In the latest two Star Wars episodes, the term Resistance has been introduced. But at times in each of these movies, it seems to be used interchangeably with 'the Rebellion'.
What is the difference between these two terms?
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First let's look what these words exactly mean:
the refusal to accept or comply with something.
an act of armed resistance to an established government or leader.
Rebellions exist in opposition of Empire but Empire is already fallen so done the need of Rebellions. Now it's Resistance against the First Order.
That's what Isaac think:
“Just think about the words,” Isaac told io9 in an interview this weekend. “One is to rebel against, so it’s an offensive action. Resisting is on the defensive. So I think the big difference is that [The Resistance] is even more cornered.”
That does not sound like the grand victory people imagined for the Rebellion after the end of Return of the Jedi. Isaac also said “There’s less of them” and “It’s slightly less organized,” which pretty much paints a picture of the universe we’re going to see in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.- io9.gizmodo.com
“This is one of the very cool things about working with Lucasfilm and J.J. [Abrams] is we’re creating this stuff together,” Isaac said. “And they’re open to that and they’re excited by that. So [the backstory] was a collaboration. That was me realizing that Yavin, the Rebel base at the end of A New Hope, was shot in Guatemala. I was born in Guatemala. This takes place 30 years later. Which is close to my age. And so I thought ‘Why couldn’t Poe be from Yavin? He could be from there, that rebel base.’ And I said that in some interviews. Lucasfilm heard that, it got back to the creators of Shattered Empire and they thought ‘That’s a cool idea.’ This is the first time where me talking about my character background I usually do as an actor, I get a comic book out of it. It’s pretty wild. They’re doing a beautiful job. I think it’s great. The story itself I had nothing to do with just the seed of that’s where Poe in born.”
I always thought "The Rebellion" referred to the movement, while "The Resistance" refers to the group of people serving that movement under General Organa.
In other words, people on planets throughout the galaxy might be part of "The Rebellion" without actually fighting with "The Resistance".