This Star Wars Resistance article contains major spoilers.
Fans had very high expectations for Star Wars Resistance, the follow up to the popular Star Wars Rebels, when it premiered last year. Unlike its predecessors, which take place during the Clone Wars and the days before the Original Trilogy, Resistance tells a new story set six months before The Force Awakens.
The show was an exciting prospect, especially since so much of the post-Return of the Jedi timeline remains a mystery, even after two movie sequels and a handful of books and comics. What would fans learn about days leading up to The Force Awakens from the show?
Season one never quite hit the heights of Rebels, with a low-stakes story struggling to engage with its everyman characters — even though the small scale was also its strength. However, the season got better and better over time, especially as it began to intersect with the events of Episode VII.
If you want to keep up with the series, but don’t want to commit to the whole first season, coming up are seven episodes that fill in the canon gaps and show what Resistance is all about. In ranking them, I’ve taken into consideration the strength of the characterization, the quality of the action scenes, and the connections to canon that teach us more about the Star Wars galaxy.
Season 1 Episodes 1 & 2: “The Recruit”
The Resistance series premiere delivered on its promise of a whole new look for the Star Wars universe. Colorful, cobbled-together starships flew in a beautiful blue sky, mixing the polished, anime-inspired animation style (which was smoother than it had appeared in previews) with the classic worn Star Wars look.
This episode introduces Kazuda “Kaz” Xiono, a rich-kid pilot in the New Republic fleet, and his two goals: to spy for the Resistance and to join the Aces, the elite pilots who protect the oceangoing Colossus station on the planet Castilon. The Colossus is full of interesting characters and bustling scenes, with the crowded energy of the Mos Eisley cantina. As far as discovering new Star Wars places go, it’s a pretty good one.
Season 1 Episode 9: “The Platform Classic”
Resistance’s mentor figure is Jarek Yeager, a former Rebellion pilot whose current job as a mechanic is a perfect cover for him to act as Kaz’s Resistance contact. This episode fills in some much-needed backstory and character development for him. The episode also remains true to the show’s form in that it focuses on personal connections and tragedies rather than galactic-scale ones.
Yeager’s brother, a famous racer, appears on the station, but Yeager won’t speak to him. The episode eventually reveals the reason for their estrangement. It also nicely ties into the episode’s set-piece starship race. Yeager is one of the most complete characters on the show, and this episode is the main reason why.
Season 1 Episode 11: “Station Theta Black”
One of the better action-heavy episodes also happens to feature one of the show’s strongest connections to the movies. Both Captain Phasma and Leia Organa appear in this episode, in which Kaz and Poe Dameron investigate a First Order mining facility.
As someone who always wants to see more of Captain Phasma in action, I thought her appearance here added a lot of excitement and danger to the episode, as well as showing more of how she interacts with her troopers. Her appearance isn’t substantial, but it is cool.
Season 1 Episode 14: “The Doza Dilemma”
Unlike the other episodes on this list, “The Doza Dilemma” doesn’t have much to do with the show’s larger arc. The episode really hones in on the larger cast, especially Synara San, a pirate spy-turned-reluctant ally, the pilot Torra Doza, and the mechanic Tamara Ryvora.
Both Synara and Tam are spies and Torra, as the captain’s daughter, is station royalty, but in this episode they’re allowed to just be young people together. Scenes of them bonding by playing video games pay off later when Synara decides whether to stand with the pirates or her new friends. This episode also shows how the First Order used mob tactics to gain a foothold on important locations like the Colossus.
Season 1 Episode 17: “The Core Problem”
When it comes to information about the First Order and dramatic visuals, it doesn’t get any better than this. In what moviegoers will immediately recognize as foreshadowing for the Starkiller Base, Kaz and Poe find a solar system where the sun has been destroyed. One planet’s core has been drilled through, leaving strange and beautiful granitic fluctuations.
Although Resistance’s key combat scenes take place over the seas around the Colossus, the exotic location makes this one the episode to watch when it comes to daring starship flights. It also plants the seeds for a key plot point: Katz’s friend, Tam, is beginning to suspect he hasn’t told her the whole truth about himself.
Season 1 Episodes 20 & 21: “No Escape”
The bonds between the characters pay off in this season finale. Yeager and Kaz’s mentor-student partnership never feels more real than it does in this episode when they both need to fight their way around the station. Equally compelling is Tam, whose story has slowly been leading up to a surprisingly difficult decision — join the First Order or risk everything for the friends who technically lied to her about their identities? While Part 2 leans heavily on cliches, Part 1 feels fresher and provides interesting action that incorporates the unique structure of the Colossus station itself — it turns out, the station has a hyperdrive.
However, Part 2 does add an important addition to the canon, or rather, a swerve away from one. Just when it looks like the Colossus crew are on their way to the Resistance base on D’Qar, it’s revealed that the hyperspace coordinates were jumbled. Don’t look for them in the background of The Force Awakens— they’re headed to an unknown destination.
It seems likely that season 2 will involve Kaz trying to regroup with the rest of the Resistance, who sorely need the help after The Last Jedi.