Announced alongside the land's official announcement at the 2015 D23 Expo in Anaheim, the attraction was originally described as guests "being placed in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance". On November 17, 2018 at a Destination D event, the attraction's name was announced as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
The attraction was originally planned to open with Galaxy's Edge on opening day, but on March 7, 2019, it was announced that it would open later than the rest of Galaxy's Edge for "phase two".
On July 11, 2019, the opening dates for Rise of the Resistance were revealed with the Hollywood Studios version opening first on December 5, 2019, followed by Disneyland's version opening on January 17, 2020. The Hollywood Studios version debuted to media event attendees on December 3 and 4th, when the attraction was dedicated in a presentation featuring X-Wing fighters in drone form taking off from behind the Batuu spires, followed by a stunt show in which Vi Moradi fought a First Order officer while Rey engaged in a lightsaber duel with Kylo Ren on an upper catwalk.
Queue and pre-shows
The queue itself plays a substantial part in the attraction. Guests enter the queue through a Resistance base. In the queue, the guests encounter BB-8 and receive a transmission from Rey. She explains that a group of Resistance agents, including Finn, have boarded a Star Destroyer that is en route to the Batuu system. Believing the base to be no longer safe, Rey explains that guests will be boarding transports to rendezvous with Leia Organa on Pacara. Nien Nunb and Lieutenant Bek are tasked with transporting the guests, escorted by Poe's squadron of X-wings. The doors then open and the queue leads to a Resistance Intersystem Transport Ship.
After guests board the ship, they depart the Forest Outpost. In space, the convoy is attacked by a squadron of TIE fighters and subsequently caught in the Star Destroyer's tractor beam. Aboard the Star Destroyer, they are taken through a hangar where a detachment of stormtroopers awaits. The queue continues through the hallway and leads into a prison cell, where the riders are watched by stormtroopers and interrogated by General Hux and Kylo Ren. After the two leave the interrogation room to return to the bridge of the ship, Resistance fighters who have boarded the Destroyer cut a hole in the cell's wall, leading guests into the load area where they board a pair of First Order transports, each driven by an R5 astromech droid.
After boarding the transports, Finn informs guests that their vehicles' droids have been reprogrammed to help them escape by taking them to the escape pods and flying them back to Batuu. For the bulk of the ride, Bek guides guests as they make their escape. Leaving the loading area, the guests ride past several empty transports of the same type as their own (in actuality, these vehicles are going to the loading area for the next set of riders), but avoid raising suspicion from them when their vehicle's onboard R5 units claim to the others that they're conducting a prisoner transfer. After entering a hallway, the vehicles encounter a First Order probe droid, which almost spots them. Then they turn a corner and head towards the turbolifts, only to be caught by a pair of Stormtroopers on a catwalk, who immediately fire at the vehicles before sounding the alarm. Turning a corner, the vehicle ends up in a hangar with two full-sized AT-ATs where they split up towards different sides of the room. Finn tells the riders to take the elevators down to the escape pods while either taking cover by a doorway or near cargo crates depending on which part of the room the vehicle has moved to. However, as the droids are still adjusting to their new programming, they accidentally send the vehicles to an upper level, where they get shot at by the walkers and the onboard troopers.
After escaping from the AT-ATs, the vehicles sneak into the bridge of the Star Destroyer, where Kylo Ren is conferring with General Hux. Kylo is informed of the guests' escape and spots them just as the rebel fleet arrives and begins attacking the Star Destroyer. Seeing the riders in the hallway, Kylo ignites his lightsaber and leaps toward the vehicles just as the turbolift door closes. This does little to slow him down, however, as he jumps onto the roof of the turbolift and starts cutting into it using his lightsaber. The lift reaches the next floor as the riders escape.
In the next room, cannons are firing at the Resistance ships outside. Evading the cannons, Finn orders the riders to abandon the ship, which is about to explode, as they encounter Kylo Ren again. He freezes both transports with the Force, pulls them towards him, tells the riders that he is going to force them to give him the location of the Resistance base and then he is going to kill them. Before he can act, a disabled TIE fighter hits the side of the ship, opening it up to the vacuum of space. Kylo Ren screams in anger as the riders escape. As the air rushes around them, guests' vehicles then enter their escape pods, which are then launched with a drop. With some help from Poe, the pods free-fall back to Batuu. Flying over Black Spire Outpost, the pods crash-land inside the remains of a wrecked ship, where Bek congratulates both the guests and the astromech droids for helping to keep the Resistance's base safe from the First Order. Guests then exit their vehicle in the outdoor unload area before returning to the Forest Outpost.