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Star Wars: Resistance Reborn sets up the events of Rise of Skywalker

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Finally a novelization that feels essential

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A higher resolution version of the cover art for Star Wars: Resistance Reborn. DelRey

To prepare for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker you might want to dig into your pile of unfinished video games. The latest book from publisher DelRey, titled Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, puts some of the canon’s most under-appreciated characters to good use. Not only does it tie together multiple novels and comic series into a cohesive story, it also makes some very deep pulls from Star Wars Battlefront 2.

[Warning: What follows contains spoilers for Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, as well as Star Wars Battlefront 2.]

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Resistance was decimated, reduced to around a dozen souls — just a few more if you include droids — aboard the Millennium Falcon. Resistance Reborn picks up right where that movie left off, with General Leia Organa struggling politically, personally, and without much fuel left in the tank. Literally. The Falcon is nearly out of gas, and job one is making sure they don’t jump someplace they can’t easily escape from. Job two is gathering up more fighters for the cause.

That’s where Wedge Antilles enters the fray. The hero who survived not one but two attacks on Imperial Death Stars was revealed on the cover of the novel just yesterday. There’s also an exclusive excerpt from the novel available on the official Star Wars website. But, if I’m being completely honest, he’s my least favorite part of the book.

The final cover of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn shows Poe Dameron at the top of the frame. In the foreground there’s both Finn and Rey and, just hanging out in the background, our friend Wedge Antilles. DelRey

Overall, author Rebecca Roanhorse does an excellent job evoking the spirit of the modern Star Wars trilogy. Leia, Rey, Finn, and Rose all read just like they just stepped off the big screen. Roanhorse also nails the little things, like the vocabulary of the larger Star Wars universe. Wedge, on the other hand, doesn’t feel very authentic at all. Gone is the cool, calm, focused pilot who made such a great foil for Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian. In his place is a retiree whose glory days are very much behind him.

The action of the book takes a while to get going, as it churns through logistics and introducing a big cast of characters — bigger, frankly, than it really needs to be for only 320 pages. But once it gets going, Resistance Reborn doesn’t stop. The final hundred pages, which deal with a galaxy-spanning three-part heist designed to give the Resistance the men and material they need to continue the fight against the First Order, is a great read. Roanhorse implicitly understands how this universe’s combined space battles and guerrilla-style raids should play out at the same time.

At the center of the novel is a pair of relationships that have, so far at least, been reserved for the big screen. While Poe plays the father figure to Finn’s innocent, damaged child (sorry Poe/Finn shippers), the relationship between Rey and Leia is very clearly about passing the torch to a new generation. This novel may truly be the beloved princess’ swan song.

Getting back to the bit about Battlefront 2, however. One of the first things that Leia does in Resistance Reborn is recall Black Squadron, Poe Dameron’s elite unit of starfighter pilots who’ve been off doing their thing in Marvel’s comics rather than participating in The Last Jedi. But, she also makes an urgent call to Inferno Squad. For those who haven’t finished the campaign in EA DICE’s troubled first-person shooter and its downloadable content, the Inferno Squad now includes Iden Versio’s daughter, Zay. Together with Duros companion Shriv Suurgav, that pair provides perhaps the most moving subplot in the entire novel.

Inferno Squad’s cameo is so good, in fact, that I want more. We already know that members of Black Squadron, including Snap Wexley and Jess “Testor” Pava will be back for The Rise of Skywalker. Here’s hoping that Iden’s little girl gets some screen time as well.

Overall, Star Wars: Resistance Reborn feels like a much more essential book than Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire or even the Poe Dameron comic series itself. It’s a quick read and, if you’re invested in the modern trilogy or the characters in Battlefront 2, it comes highly recommended. You can pick it up for $28.99 starting Nov. 5.

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