We’re at the halfway point of the first season of Star Wars: Resistance, and the show has been really impressive so far. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and it has also revealed more information about the state of the galaxy in the sequel trilogy era.
With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what we have learned about that so far from the show:
1. The New Republic’s relationship with the Resistance
In the very first scene of the show, we see Kazuda Xiono and other New Republic pilots flying X-Wings (giving us our first on-screen look at the T-85 X-Wings, as well as the New Republic logo). They are on a mission to give valuable information from a secret source to the Resistance, as ordered by the New Republic. This is interesting information because it reveals that the New Republic at least seems to have somewhat of a working relationship with the Resistance. We know that many of the senators don’t exactly side with Leia, but information is still being given to her, and New Republic pilots are assigned to give her this top secret intel. Whether this was just a one-time occurrence or a regularity, it was at the very least clear from the first episode of this show that the New Republic truly does support the Resistance, which is exactly what General Hux says in The Force Awakens.
2. The Resistance knows something is coming
As we also learn in that first episode, the information that the New Republic was giving to the Resistance was regarding a coming attack. As Poe Dameron explains to Kaz, “That was a message from a secret source. It confirms what we’ve been afraid of. The First Order is planning a full-scale attack on the New Republic.” Later in the season, in the most recent episode, Poe and Kaz discover that the First Order has been mining for materials to make weapons – and lots of them. They report back to Leia, confirming that the First Order has indeed been making lots of weapons.
So clearly, the Resistance has substantial knowledge of the First Order’s threat, and the New Republic is aware of it. We know that much of Leia’s time leading the Resistance pre-TFA was spent in an effort to try to convince the Senate to take action, but obviously that never wound up happening. The Resistance, however, knew that the First Order was very dangerous and was planning an attack. This information should have been taken seriously by the Senate; they not only knew that the First Order was growing, but they also knew that the First Order was planning to attack. While it’s possible that the New Republic Senate would have had understandable reasons for not taking action against the First Order just based on growth (based on the Galactic Concordance), having knowledge of the First Order planning to violate that treaty should have prompted action.
3. The New Republic Senators are corrupt
Of course, while it should have prompted action, we know that it didn’t. And in the most recent episode of Resistance, we learned a very important part why: many New Republic Senators are corrupt. Kaz tells General Organa that the discovery of the First Order making many weapons won’t be enough to sway Senators like his father, and Leia agrees, adding, “considering so many of them are profiting from the creation of these weapons.” So Leia knows that many New Republic Senators are actually getting rich because of the First Order’s rise, since they profit from the building of weapons. That’s something that Rose touches on in The Last Jedi, as she explains that the way to get rich in the galaxy (as evidenced by Canto Bight) is by making and/or selling weapons. But it’s incredibly problematic for Senators of the New Republic to be getting rich off of weapons in light of the fact of what the First Order is doing. These Senators are essentially choosing wealth and profit over the well-being of the New Republic, which is a dereliction of duty and incredibly corrupt. These Senators know that the First Order is violating the Galactic Concordance, yet they don’t seem to care since they are getting rich off of the First Order’s rise. So in other words, the New Republic Senators aren’t just guilty of ignorance regarding the threat of the First Order; many of them are guilty of prioritizing selfish gain over the good of the galaxy.
4. The First Order is expanding
One of the main storylines of the show so far has been the fact that the First Order wants control of the Colossus. A contingent of Major Vonreg and Commander Pyre (overseen by Captain Phasma) have been heavily involved in trying to convince Captain Doza to sign an agreement. The viewer knows, though, that the First Order is actually working with a pirate gang, wanting these pirates to raid the station so much so as to force Doza and the people on the Colossus to welcome First Order leadership. So that theme has been a major plotline so far, running through many of the episodes. We know what the First Order wants… but why do they want it? It’s possible that they are simply looking to expand their territory a little beyond the Unknown Regions, because we still don’t have anything specific to suggest that the Colossus is a particularly special target. But with it being a racing station away from the central New Republic leadership, it could very well be a good place for the First Order to control without attracting a lot of attention.
Something else about the First Order that is seen pretty clearly in this show is the reality that people in the galaxy seem to tolerate their existence. Captain Doza doesn’t seem thrilled about them (which is something worth noting, since he’s a former Imperial), but he does tolerate their presence as something of an unwelcome necessity of life. Others on the station don’t really seem to mind the fact that the First Order keeps showing up; instead, they mainly just don’t like the secrecy about it from Doza and others. The Aces, the people of the Colossus, Doza, etc., all don’t seem to pay special attention to the First Order. In many ways, their reactions seem to me to be that of people who don’t really see the First Order as much of a threat but who tolerate them as a small extremist group. That’s probably because they don’t know any better, but the people who do know better – the New Republic Senators – don’t care enough to do anything about it. It’s just another reminder, though, that evil can rise and seem so harmless and unimportant initially, but ignoring it and simply tolerating it can have devastating consequences.
And while we’re on the subject of the First Order, there are also a few other things of note from the show. Of course, as we’ve already mentioned, they are making weapons (a lot of them), and we know that Starkiller Base has already been completed (or at least close to it, from all appearances). But one other thing is that Kylo Ren is already at work, which isn’t a good thing for the galaxy. In the episode “The Children from Tehar,” the two kids who escaped the First Order tell Kaz about a mysterious black figure named Kylo Ren who killed their entire village. This update didn’t mean a whole lot to Kaz, but it did to the Resistance. And what we know is that the massacre at the Tuanul Village in The Force Awakens wasn’t the first time that something like that happened in the galaxy led by Kylo Ren and his First Order forces.
5. No engagement still applies
Something that hasn’t been explicitly stated but that is felt at times is the fact that the rules of no engagement still apply between the Resistance and the First Order during this show. Basically, neither side wanted to yet engage in an open war, as that would be in direct violation of New Republic regulations and the Galactic Concordance. The First Order was lying in wait and growing in power, while the Resistance was trying to convince the New Republic to take action against the rising threat. Neither side was ready for open warfare quite yet, though, and that shows up during the show. Though there are some minor conflicts, there is nonetheless the tension felt that the characters have to tread lightly. Never was this more apparent than in the most recent episode, however, when Leia makes it very clearly and explicitly stated to Poe Dameron that he is not to engage the First Order on his reconnoissance mission. Poe, of course, does wind up engaging the First Order, but Leia’s icy command highlights the reality of this cold war. Based on what we’ve heard about the show, though – that it will eventually overlap with TFA (and presumably pass it) – we likely will see that open warfare at some point soon enough.