Shortly before the premiere of the final film of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a novel titled Resistance Reborn by author Rebecca Roanhorse was released.
Though the endless existing Star Wars Expanded Universe written media collection was delegated to a large non-canonical umbrella dubbed Legends in anticipation of the release of The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm has released a variety of canonical novels since then. This has given fans additional media that expands upon the cinematic stories in between the films (not to mention the companion novels that follow the script of the films as well, which offer new perspectives). With the “loss” of the wildly popular Expanded Universe, new canonical books were an essential need for Star Wars audiences.
Resistance Reborn is an exceptionally important chapter in the Star Wars universe and the Skywalker Saga, because it fills in some of the gap of time between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The Last Jedi saw the Resistance left in tattered remains after their narrow escape from Crait, an army reduced to a mere handful of fighters.
Below, we will explore a summarized version of some of the plot points from Resistance Reborn that tie directly into The Rise of Skywalker and previous films as well.
Warning: Major spoilers for ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ and ‘Resistance Reborn’!
Poe Dameron’s Guilt
Many Star Wars fans were quick to point out the questionable and sometimes disastrous outcomes of Resistance commander Poe Dameron’s decisions throughout the course of The Last Jedi — such as the Dreadnought fight (which led to a demotion) and his mutiny against Vice Admiral Holdo. Cinematically, these choices hurt some of the credibility of the lovable hotshot pilot that had become a fan favorite after The Force Awakens.
Resistance Reborn follows Poe’s story as he works under General Leia to help rebuild the Resistance from the ashes that remain. One of the strengths of novelizations like this, that isn’t typically found in cinematic media, is that we’re able to take a step inside Poe’s head and hear his thoughts and reflections on the events that occurred in The Last Jedi. He feels immense guilt and is incredibly hard on himself about the things that he’s done. Poe spends much of the novel attempting to come to terms with all of this while also trying to continue moving forward. We’re reminded of why Poe is meant to be a leader, which then helps solidify why he is ultimately the one to take on the role of acting General of the Resistance in The Rise of Skywalker.
“You’re absolutely right. I disobeyed a direct order, I got people killed, I undermined my commander, and led a mutiny. And if you don’t think that eats me up, that it haunts me every day, every minute, then you don’t know a damn thing.” – Poe Dameron, ‘Resistance Reborn’
Despite his mistakes, Poe Dameron lives and breathes the Resistance and is a true hero.
Wedge Antilles is an X-wing pilot that appeared in the original trilogy. Resistance Reborn explores the current life of the retired Rebel, who is married to Norra Wexley — the mother of Temmin “Snap” Wexley, a Resistance pilot from the sequel trilogy. In the novel, Snap and his wife Karé Kun venture to Akiva to recruit Wedge and Nora, asking them to leave behind their quiet life of retirement to help rebuild the Resistance.
“But the truth was, his home was out there in space. It had always been. And now he was heading back, once and for all.” – ‘Resistance Reborn’
This gives a backstory as to why Wedge showed up in The Rise of Skywalker in the final battle over Exegol, as he had teamed back up with the Resistance beforehand. Wedge’s arrival makes Snap’s death during the battle, moments before the Resistance backup armada hurled out of hyperspace, that much more tragic.
Princess Leia Floating Through Space
Early on in The Last Jedi, there is a moment in which The First Order blows out the bridge on General Leia Organa’s ship and fans were stunned into silence as it appeared that the beloved Princess had met her end. However, shortly after Leia’s body began to drift out into space amongst the wreckage of the battle, she reaches out, opens her eyes, and dramatically flies back into the ship before collapsing. Cinematically, this scene was not exactly a favorite amongst fans due to the way that it appeared on screen.
In the opening chapter of Resistance Reborn, Leia reflects on that very day —
“… and the Force had flared hot and alive in her. And it had brought her back, guided her to safety.” – ‘Resistance Reborn’
In a written format, the message behind what happened can be absorbed in a more serious manner for what it was meant to convey. It was a reminder that Leia also harbors the Force sensitivity of the Skywalker family, which is an important plot point that is threaded throughout The Rise of Skywalker.
Finn’s Relationship Status
Viewers spent much of the first two sequel films speculating about Finn’s feelings for Rey, and things were sent into a tailspin after Finn and Rose kissed in The Last Jedi. However, romance between Finn and Rose was nowhere to be found in The Rise of Skywalker. Though this may seem a bit out of place, Resistance Reborn just so happens to briefly address it.
In a conversation with Poe, Finn explains (with an amused expression) that he and Rey are just friends. He also tells Poe that he and Rose discussed the kiss on Crait and decided it was just a moment and nothing more.
Acceptance of the First Order
Some may find themselves wondering how exactly the galaxy fell under the grip of yet another evil, looming governing body after the fall of the Empire. Besides the strength, numbers, and weaponry of the First Order, which allowed them to easily overtake planets, it was also a matter of perspective.
A young First Order cadet named Monti Calay reflects on this in Resistance Reborn. From his perspective, high command was to blame for Starkiller Base and the destruction of the Hosnian system. But as for the lower ranks of the First Order, they actually brought order and jobs to places like the planet of Corellia.
“The evil, if that’s what it was, was decidedly divorced from his everyday reality.” – ‘Resistance Reborn’
The First Order operated in a very calculated and manipulative manner, which allowed them to skew the information that reached regular citizens on the ground level. With the Resistance dwindled down to mere embers and the looming presence of the First Order everywhere, people and creatures of the galaxy chose the path of least resistance (no pun intended).
Rebuilding the Resistance
Though the harrowing missions are best described in the context of the novel itself, Resistance Reborn covers how exactly the Resistance managed to regroup in the aftermath of The Last Jedi.
Throughout the book, various pilots, fighters, and leaders are recruited to join the cause to reignite the spark of the Resistance. They set off on missions to gather more ships, free powerful figures of the New Republic that had been held as prisoners by the First Order, and even manage to obtain a list of figures that the First Order was planning to imprison or eliminate. The book closes with a promise of hope, as the now slightly larger and stronger Resistance team makes plans to split up and scour every corner of the galaxy to build a real army against the First Order — thus eventually leading up to the staggering wave of backup that arrives on Exegol at the end of The Rise of Skywalker.
Overall, Resistance Reborn is a must read for Star Wars fans. The novel dances between the perspectives of multiple characters throughout, both Resistance and First Order, and provides a unique and insightful glimpse into a galaxy far, far away while providing necessary information that leads into The Rise of Skywalker.