Resistance Reborn

Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, by its own nature, has a lot of functions; it is the first original novel of the canon Expanded Universe starring Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. It picks up from where The Last Jedi left off, shouldering the franchise’s recovery from both the fictional decimation of the Resistance and the division of fans endlessly debating over the new direction of the franchise. Finally, rising genre author Rebecca Roanhorse was given the task of seamlessly blending the works of every writer and filmmaker in the franchise before her, setting the stage for the climactic confrontation with a reborn Emperor Palpatine in the upcoming Rise of Skywalker. Roanhorse’s writing fires on all cylinders, delivering a novel Star Wars fans of any kind can enjoy.

Reborn picks up in the days and weeks after the Battle of Crait as depicted in The Last Jedi, with a Resistance beaten down and battered to a measly crew of the Millennium Falcon and an ambiguous number of allies scattered throughout the galaxy. True to Leia’s final words in that movie, “we have all we need”, Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, and Leia commit to rebuilding their rebellion from scratch and staving off the looming threat of the First Order. While visiting classic worlds such as Ryloth and Corellia, devoted fans of the new Star Wars canon will enjoy cameos from a wide variety of other characters, including Marvel’s Black Squadron and Star Wars Battlefront II’s Inferno Squad.

Legacy characters, including Dennis Lawson’s Wedge Antilles (the only pilot to survive both attacks on the Empire’s Death Stars) and Empire Strikes Back’s Carlist Rieekan (perhaps better known to modern fans as the player’s commanding officer in the classic Nintendo 64 game, Rogue Squadron) are brought back into the fold. Newcomers include a woman warlord/former Imperial officer whose backstory connects with that of Asajj Ventress from The Clone Wars. Roanhorse does a fine job juggling this massive cast that blends together almost every era of the Star Wars canon.

Subplots range from Finn and Poe on an Ocean’s Eleven style heist to Battlefront II’s sassy Shriv on a bizarre mission. Daisy Ridley’s Rey is sadly a little underutilized, but this is perhaps due to the fleshing out of her character in the upcoming film. It’s Wedge Antilles’ character arc that truly shines in this novel, considering we haven’t seen him around since the events of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, 30 or so years prior in-universe. That trilogy is heavily invoked in the relationship between Wedge, former Rebellion fighter pilot Norra Wexley, and her son, Temmin “Snap” Wexley, played by Greg Grunberg in The Force Awakens.

One of the more interesting components of the story is a B-plot starring a disgruntled, sociopathic First Order records officer, who ultimately serves as the main antagonist of the novel in lieu of an appearance from Supreme Leader Kylo Ren or General Hux. It’s the closest Star Wars has come to tackling the #MeToo movement, touching on topics like workplace violence, abuse of authority, and male aggression. It does so tastefully while staying true to a Star Wars tale, and provides a fresh perspective to the usual dark sider or gangster Star Wars villain.

Overall, Resistance Reborn is a crisp, quick read, and a vital chapter in the new Star Wars movie trilogy. It’s a nostalgic celebration of Star Wars characters of the past that invokes the classic Expanded Universe feeling, but in a Disney era Star Wars setting. Let’s just hope they give Rebecca Roanhorse a Rey novel!

Reviewed By: Doug McCausland for Roqoo Depot.

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