A galaxy far, far away is starting to get a little crowded these days. With Star Wars Rebels currently airing on Disney XD, a new movie in the universe every year and a rich content archive, there are a lot of Jedis out there. Still, Disney is entering the fray once more with its newest series, Star Wars Resistance.
“We’ve been working so hard on this thing, and the fact that it feels like Star Wars but it also feels like something fresh and new—not only the style, but the tone and the types of characters that we have—is exciting,” says Justin Ridge, executive producer on Resistance.
The new 21 x half-hour animated series bowed on Disney Channel in the US, the DisneyNOW app and Disney Channel VOD with a one-hour special on October 7. Subsequent airings on Disney XD in the US and a global launch on Disney Channels worldwide will follow.
Resistance stars Kazuda, a young pilot who is recruited by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to spy on the growing First Order. Several other familiar characters will pop up in the series, including Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and BB-8, as it takes place in the time leading up to the 2015 film The Force Awakens.
“This was the chance to show some events and characters that were in this time period that we haven’t really seen before,” says Ridge.
The show’s animation style is sure to help set this series apart from all those that have come before it. Having worked on the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels series as a director, Ridge notes that those shows were stylized with lighting and effects to feel more realistic. But for Resistance, the team went for a 2D effect inspired by Japanese anime.
“You could pause any frame of the show and it looks like it could be a hand-drawn cell,” says Ridge. “That’s part of the anime influence. We felt that because the tone is more light-hearted, going for a more anime-like style would be a great fit.”
While Disney’s official line is that Resistance is for all ages, Ridge notes that they were trying to capture a slightly younger audience.
As for the future of the series, there’s more for the team to consider than just how well it catches on with audiences. They have to make sure everything still fits into the universe. Beyond that, Ridge, like everyone else, is waiting to find out what the next Star Wars film holds.
So far, all audiences know is that Star Wars: Episode IX is headed for theaters December 2019 and will be directed by J.J. Abrams.
“For continuity, we just need to see where the stories go and make sure that everything hooks up properly,” says Ridge. “But we have some freedom to tell these stories in our own way that doesn’t have to be exactly what you’ll see [in the next film].”
The series is directed by Star Wars Rebels showrunner and Lucasfilm Animation vet Dave Filoni. Ridge will be serving as an EP alongside Athena Portillo and Brandon Auman. Amy Beth Christenson is on board as art director. Disney confirmed that consumer products will launch in spring 2019.