Yesterday, Lucasfilm released a behind-the-scenes video about Star Wars: Resistance, which shows creator Dave Filoni and executive producers Athena Portillo, Justin Ridge, and Brandon Auman discussing the show and its main characters – who make up Team Fireball.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out for yourself below:
There’s plenty that the video revealed, both in terms of information and visuals. We got a chance to see some artwork, images, and clips from the show, and we will get into what we learned from all of that in a separate piece. Here, our focus is going to be primarily on what was said by the show’s creators, not what was seen. That’s because what was said is very significant, both in terms of how we view the show itself and in terms of what we know about the main characters. New information was revealed about Kazuda Xiono, Jarek Yeager, Tam Ryvora, and Neeku Vozo, so let’s jump in to look at what was said.
Star Wars: Resistance
The creatives behind Star Wars: Resistance spent some time discussing the show itself and some of the characteristics and goals for it.
“Team Fireball, they’re our core Star Wars group,” said Dave Filoni, who is in charge of Lucasfilm animation and who has had significant story input. “They’re not caught up in the bigger things going on in the galaxy. I wanted to have a sense of childlike fun and adventure. And what unifies this team is that they need each other. They need to try and win races to survive and make money.”
The show is being run day-to-day by others instead of Filoni, as he has moved into the George Lucas-type role (and is even looking like him, too!). Athena Yvette Portillo, Justin Ridge, and Brandon Auman are serving as the executive producers of the show, so they also had input and comments that made it into the video.
“We made the show for a younger audience,” Portillo said. “I think they’ll love the relationships between the characters, all the light-heartedness. It’s unique in tone, unique in look. It’s completely different package.”
“It’s very action-packed, and vibrant, colorful, and you have lots of different pilots and ships and the different settings,” Ridge added. “I wish I had a show like this when I was growing up.”
One thing that really stands out about these comments is that both Dave Filoni and Athena Portillo mention it as being for a younger audience. That of course makes it interesting to wonder why it’s premiering at 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday night, but at the same time it’s not a surprise. With a new season of The Clone Wars coming next year to please all generations of Star Wars fans (but likely those who have been longtime fans of the show, thus slightly older audiences than children at least), it makes sense why Resistance might lean toward a younger audience. What we’ve seen from the look and feel of it certainly backs that up.
But I think sometimes fans have this idea that a show being for kids means that it won’t be that good, shouldn’t be considered canon, or is too childish for them. While different people have different tastes (which, by the way, is exactly why it’s ok to try out different things!), this is very important: Star Wars has always been for kids. Since George Lucas first created this universe for A New Hope in 1977, Star Wars has been aimed at kids. The magic of Star Wars is that it appeals to wide audiences across all age groups, but that’s my very point: something being aimed at kids doesn’t preclude it from being beloved by adults, as long as those adults give it a chance.
Will that be the case with Resistance? I honestly don’t know. It does seem to be very much aimed at a younger audience, but as we saw with both The Clone Wars and Rebels, it could potentially grow into something that’s far more satisfying to all ages as it progresses. And the storytelling potential that this show has, in a period that hasn’t been explored all that much, is very exciting.
One of the best things about The Clone Wars and Rebels, however, were the characters the shows introduced. So let’s take a look at what was said about the main characters in this video.
The main character of the show is a young man named Kazuda Xiono (“Kaz”), who is given a job by Poe Dameron on behalf of the Resistance: spy on the First Order. “Kaz’s job, given to him by Poe, is to spy on the First Order. He’s good at flying, but he’s not really good at spying,” said Christopher Sean, the voice actor for Kaz.
That mission essentially entails Kaz heading to a water planet to a space station known as the Colossus. Here he meets up with a gang of mechanics and pilots, but it is also here that he’s supposed to spy on the First Order.
“Our hero, Kaz, is still coming into his own,” Dave Filoni said, “and he’s a very, very good pilot, but he’s still a bit fish-out-of-water when it comes to living in a place like the Colossus.”
“He’s a bit clumsy, gets into trouble here and there, but Kaz is definitely a guy who has a lot of heart, he wants to make a difference,” said Justin Ridge, who in addition to serving as executive producer is also serving as supervising director for the show.
