‘Star Wars’: Ace pilots, not Jedi, take center stage in animated ‘Resistance’ series

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Before he became a Jedi master, Luke Skywalker hopped in an X-wing Starfighter and blew up a Death Star. Darth Vader had his own rad TIE Fighter, and the man formerly known as Anakin Skywalker was one of the best pilots in the galaxy. Then there’s Poe Dameron, the Resistance’s resident top gun.

Talented pilots and their starships have always been a strong thread in the “Star Wars” galaxy. And sorry, Jedi lovers, those space aces take center stage in Disney Channel’s new animated “Star Wars Resistance” series (premiering Oct. 7, 10 EDT/PDT), which finds its influences in “Top Gun,” “The Right Stuff” and real-life military warfare.

In the anime-styled show (which is set before “The Force Awakens” film), Kazuda Xiono (voiced by Christopher Sean) is a young hotshot recruited by Poe (Oscar Isaac) for an important Resistance mission: go undercover on the Colossus, an aircraft-refueling station on a water planet, and spy on any nefarious First Order shenanigans. Kaz quickly finds a competitive community of others with a need for speed who engage in life-or-death races for fame and fortune.

“Resistance” creator Dave Filoni, who previously headed up “The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels,” has personal connections to a past era of flyboys: His grandfather and uncle both piloted private planes, and his uncle also restored old World War II warbirds and take them – and Filoni when he was a kid – to events like the annual Oshkosh, Wisconsin, air show.

“When you see movies like ‘The Right Stuff,’ it really connects with you because you know people like that in your life, these pilots who have a really unique sense of confidence,” says Filoni, who executive produces alongside Athena Portillo, Justin Ridge and Brandon Auman.

Kaz is a kid whose bravado gets him into trouble. He pilots the Fireball, designed as a cross between an X-wing and a World War II F4U Corsair, but hasn’t really been out in the world to test his skills. “He is a fish out of water somewhat in this extreme environment of the Colossus where people are trying to figure out what is their life now in the years after the Empire fell,” Filoni says.

The top-flight folks are in the Aces, a group of five pilots with their own custom outfits and droids who protect the Colossus and take on all challengers in harrowing races. Hype Fazon (Donald Faison) is a cocky Rodian showoff whose heart is in the right place, Griff Halloran (Stephen Stanton) is a gruff ex-TIE pilot, Freya Fenris (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is a fierce lady who’s all business, and Bo Keevil is the mysterious, quiet daredevil of the group.

Kaz makes fast friends with Torra Doza (Myrna Velasco), a young girl who wears colorful clothing and a positive attitude but, as an Ace, is a beast behind a flight stick. “She’s actually rather fun and lighthearted,” Filoni says. “It doesn’t mean that she can’t be also a fantastic pilot.”

One guy who’s definitely not on the heroes’ side is Major Vonreg (Lex Lang), a First Order TIE pilot whose crimson armor and spacecraft come from an old-school inspiration.

“Every time we have a villain pilot, we would talk about, well, is this our Red Baron?” Filoni says. “And finally it’s like, let’s make one red all out. It seems to fit with the First Order, since they seem to really like that as a color.

“If the good guys have aces, the villains need them, too.”

Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/09/14/star-wars-ace-pilots-not-jedi-take-center-stage-animated-resistance-series/1295303002/