Why Star Wars Resistance Isn't Just For Kids, According To The Executive Producer

star wars resistance colossus captain phasma disney channel
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Disney)

The Star Wars franchise may be between movies at the moment, but there is plenty of action from the galaxy far, far away available on the small screen. Star Wars Resistance is set in the sequel trilogy era, with the story picking up in the time shortly before the events of The Force Awakens. As an animated show that airs on Disney Channel, Resistance at first glance might seem aimed just at kids.

Well, Star Wars Resistance executive producer Justin Ridge chatted with CinemaBlend ahead of the show's premiere, and he had this to say when I asked about the show tapping into a new generation of fans:

It's exciting, to tell you the truth. I think the show is fun because we're kind of giving a little more of a lighthearted tone. Because I think we definitely want younger audiences to really be into the show, but we definitely don't want to exclude the older fans. We want to stay true to Star Wars and what has come before us. So even though it's lighter in tone and has a little more comedy, we definitely have a lot in store that I think older fans are really going to enjoy.

Star Wars Resistance isn't the darkest Star Wars project ever to premiere, and it's more family-friendly than the later seasons of both The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. That said, the lighthearted shenanigans that are sure to delight younger viewers aren't all that Resistance has going for it.

With the series picking up shortly before the events of The Force Awakens, the threat of the First Over has lingered over just about everything, and fans of the franchise know that something truly devastating is coming in the not-too-distant future thanks to Starkiller Base. In fact, the midseason trailer that recently debuted indicates that General Hux will unleash Starkiller Base on the galaxy very soon in Resistance's timeline. Even Rebels, which got fairly dark in its final seasons, didn't touch the actual Death Star!

Thanks to Kaz's status as a spy for the Resistance on Colossus, viewers have witnessed his efforts to help characters that we know and love from other Star Wars projects while still getting to know him and his new friends in some fun adventures. There's plenty to smile about even as the threat of the First Order looms and characters are forced to deal with pasts that aren't necessarily chock full of laughs. Resistance has the kind of substance that can appeal to viewers of all ages.

The combination of lightness and darkness also helps Resistance feel like it fits into the larger Star Wars universe. While installments such as Rogue One and later years of The Clone Wars weren't very light, most Star Wars projects have delivered some comedy to go with the action, adventures, and sometimes tragedies.

Like the TV shows that came before it, Resistance expands the Star Wars universe by covering a span of time that hasn't been tackled before since the Expanded Universe was discarded for new canon. A big question moving forward is how Resistance will maintain its tone for kids and adults alike as it moves into the Force Awakens timeline.

Star Wars fans have never had a TV show set during the events of the movies, as Clone Wars ended ahead of Revenge of the Sith and Rebels ended before Rogue One and A New Hope. Resistance should be an adventure moving forward for audiences of all ages. That said, younger viewers may continue to outnumber older viewers due to the conception -- or misconception, in this case -- that animation is often just for kids.

Aside from Forces of Destiny, the Star Wars TV projects haven't felt absolutely 100% aimed at any single demographic, and until The Mandalorian and the Rogue One prequel premiere, all of the Star Wars TV shows will have been animated. When I asked Justin Ridge for his thoughts on the misconception that Star Wars animation is just for kids, he told me this:

That's a battle that's gone on for a long time. I think a lot of people have viewed animation as a whole as something just for kids, which I disagree. Animation, I think even Brad Bird said, animation is a medium. It's not a genre. It's just a different way of telling these stories. So I think that's for people to just kind of accept and be like, 'We're telling really fun stories with these characters and it happens to be animation.' Hopefully they can get past the way that we're telling the story and just really get into it.

As Justin Ridge points out, animation is not exclusive to kids' programming. Anybody who has ever watched Family Guy or Rick and Morty can attest to that. Star Wars animation may get its unearned reputation as just for kids due to where the shows have aired and the simple fact that they're not live-action.

Airing on Cartoon Network, Disney XD, and Disney Channel may give the impression to some that only younger viewers can enjoy the content, which fans who have seen Ahsoka decapitating characters on Clone Wars, a major character tragically dying on Rebels, and what is surely to come on Resistance can attest is not true. Justin Ridge also cites famed animation director Brad Bird's thoughts on animation. Bird shared his view on the subject in 2018 when he faced claims that Incredibles 2 is just a "kids movie."

Star Wars Resistance has actually been on winter hiatus since all the way back in early December, but Kaz and his friends will be back on the airwaves sooner rather than later. You can catch the midseason premiere on Sunday, January 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Disney Channel. Princess Leia, Poe Dameron, and more familiar faces from the movies will be interacting further with Resistance's original characters in the second half of Season 1, and there's no need to worry that the story will be done for good at the end of the season. Resistance has already been renewed for Season 2.

If you need some additional viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).