In many ways what we’ve heard and seen of Kaz reminds me of Ezra Bridger, though I’m sure as we see more of the show Kaz will distinguish himself in some ways. But he seems to be a guy who has good intentions, loves flying, and is eager to help out the Resistance. But Sean’s comments about Kaz being good at flying and bad at spying might give us some insight as to what will be the plot devices of the show. We’ll get to see him flying plenty, and I’m sure that will lead to some cool racing and flying sequences. But we’ll also see him spying on the First Order – which is how this gang figures to be placed in the larger Star Wars storyline – and if he’s bad at that, it will likely lead to some sticky situations that he’ll have to get out of.
I think the flying sequences should be really cool, and from what we’ve seen so far I think the animation style is very conducive to them, but I’m even more excited to see what Kaz’s spying on the First Order actually entails and what we learn from that.
What we knew about Jarek Yeager already is that he’s an old mechanic friend of Poe’s, and from the first trailer it seems that he’s not too interested in helping Kaz on his spying mission. But in this video, we learned more about Yeager.
“Yeager kind of represents the old school,” Brandon Auman, executive producer and head writer of the show, said. “Yeager was a pilot for the Rebellion.”
“Now he’s just trying to live his life as mainly a mechanic on this installation in the middle of nowhere,” Filoni added. Voice actor Scott Lawrence added that Yeager “unfortunately keeps getting pulled back into the action.” Justin Ridge explained that Yeager is “the father figure of Team Fireball, and Kaz causes a lot of trouble and a lot of grief for Yeager.”
Much of this we already knew: Yeager is an old mechanic on the Colossus who leads this group of pilots and mechanics – which Kaz joins. But there were a couple of things from this video that I thought were particularly interesting, and they really go together: (1) Yeager is a pilot… and (2) he was actually a pilot for the Rebellion! There’s a brief glimpse of Yeager wearing a pilot’s helmet in the video, which suggests that we’ll get to see him continue to fly. But as Filoni revealed, Yeager used to be a pilot in the Rebellion. That adds a whole new level of backstory to the character, as well as provides more intrigue. Was there something that happened that caused him to retire to this remote station? Why doesn’t he seem interested in helping Kaz’s mission for the Resistance, since General Leia Organa is in charge of it? And what kind of stories and/or connections does Yeager have that the show can take advantage of?
Learning that he was a Rebel pilot makes me far more interested in learning more about Jarek Yeager than I was before!
One of the mechanics on Yeager’s crew is a young woman named Tam Ryvora. “Tam is a mechanic who works with Yeager. She was a racer back in the day and lost her ship,” Justin Ridge explained. Voice actress Suzie McGrath added that, “She’s tough, no-nonsense, she kind of has attitude.”
Athena Portillo described Tam as having “a lot of heart and passion. She wants to have a purpose in life,” while Brandon Auman said that, “She’s incredibly brave, she cares about people, but she likes to keep her emotions kind of to herself.”
So Tam is essentially a pilot who is grounded, working as a mechanic currently for Yeager to make a living – and perhaps with the motivation of flying and racing again. Her dynamic with the other characters should be fun to watch, as from the very limited stuff we’ve seen so far she seems a bit sassy and funny in her responses.
Last but not least, the video focused a bit on a green alien mechanic named Neeku Vozo – who, according to Dave Filoni, “is a bit of an oddball.”
“He’s a genius, he’s very naive but he’s got a huge heart,” Brandon Auman said of the character. Voice actor Josh Brener added that, “He’s this unbelievably positive, happy, Nikto character. No matter what kind of day you’re having, Neeku is having a great day.”
Brener, of course, name-dropped Neeku’s species in that sentence, as he is a Nikto – the same species as Ima-Gun Di, for example. He seems to really befriend Kaz, and he apparently knows Poe Dameron too, since Poe introduces Kaz to Neeku. The mechanic seems quirky yet funny, while seeming to be a really good and true friend to the young Kazuda.
So that’s Team Fireball, made up of Jarek Yeager, Kazuda Xiono, Tam Ryvora, Neeku Vozo, and Bucket the droid. One last thing to note is that Collider revealed trading cards of some of the main characters, and while much of it includes basic information, it might be helpful to at least mention the three adjectives used for each member of Team Fireball:
Kaz: Kind, clumsy, and brave
Yeager: Quiet, wise, and stern
Tam: Confident, tough, and bold
Neeku: Trusting, positive, and oddball
Bucket: Quirky, glitchy, and loyal
Those adjectives, along with the information revealed in the video, gives us a much better understanding of the main characters of the show. I’m really happy that Lucasfilm released another video about Star Wars: Resistance, this time focusing on the new faces that we’ll be introduced to when the show premieres on Sunday, October 7.