By Kate Sedor
Starwars.com announced the return of The Emmy-Nominated series Star Wars Resistance on October 6th, 2019 to the Disney Channel today. Sadly, we also learned that this will be the final season as well.
The news about Star Wars Resistance is heartbreaking for many of us who care about diversity and inclusion in the wider franchise. The show, anchored by a main cast featuring mostly actors and characters of color, was a thrilling breath of fresh air in a galaxy still heavily populated by white, straight, cis, able-bodied men. Neurodivergent fans have also noted that Neeku displays traits similar to folks on the autism spectrum (although this is one area where the show has notably fallen short in terms of respectful portrayals).
These characters, most importantly, were allowed to be complex, morally ambiguous, conflicted and in conflict. Tam Ryvora is one notable example; her defection from the Colossus to the First Order was not a sudden flip from “Good” to “Evil,” but the reasonable choice presented to a person feeling betrayed by her found family and unsure of what is true. Torra Doza, a fan favorite, is perhaps the first female Latinx character in Star Wars, and even this happy-go-lucky ace pilot has to contend with her family’s dark Imperial past. The show’s treatment of these fascinating women is, mercifully, a far cry from, say, Val’s nonsensical fridging in Solo, or even the complete nerfing of Padme Amidala’s character in Revenge of the Sith.
Even behind the scenes of Resistance, it’s obvious that representation was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Showrunner Justin Ridge has said one of the show’s goals is to emphasize “character diversity,” a thought that has also been echoed by executive producer Athena Portillo. It’s one of the reasons why Resistance‘s actors love the show: Bobby Moynihan, who plays Orka, a character who has been coded as queer, highlighted the show’s diversity during the official Star Wars Celebration Chicago panel, and Christopher Sean, who has been a vocal advocate for Asian-American representation throughout his career, has repeatedly mentioned inclusion as being one of the show’s strengths.
Resistance might not be a perfect show, but in terms of diversity, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of almost everything else Lucasfilm has released recently or has in the works.
So, what does its ending mean for fans from underrepresented groups? It’s hard to say.
Sure, Del Rey has lately been doing a marvelous job on the representation front, and we’re beyond excited to see Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian. But the question is, what next? Movie series helmed by Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones‘ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, respectively? It’s hard to say we’re thrilled about any of these developments, all of which received significantly more fanfare than Resistance, a show that was relegated to a late-night time slot on a kids’ channel; received not nearly as much marketing as Star Wars Rebels or the upcoming final season of The Clone Wars (a show, it should be noted, that is beloved of white Star Wars bros); and had a Celebration panel time that almost seemed like an afterthought. The unequal treatment the show received from Lucasfilm higher-ups is blatant and disappointing.
Star Wars Resistance remains a beacon of what the galaxy far, far away could look like–and what it could look like is all of us. We hope to see its characters pop up in other prominent places in the franchise. More than that, we hope it’s just the beginning of a larger push for diversity at Lucasfilm…but we’ll be honest: We’re not holding our breath.