Earlier this month, a new Star Wars canon novel was released – Resistance Reborn. Written by Rebecca Roanhorse, Resistance Reborn is a part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker series, taking place right after The Last Jedi and leading us to the new film coming in twenty – holy cow, twenty – days. We’ve had a slew of canon novels released this year, including Alphabet Squadron, Master and Apprentice, and Thrawn: Treason. While Resistance Reborn is decidedly the most relevant to what we’ll see on the big screen in December, I wouldn’t say it’s necessary. Let’s dig in a bit.
Our heroes are on their last leg – only those left on the Falcon, along with a couple small squadrons, remain. General Leia Organa organizes the search for help, for leaders old and new, Rebel or ex-Imperial. No matter where they look, allies to the Resistance have all but disappeared. Maz Kanata, reluctant to actually fight, provides the Resistance with vital information about an encrypted list of Resistance sympathizers created by the First Order. And so a desperate plan is put into action. They split into four teams: one, on the Falcon, visits an old friend of Leia’s on Ryloth; another, led by Poe, attempts to win the coveted list of allies from a crime lord; Shriv and Zay (of Battlefront II fame) lead another in regaining captured Resistance ships from the First Order shipyards in Corellia; and finally, Wedge Antilles and Norra Wexley lead a rescue of political prisoners of the First Order. Whew!
It seems like so much happens in this novel, and it does – the last third is wonderfully paced and action-packed – but nothing revelatory truly happens. That’s not to say nothing exciting happens. One particular political prisoner Wedge rescues had me cheering in my living room. But because of its place in the overall canon storyline, Resistance Reborn can’t give away much in terms of major plot points or major character development. Because of this, we didn’t get much character work for Rey or Finn, and other than meeting some new allies, we have no insight into the state of the Resistance at the start of The Rise of Skywalker. This is no fault of Roanhorse’s; the book is simply in an awkward position.
As for the writing, the quality fluctuated, at least for me. I enjoyed her take on the internal struggle of Poe working through his shame about the events of The Last Jedi. I adored the scenes with Finn and Poe. The action on Corellia in the last part of the book had me sucked in. Other parts left me dissatisfied. While I appreciated the incorporation of other canon book characters and events, it sometimes took me out of the story when Roanhorse had to do exposition for that particular thing. I know not everyone reads every novel, so it may have been necessary, but it didn’t always work for me. We have Wookieepedia for a reason! There was one part in particular where she felt the need to explain how Finn was an ex-Stormtrooper – through Leia’s point of view – that felt a little…patronizing? Unnecessary? Both of those things. However, scenes between Leia and Rey are charming, even if they can’t reveal much. We get to meet movie background characters – hello, Jess Pava! – and flesh out how the Resistance affects those who aren’t our superstars. There are many positives to outweigh the less-than-revealing plot!
However, scenes between Leia and Rey are charming, even if they can’t reveal much. We get to meet movie background characters – hello, Jess Pava! – and flesh out how the Resistance affects those who aren’t our superstars. There are many positives to outweigh the less-than-revealing plot!
Overall, this isn’t my favorite canon novel of the year, but it’s definitely one I enjoyed. It fills in the gap between movies nicely, even if not completely. The highlight for me was Poe’s character work. To see him applying the lessons he learned in The Last Jedi was both immensely satisfying and relieving. I can’t wait to see how our other heroes develop, and I hope we get glimpses of some of my favorites – more Jess, Norra, and Wedge, please – in theaters this winter. Resistance sets us up for the final chapter of this life-changing saga, and I can’t wait to celebrate it with you all.
May the Force be with you!