A strong family creates a stronger individual. We’ve all seen it in action. That kid who’s house you went to where the love was palpable. He went on to be a doctor. The support system around him allowed him, or rather encouraged him, to overcome obstacles and break barriers. To live the dream of every parent and have a better life than they did.
Now, as with all things having to do with human influence, no rule is hard and fast. There is always the “screw-up” or the kid who had it all but flushed it down the toilet. But for the sake of academic discourse, and because it is the rule and not the exception, we are going to take the idea as fact. A strong family creates a stronger individual.
We believe this truth to be self-evident because the great stories of our times tell us so; even when the protagonist is an orphan the story centers on finding a family. Which brings us to Star Wars, which is about family and all its many element. Love, kindness, selflessness, and most importantly the bond that is unbreakable.
These themes are most certainly present in all ten Star Wars films, but they are even more present in the animated section of the galaxy.
Part of what makes the prequels interesting, and challenging, is the lack of familial atmosphere that is present. The dogmatic Jedi and the corrupt Republic are all engines that create the antithesis of family.
When looking at Clone Wars, we see a core family in Anakin, Ashoka, Obi-Wan, and Padme. If we take Anakin as the patriarch, that makes Ashoka his younger sister, Obi-Wan his older brother, and Padme the matriarch.
What doesn’t fit is the chemistry. Sure, the characters have chemistry, but there is never that undefinable “it.” A lot of that centers around Anakin, who is never truly able to find his independence. He always defines himself based on someone else. He is the student of Obi-Wan, the teacher of Ashoka, the husband of Padme; he is never fully able to separate himself from those crutches of identity. Then, when each betrays him (Obi-Wan warning him about his relationship with Padme, Ashoka walking away, and Padme’s relationship with Senator Clovis), he is no longer able to cling to those relationships, and he is unable to stand on his own, it damns the family and the galaxy for decades.
Rebels, conversely, is the ideal found family. Each of the individuals ends the series able to stand on their own, but also unified even across the galaxy. Moreover, this family starts with a solid core, Hera, whose essence disperses to those around her.
By the end of the series, Hera has achieved her goal of defeating the Empire and becomes a literal mother. Kanan, the father, has sacrificed himself so that his family can live. Ezra, a selfish street rat to start, follows in the stead of his master and gives of himself so that his family can succeed. Sabine, who had been abandoned by her birth family, reunites and thus she has two strong families. Moreover, she is able, for the first time, to truly step into the role as a leader, protecting Lothal from the Empire. Even Zeb, who could be a character of nothing but muscle and wit, finds his people, both literally (the other Lasat) and figuratively (Kallus). He has the family support that allows him to branch out and becomes his best self.
This family, by coming together and thus becoming stronger individuals, is a spark that lights a fire across the galaxy. This flame grow and grows, leading to Scarif and then Yavin and then Endor. The culture of looking out for one another, from Raddus supporting Rogue One to Han Solo becoming a general, leads these people to become heroes. It supports Han, Luke, and Leia becoming their own found family. That love, that family, saves the galaxy.
As we move to Resistance, things are far different from where they were during the times of Clone Wars and Rebels. Not only are they not at war, but the idea of war has become foreign for a generation. Kaz Xiono is also at a very different place in his life than our other protagonists.
He is not an orphan. He is already part of something larger than himself, being a pilot in the Republic fleet. Still, he has his own demons and struggles. His father has given him everything he has ever achieved, making him immature and dependent.
Those around him also have a place they belong but have not fully actualized themselves. Tam is a mechanic but not the pilot she wants to be. Yeager has his spot on the Colossus, but struggles with whatever happened to his family and what that has to do with the Rebellion. There are also the other Aces, who’s histories will certainly provide struggles and strengths. But more than anything, all the characters of Resistance will have to become their best selves.
How? By coming together as a family. By finding themselves in others, and then being able to go out on their own, knowing that, like Hera, Sabine, and Zeb, if they are in need their family will be there. Forming that bond may just save the galaxy. Again.