missions are worth giving your all, and when it’s time to live to fight another day. An idea that Rose Tico echoes. Perhaps it’s hitting close to home for her since we saw her sister Paige die in Poe’s reckless mission.
Obviously sacrifice and commitment is a part of any endeavor like this, but it’s wise to challenge the idea that we always must go as far as we can, especially when talking about how many casualties you incur. This new approach saves the Resistance’ bacon at the end of the movie where Poe proves he’s been listening by readjusting his mentality, and leading the Resistance out the back door to freedom.
Sometimes people over-complicate the problem. I’ve been one of those people before so I get it, but still. The Jedi are notorious for over-complicating the problem, and unfortunately Luke himself fell into that trap.
Did anyone else notice in the Sequel Trilogy that as soon as Han Solo contradicts Finn’s adorably naive “misconceptions” about the Force, suddenly everything about the Force changed?
That’s not how the Force works.
Uh, wait, maybe it does.
From Leia’s amazing space flight, Rey and Kylo’s strange “Force Time” calls, to Luke’s Force-projection of himself across the galaxy, some pretty wacky stuff happened with the Force.
I guess that sometimes the Force is more mysterious and bizarre than we think. And then again, sometimes you just use it to pick up rocks.
I know this offended some people, but I don’t see why it should. Just because something has been known about for thousands of years doesn’t mean it’s always understood, or used properly. We’ve seen that time and again throughout real human history, it actually adds realism to incorporate it into this fictional universe.
Sometimes mentors are wrong.
The status quo of wise older mentor training the overeager trainee was upheld with Leia and Poe, but it was contradicted with Luke and Rey. Rey earnestly seeks guidance and aid from Luke, but he has little to offer her. By the end of her stay on Ahch-to, Rey is the one schooling Luke. Her wisdom comes from her heart, much like he lived in his younger years. He’s been spending too much time in his head, and he’s tasted the bitter results.
Luke has the maturity and humility to admit his mistakes at the end of this movie and actually help Rey from making the same ones later on. But it was her example that helps to inspire him to action.
No, the good girl can’t always change the bad boy.
Rey and Kylo’s interaction throughout this whole movie gives you a hope that she might be getting through to them. They are tender and vulnerable with each other, Kylo’s betrayal of Snoke and their teamwork to defeat Snoke’s Praetorian Guards makes you believe he will change. It would seem the old belief that “good girls can save the bad boys” is real.
It’s not, Kylo isn’t ready to change yet, Rey can’t get him there. It’s a broken concept that is exposed here for its dangerous flaws. She does her best, it doesn’t work, so she leaves. #timetowipeyourownnosebuster
Even in the next movie when Kylo does change, he makes that choice on his own. Rey was definitely a positive influence on him, but she does not change him. He chooses to change.
You can lose everything and still win.
Failure is not an option. Does that thought ever echo in your mind?
Do or do not, there is no try. What the heck does that mean and does it even make sense? I’m not sure it does.
The Resistance is a disaster at the end of this movie. It’s the lowest point our hero characters have been at since Order 66 and Revenge of The Sith. Sometimes you think you’ve gone as low as you can go, and then you find out there is a sub-basement under the regular one.
That’s where the Resistance is at. Broken, but not beaten. This is a challenge to the status quo that we as humans carry as a great burden on our shoulders.
I can’t lose my house. I’ll die without this relationship. I’ve put everything into this business, it can’t end. I need my car to be okay. Etc.
We have people holding onto things for dear life with the belief that failure is not an option. And a lot of them are missing the bigger picture, holding the wrong priorities, and burning themselves up.
Losing things, relationships, jobs, etc, it’s not fun. But it’s not the end of the world, and you can come back from something like this. You are still alive and that is a gift. We would do well to recognize how many things do not actually define our success or our ability to go on. We would do well to be carriers of hope instead of fear.
The Last Jedi challenged many status quos for Star Wars and wrongful culture in general. Like it, hate it, you have to admit it accomplished that much.
Challenging The Status Quo.
The Rise Of Skywalker : Endings And Beginnings
The Rise of Skywalker was many, many things. Seriously, so much happened in that movie. Some of it was well done and some of it was half-baked. I neither love it to death nor do I hate its guts. I’m not going to try to unpack every detail of the movie, I’m gonna stick to a few specific things.
Leia’s Legacy Is Complete
This was “Leia’s movie”. The devastating death of Carrie Fisher a few years ago caused some major difficulties in giving Leia the ending she richly deserved. But with the miracle of modern technology and people who would not quit, Leia was honored properly.
Leia held on to hope when others lost it. She stayed in the fight when others ran. Leia forgave herself for her mistakes even while she felt the grief of them. Leia worked hard to instill good values and wise judgment into another generation.
