RESISTANCE: BLUE COLLAR STAR WARS
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
If you’ve never watched Star Wars Resistance, you’re missing out on one of the most unique entries in the Star Wars universe.
What I love most about the series is something I’ve been calling “Blue Collar Star Wars.” The show focused on everyday people and how the bigger narrative of the movies affected them, which begs the question of how the star "wars" impacted their lives without any Jedi there to save them.
The series wasn’t about any Skywalker. It wasn’t about the Jedi or the Sith. It was about normal, everyday people.
There was Kaz, a Senator’s son who was roped into the Resistance and sent on a spy mission to the Colossus. For the first time in his life, Kaz experienced how normal people live, work, and exist. He learned about their daily lives, got a job as a mechanic, and became part of the city.
That was where Resistance shined. Through Kaz and the people of the Colossus, we experienced two sides of the war clashing together within the lives of ordinary citizens. We witnessed the First Order systematically invade people's homes: they tried to control Aunt Z’s Cantina; they grounded the Aces, who served as both protectors and entertainers; and they actively targeted teenagers for recruitment. It’s a quiet and subtle invasion.
The First Order was welcomed with open arms, but Kaz’s very presence as a Resistance spy put everyone in danger and the citizens began losing their personal freedoms day by day. Making matters worse, those on the Colossus weren't trained to fight; they were cantina owners, janitors, marketplace workers, mechanics, and scavengers. When their home was dragged into a war they didn’t really care for or know about, they had to make the tough choice: stand down or fight?
The series ultimately portrayed how everyday people respond to the Star Wars equivalent of fascism.
Another strength of Resistance was its shift away from the Force. There were some mentions of Force users in the series, such as Kylo Ren, Eila — a seemingly Force-sensitive child from Tehar — and Mika Grey, who had enough knowledge of the Force to explore an ancient Sith Temple. But for the most part, there weren’t many Force elements in the traditional sense.
The story felt so new and refreshing without the Force controlling and dictating much of the story. Skytalkers Podcast summed it up best in their episode for “Synara’s Score.” In this season-one episode, Kaz and Yeager had to install a massive targeting computer in the middle of the battle. It got jammed up when it was installed incorrectly, the computer was so heavy that Kaz couldn’t shove it into place, and Yeager ended up ramming the thing in with his repulsorlift.
Skytalkers pointed out that the moment would have been so easy if a Force user were there. If it had been an episode of The Clone Wars, Anakin could just use the Force to put the computer back in place in seconds. Instead, Kaz and Yeager had to use their strength, wit, and ingenuity to get the computer installed. It heightened the drama of an action-packed sequence and allowed the characters to think on their feet in a tough situation. Watching non-Force sensitive people problem solve situations that would be easy for a Jedi is part of the reason I love Resistance as much as I do.
Because this show wasn’t focused on Jedi, Sith, or the Force, it’s one of the most practical shows we’ve ever had in Star Wars. Kaz came in with an idea of what he thought the Resistance was like. It’s almost played off like it’s some cool social club to join, because the great Leia Organa was the leader. Even when Poe told him they’re fighting the First Order, Kaz didn’t actually know what that meant. We saw in the show multiple times how the New Republic stunted his military training even though he was in the navy. There was also a look at privilege with Kaz being a Senator’s son, and we had never really had a protagonist in the Filoniverse come from wealth.
But when Kaz is sent to the Colossus, the real world caught up to him. Yeager told him that he couldn’t get out of things anymore just because he doesn’t like it. Kaz had to work for a living. He had to learn how to be a mechanic so he didn’t blow his cover. Every action Kaz took had consequences. It was a joy seeing him grow because of the practicality of the situation he was in.
Speaking of the Colossus, it’s a wonderful location with its own diverse population. I always want more aliens showcased in the very human-centric Star Wars franchise, and this station visually gives us a slice of the greater Star Wars galaxy by introducing new species like the Gozzo, which shopkeeper Flix is part of.
Whether it's surrounded by oceans or flying through hyperspace, the Colossus is a striking setting with so much variety built into it. The market was bright and vibrant. The hallways were dark, especially in engineering and the lowest levels. Doza Tower was white and pristine. Aunt Z’s Cantina had so much personality. The station was clearly lived in, worn, a bit dirty at times, and truly a character of its own.
This allowed for social commentary about classicism to be built into the show. This was especially present in the episode “The High Tower.” The lower level characters, such as Yeager and his mechanical crew, struggled to make a living. Meanwhile, the Aces and Captain Doza lived in Doza Tower with power, food, and clean rooms. This set up a class structure that added so much drama, especially in season two when the upper-class Aces and the lower-class workers became one team in their to survive against the First Order.
Kaz got to know these vibrant, wonderful people who become his friends, and the Colossus became his second home after the destruction of Hosnian Prime. So when the First Order began to infiltrate the station, Kaz finally understood what it meant to fight for a cause and to fight for the Resistance.
If you haven’t given Resistance a shot, I implore you to watch it. It examined the average person in the Star Wars universe and enabled them to rise to the occasion without the help of a traditional Force-sensitive hero. It showcased both a clash between socioeconomic structures and the ease by which a fascist group can charm its way toward complete control. Out of the three Filoniverse shows so far, Resistance felt the most real and connected to our own world.
Hope Mullinax is the owner of Geeky Girl Experience, writing editorials and reviews about animation, Star Wars, and queer discussions. When she’s not chatting about Star Wars on her podcast Jaig Eye and Jedi, she’s forcing her friend Chris to watch her favorite animated shows on Hope Makes Chris Watch Cartoons podcast.