A new Star Wars anime-inspired series is in production, scheduled to air this autumn. The series will feature, among new original characters, also Poe Dameron (voiced by Oscar Isaac), Captain Phasma (voiced by Gwendoline Christie) and BB-8.
This is the first news about the series, but we can already get a good picture based on what we know. The main character is a young Resistance pilot Kazuda Xiono, who will embark on top-secret missions to spy on the growing threat of the First Order.
The show’s writer, Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels) has stressed the focus on the aspect of piloting:
“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. There’s a long history of high-speed racing in Star Wars, and I think we’ve captured that sense of excitement in an anime-inspired style, which is something the entire team has been wanting to do for a long time.”
Everyone who has been reading my articles will know that I always stress the starfighter part of Star Wars, and lament at it being constantly neglected. Well, sounds like SW: Resistance might do something about it (and maybe even inspire a starfighter simulator game – another strangely neglected aspect of SW culture).
The fact that the series is dubbed anime-inspired is likewise noteworthy. The art-directing is under the supervision of Amy Beth Christenson (TCW, Rebels), so we can expect at least similar level of quality, but how much “anime” will Resistance look like is open to speculation. Are we thinking something along the lines of Avatar, Legend of Korra?
It is also good to know this project is supervised by Dave Filoni. Filoni has worked on The Clone Wars series still in cooperation with George Lucas, and he is known for caring about important elements from the wide Star Wars lore, even that which is no longer canon. One example is inclusion of Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels.
Filoni, it seems to me, is the one person currently working on Star Wars who is consistently trying to connect all films, series, books, comics and what-have-you into a coherent whole. With filmmakers pretty much doing each their own thing and ignoring each other – even within the new canon – Filoni is the one person that could bring the loose ends together.
The inclusion of Poe and Phasma, both of whom have extensive secondary lore behind them in comics and books, will hopefully give us chance to explore their personalities more in detail. Aside from Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie, the main voice cast includes Christopher Sean (Days of Our Lives), Suzie McGrath (East Enders), Scott Lawrence (Legion; he has also voiced Darth Vader in most old Star Wars video games from Dark Forces and TIE Fighter in 1995 up to Empire at War), Myrna Velasco (Elena of Avalor), Josh Brener (Silicon Valley), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Bobby Moynihan (DuckTales), Jim Rash (Community), and Rachel Butera (Tammy’s Tiny Tea Time). Many of those actors are quite fresh faces, just as it’s been the case for example with the stars of Rebels. It is good Disney dares to enlist different people and doesn’t just safely recycle same old actors.
What to say? Amidst the current storm of new Star Wars projects, Star Wars: Resistance sounds like a promising endeavour. A proven team of creators, a widely uncharted period of time (the thirty years between Episodes 6 and 7), and hopefully finally some more concrete answers about the origins of the First Order and the Resistance, world-building-wise. With Filoni on board, I am hoping for tie-in of the new films with the old ones and with the new books. Perhaps the best characters from the new extra-film canon will be included and will get some space – admiral Rae Sloane or Snap Wexley. And perhaps some heroes of the old canon can be resurrected just like Thrawn was – Mara Jade? Pellaeon? Talon Karrde? Let’s hope for the best.