Leia absolutely succeeded. She poured herself into people who were willing to receive what she had to offer. Poe was practically a second son to her. His love for Leia and respect for her leadership made him the right person to become her successor.
Rey had raised herself up to this point and did a decent job. But she was so, so hungry for some parenting! Both Han and Luke contributed to her growth, but Leia gave an entire year of her life to training Rey. She was the mother Rey had never gotten to experience.
Both for the Rebels and the Jedi, Leia kept the fire lit and passed on the torch to the next generation.
And even with her dying breath, she called out to her wayward son, and his mother’s voice brought him home.
Princess General Leia Organa Skywalker Solo is a legend, and the legend was honored well. Her legacy lives on in the hearts of those she loved and nurtured.
Chewbacca got a medal. It’s about time.
Palpatine was destroyed by his own flesh and blood, and she was saved from death by the very family line he’d spent decades controlling. #poeticjustice
Kylo Ren is dead, Ben Solo is alive. Ben’s final choice to change and become the person he was made to be was triumphant and honest. He made selfless choices to do the right thing, he gave his own life to save another, and he helped repair much of the damage he had caused. He was forgiven, and he forgave himself. The son of Leia Skywalker and Han Solo was restored and put to rest.
The Voices of the Jedi Returned
It was a stunning moment when beloved voices from Jedi friends of the past were heard in Rey’s head. This nod to all the heroes who had come before her and done their best was a great way to bring this saga to a close. They’d done their part, now it was her turn, and they had her back. It was a nice fan moment that tied in all previous Eras of Star Wars.
Ships from every era of Star Wars could be seen when the mismatched fleet from across the galaxy arrived. I’m sure the super nerds have already torn that scene apart and you can find multiple YouTube videos on the subject. It was a great place to celebrate the larger universe.
Finn and Jannah both represented a group of people that have largely been viewed in one way – unchangeable, evil minions. But their transformations from Stormtrooper to Rebel warriors has proven that change is possible. Just like The Clone Wars series dove into the lives, ideas, and destinies of the clones as individuals, it’s possible that this move could open up new stories about redeemed Stormtroopers.
Finn is Force-sensitive. I’m kind of a Finn fangirl, I’m gonna talk about this a lot. Finn represents a character we’ve seen little of, someone who is Force-sensitive but does not have Jedi training. His growth from a scared deserter to a calm military leader was epic, and honestly, it feels somewhat unfinished. The potential that this character alone represents for future stories and Star Wars storytelling is immense.
The Galaxy is owning this battle for freedom for the first time. It’s no longer just a fight between Rebels vs Baddies, it’s everyone’s fight. I don’t even have to go into detail on this one, the potential speaks for itself.
Poe is a general. As we have learned the hard way from the Galactic Civil War and New Republic Aftermath, victory over an enemy doesn’t always mean life is easy. You have to have strong leaders in place to help with the messy rebuilding process. It would be neat to explore how someone rebuilds a galaxy and does it right.
Rey Skywalker. I’ve seen some complaints about this moment. One person who replied to my positive comment about this character choice said,
Right, because we can now just say a name and its ours. #sarcasm
Uh, yeah, buddy, that’s kind of how adoption works.
Part of the point of Rey’s entire character arc is that her family line and heritage should not define her, for good or bad. When she was an unknown she feared her own worthlessness. When she discovered she was a Palpatine, she feared her own power and importance.
Everyone kept telling her who and what she was and what that had to mean for her.
But Rey made a choice, and that choice was opposite of her blood, and in line with the people she had chosen to call her own: the Skywalkers and their Rebel family.
Rey taking the name Skywalker was her way of adopting herself into her chosen family, her chosen path, and her identity. It’s not like Luke and Leia were available to sign adoption papers, but an adoption it was.
This isn’t stupid, it’s beautiful. It was redemptive to the Skywalker line because their legacy will live on with this beautiful woman who took their name. The future of the Jedi will be directed by someone who has seen and tasted both the Dark and the Light, and she still chose the Light.
Rey carries herself with a humility and wisdom that is just what the doctor ordered. Her identity can not be blown away in the next sandstorm, she’s rooted in something bigger than herself.
The potential for what Rey could create, should anyone choose to continue her story, is something very fresh and inviting. She could create a whole new generation of Jedi who are far less trapped by useless tradition, and more involved with relationship and choice. She could help others who feel lost find a home and a family.
The Rise of Skywalker ended a saga that has stretched over 5 decades. It worked to try and bring a satisfying ending to many of those story lines, but also left us with a few tantalizing threads to discover in the future.
Endings and Beginnings.
For my full summary of Star Wars, check out,