The Big Picture
- Episode 3 of Ahsoka delivers an action-packed dogfight with hints of Jedi training and Star Wars politics thrown in.
- Senator Hamato Xiono, previously seen in Star Wars Resistance, is introduced and proves to be a challenging character for General Hera Syndulla.
- Xiono’s past actions and refusal to commit to finding Grand Admiral Thrawn highlight the problem of spineless leaders who prioritize compromise over fighting for peace.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and so does Ahsoka‘s third episode, “Time to Fly.” The whole episode is almost like a feature-length dogfight with sprinkles of Jedi training, but there’s still time for some good old Star Wars politics. While Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) are closing in on the Denab system, General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is facing the political end of the issue in a meeting with Chancellor Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and a host of New Republic Senators, one of which seems particularly determined to give Hera a hard time: Senator Hamato Xiono (Nelson Lee).
Senator Xiono’s appearance on Ahsoka, along with Mon Mothma’s, had been anticipated since we first saw the trailers, and this left many fans scratching their heads about what exactly his part would be in the new series. That’s because although this is his live-action debut, it isn’t his first appearance in Star Wars — he was previously seen in the animated series, Star Wars Resistance, set decades after the events of Ahsoka. Voiced by Tzi Ma, he’s the father of protagonist Kazuda “Kaz” Xiono (Christopher Sean) and, if it’s any consolation, time didn’t make him any easier to deal with.
‘Star Wars Resistance’ Shows the Rise of the First Order Through the Eyes of Senator Xiono’s Son
Resistance is a short-lived series with just two seasons, but one that’s definitely worth the watch not only for Star Wars fans but for anyone who may be looking for something light and funny. The series follows Kaz Xiono as he joins General Leia Organa’s (voiced by Carolyn Hennesy) Resistance in the face of the rising threat of the First Order. The series begins around six months prior to The Force Awakens and lasts until briefly after The Last Jedi. We experience the events of both movies through the eyes of Kaz and his friends.
Kaz is recruited to the Resistance by none other than ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) himself during a mission in which a New Republic squadron is to covertly deliver some crucial intel directly to Dameron but is intercepted by a First Order ace pilot. Upon joining the Resistance, Kaz is tasked with acting as a Resistance spy aboard the Colossus refueling station, located in the ocean world of Castillon, in the Western Reaches sector of the galaxy. This is during the silent expansion of First Order activity around the edges of the galaxy. The Colossus is a strategic point for them as it’s a way into the Mid-Rim worlds, which makes it important for the Resistance to monitor. As for the New Republic, by this time they are already aware of the existence of the First Order but don’t consider it a threat nor imagine the actual size of its fleet and military.
The Xionos come from the Hosnian system, which we see being destroyed by the Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens. Fortunately, though, Senator Xiono and the rest of the family are off-world when it happens, and they are finally able to reach Kaz aboard the Colossus to let him know they are okay. But even after witnessing the First Order’s destructive power firsthand, the Senator is still bitter toward Kaz for joining the Resistance, which he considers “extremists,” and refuses his son’s call to meet on the Resistance base on D’Qar after the Hosnian cataclysm. He also tells Kaz that the family has been exposed to the First Order due to his activities, and the two of them cease communications.
Roughly a year later, Kaz is part of the galaxy fleet amassed by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) that joins the Resistance in the Battle of Exegol, as seen in The Rise of Skywalker. An ace pilot himself, Kaz used to take part in races aboard the Colossus with his Fireball starfighter, which he also flew in combat and reconnaissance missions, as well as on Exegol. Although he is not seen in the movie (along with many other wasted opportunities of the sort), the novelization confirms his presence in the battle and that he’s even silenced from the main communications channel due to his constant chatter and excitement. Typical Kaz.
Hamato Xiono Is Part of the Problem That Made Way for the Rise of the First Order
During Hera’s meeting with Mon Mothma and her host of Senators in Ahsoka, the General asks Xiono directly if he took part in the Galactic Civil War. He answers that he didn’t, and is criticized by Hera, who chastises him for “waiting to see who comes out on top.” It’s interesting that she would say this, especially after we saw how some galactic entrepreneurs only have loyalty for their own interests even in the face of fascism and still do business with the Empire after the war. Xiono is part of this very same problem but on the political side.
Years later, his referring to the Resistance as “extremists” is still symptomatic of the damage made by people who want to hold a non-existent moral high ground in the prospect of war instead of doing the right thing. When Ahsoka takes place, he refuses to commit to the efforts of finding Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) because “nobody wants another war” and he’s right up to a point, as no one really does. But if the prospect of one is getting more real by the day, a true leader can’t try to find common ground (as there is none with fascism), but take the right side in the struggle. Decades of peace have an interesting effect on spineless people, who prefer to compromise it than to fight for it.
This is what eventually leads Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) to form the Resistance. The whole process is shown in depth in the great novel Bloodline, by Claudia Gray, as Leia constantly tries to warn the New Republic Senate. This story takes place around six years prior to The Force Awakens and follows Leia as she sees Imperial sympathizers become popular within the Senate and even some colleagues proposing doing business with the First Order. Most of the Senators demoralize Leia as an outdated figure, especially when a scandal publicly reveals that she and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) are the biological children of former Imperial enforcer Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen/James Earl Jones). Although Xiono isn’t mentioned in Bloodline, it’s easy to picture him in the Senate pointing fingers at Leia and calling her a hypocrite, while also trying to keep neutrality toward the First Order.
By the time Ahsoka takes place, the New Republic is de-militarizing the galaxy to get it back to how it was before the Clone Wars, when no one had an army of their own. The idea is a noble one, sure, but rather out of touch with the reality of a galaxy that spent the last three decades at constant war and fascist regimes. While peace is the ideal way of life, we see in The Last Jedi that war is still the best business and that money has no loyalty. Season 3 of The Mandalorian shows how these principles are already slowly corroding the fledgling New Republic, thanks in part to the lack of commitment by people like Senator Xiono.