The first animated series set in the Star Wars sequel trilogy timeline returned for its second and final season this week. The main revelation in the Star Wars Resistance season 2 premiere is that Lucasfilm’s most child-focused show grew up a little. The first season of the series was pure kid’s stuff. They focused mostly on cheap slapstick humor. Also, how the main character, Kazuda Xiono voiced by Christopher Sean, is so awkward he could barely have a conversation with another person. While it featured the trappings of most Star Wars offerings—zany alien creatures, space battles, and the threat of Stormtroopers—it seemed to take no part of the show seriously. While adult fans found the show difficult to enjoy, the series does seem to land with kids who find Kaz and Josh Brener’s Neeku hilarious.
However, the Star Wars Resistance season 2 premiere picks up after a climactic caper to escape from the First Order. In the finale, Kaz sees the destruction of Hosnian Prime (from The Force Awakens) and his friend Tam Ryvora, voiced by Susie McGrath, joining the First Order because he lied about being a spy. With real stakes and real loss, the show can’t get away with the abject silliness it once did. In this episode, which you can find in its entirety on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel, Star Wars Resistance really feels like Star Wars.
While a little darker in tone than before, the season 2 premiere is still very kid friendly. The villain, a little murderball droid loyal to the First Order, is actually threatening. There are some objectively funny bits involving artificial gravity. And the emotional message about friendship is a good lesson for kids and sets up an interesting commentary on how redemption can work.
Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Premiere Changed the Series’ Dynamic
Image via Lucasfilm
Before the season finale last year, the main setting was this refueling station that ran races and hosted pirate, hotshot pilots, and various other galactic ne’er-do-wells. The First Order started showing up, and Kaz haplessly spied on them. The station, it so happens, is a spaceship. So, when the First Order attacked, they all teamed up and fled. This should help give the series a kind of central conflict focus that the first season lacked. Also, it raises the stakes for the heroes. Instead of zany mishaps and awkward screw-ups, lives hang in the balance.
Thus, Kaz and Neeku, a character like Data from Star Trek who doesn’t understand idioms, are able to be comic relief rather than just forcing everything they do to be funny. Star Wars works best when it straddles the line between comedy and tragedy. It also gives the heroes a singular enemy and offers potential for stories about disparate groups coming together.
The other major change was that Tam left the group and joined the First Order. The show glosses over the fact that she just joined a space-Nazi organization after they wiped out billions of lives. Rather, they keep Tam’s motivations personal. She wants to be a “real pilot,” and she feels betrayed by her friends. Instead of struggling for food or money or respect, Tam finds comfort in the rigid structure of the First Order. This is actually a pretty powerful lesson for a goofy kids’ show based on a space opera. It shows, much like the prequels attempted to do, how “good people” can fall victim to the allure of fascism. Before Tam spent her life nearly starving on a space station full of people who routinely tried to cheat her. Now, her needs are met and the First Order seems to provide, well, the order she felt her old life lacked. Also, she’s angry, and we all know what anger leads to.
The Final Season of This Show Could Prove to Be a Worthy Entrant Into the Larger Canon
Image via Lucasfilm
The problem faced by Star Wars Resistance, including in the season 2 premiere, is that it’s telling a story set at the same time as the films. The whole first season took place before the events of The Force Awakens so we didn’t really learn much about the galaxy or the larger story. Other series like Rebels or The Clone Wars expanded our knowledge of the films they followed. Resistance almost seemed to obfuscate that story out of fear of “revealing” something they shouldn’t. This season, they will likely be able to catch up to the events of The Last Jedi and even beyond. It will allow the characters to both cross paths with legacy characters and finalize their own arcs.
No matter what happens that ties the series into the movies, Star Wars Resistance will be about Tam’s redemption. In today’s polarized times, we can forget that sometimes good people are caught up by bad ideas and horrendous political movements. Tam’s journey back to the light side will play a big part in that. What Kaz and the rest of her friends do to make up for their perceived betrayal will likely play as big a role as Tam’s own moral qualms with the ruthlessness of the First Order. This show may still be more kids’ stuff than any other Star Wars property, but the message will be nonetheless important. Now that they’ve found their footing, the storytellers will be able to bring this series to a close in a way that may satisfy both their child and adult fans.
You can check out the full Star Wars Resistance season 2 premiere below. Let us know what you think of it in the comments or let us know on social media!
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.