Things look pretty bleak for the Resistance after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but an official new Star Wars book clarifies that, yes, there’s still hope out there in the galaxy. The aptly titled Resistance Reborn — part of the “Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” publishing lineup — reveals essential information about what Leia, Rey, Poe, Finn, Rose, and the rest of the Resistance do in the weeks and months after The Last Jedi. In short: The remaining Resistance spreads out across the galaxy on a series of recruitment missions to bring aging heroes like Wedge Antilles back into the fold, but they also uncover a dark secret about the First Order that could be the key to their salvation.
We also learn a lot more about Greg Grunberg’s character Snap Wexley, who appeared briefly in The Force Awakens and will return in The Rise of Skywalker alongside his adoptive father, Wedges Antilles.
It should come as no surprise that in a Star Wars novel called “Resistance Reborn,” we learn that the Resistance is reborn (duh), but things are far more complicated out there in the galaxy than The Last Jedi would have you believe.
Spoilers follow for Resistance Reborn.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly claimed that Greg Grunberg’s Snap Wexley was a “new” character when he had appeared in The Force Awakens, and that he was Wedge Antilles’ son when he is the adopted son.
The story picks up not long after the events of The Last Jedi, and the Resistance is desperate for help, allies, and leadership. Surviving Resistance members like Poe and Rose are promoted to Commander, and as Poe grapples with his failures and misconduct during The Last Jedi, he finally proves himself a capable decisive leader for the Resistance in a way that makes his character feel more important than ever before.
With the aid of Yendor, an old Twi’lek friend of Leia’s, the Resistance takes shelter on Ryloth, home planet of the Twi’leks. Throughout the novel, the First Order is putting pressure on various planets, cities, and civilizations in the galaxy even this far into the Outer Rim territories.
As they seek to expand their fleet, it involves putting unjust taxes on these places. With increasing frequency, planets like Ryloth grapple with the idea of defying the First Order. All it takes is a little push in some cases for that to happen, and the tide starts to turn for the better.
As Leia sends the likes of Poe and other Resistance members out to a list of allies, many of them have disappeared, confusing and frustrating everyone. A bright light in the growing Resistance is the addition of Wedge Antilles and his wife Norra, former Rebel pilots long-retired. Norra is the mother of Snap Wexley, a key member of Poe Dameron’s Black Squadron who appeared in The Force Awakens. His father died, so Wedge is Norra’s second husband, essentially making the new Resistance something of a family affair in a really fun way.
And yes, that means Snap Wexley (aka, Greg Grunberg’s character) is Wedge’s adult son (through marriage)!
But soon the central MacGuffin in Resistance Reborn is presented: a comprehensive list of First Order political prisoners and dissidents.
We know from Star Wars: Battlefront II’s DLC that the First Order abducted children and forced them into military service; That’s how Finn and his fellow soldiers became stormtroopers. But in Resistance Reborn, they’re doing something that’s perhaps even worse.
The First Order has rounded up everyone in the galaxy that might be sympathetic to the Resistance, and they’ve forced them into labor camps. These include familiar names (and faces if they also appear in Rise of Skywalker) like Senator Ransolm Casterfo, a major character from Star Wars: Bloodline.
These many people have been systematically abducted and imprisoned by the First Order, but the Resistance gets the opportunity to steal the list, decrypt it, and then they have a chance to free hundreds of Resistance fighters that they know will be valuable in the coming war.
Many canonical Star Wars comics and novels don’t feel essential in the bigger picture of the Skywalker Saga, but Resistance Reborn feels like the coalescence of them all into a single meaningful narrative that leads right into The Rise of Skywalker. Maybe it’s all the mystery going into Episode IX, or maybe it’s the way this new novel converges various characters and stories from across mediums for the climactic ending.
Resistance Reborn incorporates several canonical stories about Poe’s Black Squadron or Zay Versio and Shriv from Inferno Squadron of Star Wars: Battlefront II, along with many of the central characters from the movies. It may not feel like totally essential reading before The Rise of Skywalker, but it’s a genuinely fun read that fills in the blanks between Episode VIII and IX.
Resistance Reborn will be released November 12, 2019.