Longtime fans of Lucasfilm Animation will remember the uncertain months after the abrupt cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 2013, when the future of the relatively young division of George Lucas’s production company, then-recently acquired by Disney, seemed up in the air. A press release assured fans another series set closer to the classic trilogy was on the way, but details were scant and speculation was rampant. When, at long last, details of Rebels began to emerge, many were skeptical of everything from the premise to the art style to the presence of Jedi characters in the Dark Times era.
After the epic conclusion of Rebels just a month or so ago, though, we’ve already got word on what’s coming next, and fans are rejoicing! This morning, Lucasfilm announced a new animated series, Star Wars Resistance, set to debut on Disney Channel in the United States this fall and on Disney XD globally thereafter.
Resistance marks the third full-length animated series from the studio, following The Clone Wars in 2008 and Rebels in 2014. It will tell the story of a young Resistance fighter named Kazuda Xiono, on a daring mission to spy on the rising First Order in the years preceding the culmination of the search for Luke Skywalker as chronicled in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Xiono appears to fly an X-wing variant that’s been given a snazzy custom paint job, as glimpsed in the teaser image, although the Lucasfilm Story Group’s Matt Martin informed fans on Twitter that it is not an Incom T-70, T-85, Z-95, or any other ship we know from other stories:
The series is, of course, created by Dave Filoni, the visionary former Lucas protege behind The Clone Warsand Rebels whose experience on Avatar: The Last Airbender and encyclopedic knowledge of the works of Hayao Miyazaki will lend themselves well to this show, which he has stated will have an anime-inspired aesthetic. It is executive-produced by fellow alumni of The Clone Wars and Rebels Athena Portillo and Justin Ridge as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’s Brandan Auman, and art directed by Amy Beth Christenson of The Clone Wars and Rebels as well as the hit video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Filoni says of the series’ aerial ambitions, “The idea for Star Wars Resistance came out of my interest in World War II aircraft and fighter pilots. My grandfather was a pilot and my uncle flew and restored planes, so that’s been a big influence on me.” Seeing as Lucas used actual World War II dogfight footage in pre-visualization for the classic Death Star battle in the original Star Wars film, this is yet another example of Lucasfilm Animation taking Star Wars back to its earliest roots.
While Resistance will likely center around original characters asRebels did to great effect, BB-8 will be joined by at least one familiar friend and foe, as Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie are set to reprise their roles as Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma, respectively. These Star Wars veterans are joined by Christopher Sean (Days of Our Lives), Suzie McGrath (East Enders), Scott Lawrence (Legion), Myrna Velasco (Elena of Avalor), Josh Brener (Silicon Valley), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Bobby Moynihan (DuckTales, Saturday Night Live), Jim Rash (Community), and Rachel Butera (Tammy’s Tiny Tea Time).
This era of Star Wars storytelling has not been explored in animation, but several other tales have been set during this exciting time. Most prominent is Star Wars Battlefront II: Resurrection, an expansion to the base Battlefront II game which had protagonist Iden Versio, an Imperial defector, and her daughter Zay attempting to uncover the source of the First Order’s innumerable regiments of stormtroopers and also find her missing husband, Del Meeko.
Claudia Gray’s 2016 novel Bloodline follows Leia Organa and chronicles her exit from the New Republic and foundation of the Resistance following revelations about her connection to Darth Vader. The ongoing Poe Dameron comic from Marvel deals with the titular ace’s exploits in the years prior to The Force Awakens,including his search for Lor San Tekka, who Leia hopes can help her find Luke Skywalker. While the series is unlikely to adapt any of these stories, it would not be surprising for our hero Kazuda Xiono to cross paths with Del Meeko or the pilots of Black Squadron fromPoe Dameron. Bloodline’s plot points involving the New Republic’s ignorance or denial of the threat posed by the First Order could inform General Organa’s decision to launch Xiono’s mission of espionage that will be the core plot of Resistance.
Not a lot is known for certain about the show at the time of this writing, but regardless of who appears and where the story goes,Star Wars fans have much to look forward to when Resistancemakes its debut this fall.