The time between the two Star Wars trilogies is finally open. It's now confirmed that both Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series and Dave Filoni's next animated show are set between the original and sequel trilogies. In the case of the live-action series, it's set seven years after the Battle of Endor and will feature a number of original characters. Star Wars: Resistance, meanwhile, is set shortly after the First Order emerged as a galactic power. That's a time of chaos and upheaval, with the New Republic on the back foot, and General Organa desperately attempting to unite the galaxy against the Empire resurgent.
As recently as February 2017, the Lucasfilm Story Group was deliberately blocking up storytelling after the Battle of Jakku, which saw the end of the Empire. Only a handful of novels and tie-in comics have actually explored this period to date, largely because Lucasfilm hadn't really decided on the details. These two series will be the most high-profile Star Wars projects set in the post-Return of the Jedi period to date. What's more, the episodic format lends itself well to fleshing out this until-now little-explored part of the Star Wars timeline.
The origin of the Resistance is told in Claudia Gray's novel Bloodline. This is set shortly before the First Order emerge on to the galactic scene, and gives a sense of the political difficulties the New Republic was dealing with. In the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku, Chancellor Mon Mothma had declared an amnesty for those who had cooperated with the Empire. Mon Mothma hoped this would allow the galaxy to move on from a state of civil war, but it backfired dangerously; Imperial loyalists and sympathizers became part of the New Republic Senate and bureaucracy. Bloodline revealed that some were even liaising with the First Order, who were determined to sow as much chaos as possible before they revealed themselves.
Sensing an unseen threat, Leia Organa launched a campaign to become Chancellor. This failed when the truth of her bloodline - that she is actually Darth Vader's daughter - was revealed to the galaxy. Rendered little more than a political pariah, Leia retreated from the Senate and contacted her old friends to form the beginning of the Resistance.
Shortly after, the First Order emerged from the shadows of the Unknown Regions, launching a blitzkrieg across the galaxy. The New Republic, who lacked a military, were left reeling; many former Imperial worlds seceded to the First Order, while it seems likely others remained so as to undermine and divide the New Republic. Ben Solo fell to the Dark Side, slaughtering Luke's Jedi, and joining the First Order as Kylo Ren. Delilah S. Dawson's novel Phasma is set shortly after the First Order's dramatic appearance on the galactic scene. It suggests that the Resistance's first goal was to learn as much about their enemies as possible, sending a wave of spies into First Order territory.
It looks as though Star Wars: Resistance is set in these early days of the Resistance, at a time when General Organa and her allies were still trying to work out how to handle the new threat of the First Order. The series is confirmed to feature Oscar Isaac voicing the character of Poe Dameron, suggesting that Poe and his Black Squadron group - introduced in Charles Soule's Poe Dameron comics - may well make a few appearances. It's important to note that the Poe Dameron comics are set much closer in the timeline to The Force Awakens, though, so there won't initially be any overt tie-ins and connections, although it wouldn't be a surprise to see characters like Snape Wexley from Chuck Wendig's Aftermath books, the Poe Dameron comics, and The Force Awakens, played by Greg Grunberg.
It's exciting to see Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni given the chance to explore this sparsely-detailed part of the Star Wars timeline. No doubt many of the greatest mysteries of the Sequel Trilogy will be answered through these two series - perhaps even the origin of Supreme Leader Snoke himself.
Star Wars Resistance premieres this fall on Disney XD.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019