Yeager faces an uncomfortable piece of his past with the arrival of his brother, Marcus Speedstar, in “The Platform Classic”.
An important race is approaching, one that is famous galaxy-wide, called The Platform Classic and has the entire platform buzzing with excitement. Kaz seems to know a thing or two about the race and thinks it will be the biggest one ever but refuses to share the details of why with Neeku and Tam. Working on some repairs in Yeager’s garage, the entire crew is called up to Doza Tower for a big announcement, without knowing exactly why. Once there Doza tells them that in an effort to boost the impact of the race he wants Yeager himself to race against a familiar opponent; Marcus Speedstar. Unbeknownst to everyone, except maybe Doza, Marcus is Yeager’s brother, and the two have not seen each other in years.
Tensions run high as Jarek is forced to face past tragedy head on and needs to make a decision on how to move forward. Can past grievances ever be forgiven? For Speedstar this race is more than just another shot at fame and fortune but instead is a last ditch effort to earn some credits….but maybe not for himself.
The Race Is On
“The Platform Classic” puts racing back at the forefront of Star Wars Resistance in a big way by featuring not just any race but the biggest on Castilon – The Platform Classic.
Hoping to boost the local economy Captain Doza has sought out Marcus Speedstar – a top name in the racing circuit – and, as Doza announces, “three time winner of the Five Sabers”. If Five Sabers sounds familiar it’s because it was first mentioned in Claudia Gray’s novel Star Wars: Bloodline and is another famous race that at one point was overseen by none other than Han Solo. In fact, according to Bucket’s List on Starwars.com Solo was originally planned to be the visiting racer instead of Marcus. Oh, what could have been. But Marcus is an accomplished pilot in his own right and is raring to get another shot at racing his brother Yeager. Unfortunately for him Jarek tells both Marcus and Doza that his days as a racer are long over as is his relationship with his brother.
The Platform Classic finally kicks off and it’s the most intense and energetic race featured on the series to date. Along with Yeager and Speedstar, which adds a whole different layer of tension on top of it, are the rest of the pilots in Ace Squadron. Torra Doza, Hype Fazon, Freya Fenris, Bo Keevil and Griff Halloran. This race really emphasizes how cutthroat these pilots can be when not mingling with each other up in Doza Tower. Stun blasts and attempts to run each other into the courses hoops are just a few of the tricks the racers pull out of their sleeves in the fight to the finish. All narrated by announcer, Sivrak, who sounds suspiciously like The Phantom Menace’s notorious podracing announcers; Fode and Beed.
The climax of The Platform Classic is a nail-biting ascent to the very edge of the planet’s atmosphere followed by a plunge back towards the surface with no power. The racers need to glide their ships through a reactivation hoop to restart their engines. With all of the racers one wrong move away from missing the ring and crashing into the ocean the true reasons behind the brothers estrangement unfolds. Airing the past and seeing the truth, and regret, in his brother, Yeager pulls back at the last moment letting Marcus fly through the final hoop to with The Platform Classic.
Yeager’s Tragic Past
Picking up on details hinted at in “Fuel for the Fire,” the episode “The Platform Classic” lays the tragic story of Yeager and his family out in the open and the wound is still raw for him. At first the resentment comes across as Marcus’ tendency to strive for nothing more than a kind of celebrity status. Typical cocky racer behavior; fortune and glory. And while he can come off slightly arrogant he clearly has a deep respect for his brother and truly seems like he wants, and needs, to make amends.
In the aforementioned episode “Fuel for the Fire” a photo was seen by Kazuda in Yeager’s office that showed him with what appeared to be a wife and child. It turns out that they were killed in a horrific crash during a past race and that Marcus is indirectly to blame. Looking for an advantage to beat out his brother Marcus spiked his ship with volatile hyperfuel, also seen in “Fuel for the Fire” and it proved to be disastrous with the crash bringing about the death of Jarek’s wife and child. What Yeager does not see, or has possibly been refusing to see, is that Marcus has learned from his mistakes and did not come to Castilon with the intention to win galactic fame. His mechanic, Oplock, is being held by enforcers of the Guavian Death Gang and he needs to win this race to pay them off. It’s then that he recognizes the changes in his brother, the selflessness in his actions, and hands him the win.
The themes of redemption that are now trademark motifs in the Star Wars universe go hand in hand with forgiveness and it’s a big step in Yeager’s evolution and really speaks to his character. By tearing down the wall inside he becomes stronger, not weaker.
Binding The Galaxy Together
Star Wars is a sprawling galaxy filled with all manner of larger-than-life heroes and villains, planets, species, etc. and the saga is at its best when it ties it all together. Not in a heavy-handed way but subtle nods that enhance, and not distract, from the current story being told.
The designs of the various ships featured in Star Wars Resistance, and particularly in Ace Squadron, are a fantastic mix of styles from different eras. Yeager’s racer, Galaxy’s Glory, is a functional design that compliments his personality, and combines aesthetics from classic ships like the X-Wing and the A-Wing. In contrast, Speedstar’s craft combines a similar look from a Y-Wing with a prequel-era Jedi Starfighter front end. It’s also significantly sharper in profile representing Marcus’ more aggressive racing style. The pilots of Ace Squadron also have unique racers and their individual color palettes look stunning with the Star Wars Resistance anime-inspired animation style and cel shading. Bold colors that differentiate the racer while also separating this series with those that have come before.
Other points of interest in “The Platform Classic” include the Guavian Death Gang, which aesthetically look fantastic here, who debuted in The Force Awakens in a confrontation with Kanjiklub and Han Solo. The planet Rishi is brought up, it’s where Marcus’ trouble with the Guavians began, and goes all the way back to the very first season of The Clone Wars.
The story of how both Marcus and Yeager got into racing in the first place tie together neatly with the information known so far regarding the New Republic military. Jarek fought in the Battle of Jakku which took place in the year 5 ABY on the side of the New Republic Defense Fleet. After their victory and in the years after the New Republic began downsizing the military which was first touched on in Chuck Wendig’s novels that make up the Aftermath trilogy. In that story Mon Mothma, the first chancellor of the newly minted New Republic, discusses her wish to drastically reduce the size of their military in the aim of decentralizing power post-Imperial rule. For those who didn’t read the novels it still remains an interesting bit of information but for the fans who did it is immensely satisfying to see the connections being made with other media.
While all is not forgotten, both Yeager and Marcus have made strides to mend their broken familial bonds. After all, forgiveness is not a destination but rather a journey. There is also a newfound respect for Kaz, not that he completely didn’t before, but he sees now that Kaz’s initial instinct for Yeager to trust his brother was correct. While first reluctant to take Kaz on as a member of the team while he works undercover the two are well on their way to a strong friendship of their own.
Over the course of the season the relationships between the main characters have begun to solidify. A growing trust is being formed. Kaz is genuinely appreciative of the friends he has made on Colossus but his friends, with the exception of Yeager, are missing an important piece of the puzzle. How they’ll handle the fact that he is indeed a spy for the Resistance is up in the air but will inevitably rise to the surface.
Mike Harris hails from the suburbs of Chicago and has been a fan for most of his life. Working as an industrial radiographer and raising a family with his wife take up most of his time, but there’s always room for Star Wars books and podcasts! Just looking to give back to Star Wars and the fan community, it’s been a source of fun and learning for him for so long.