Disney decided to give Andor his own series. It was thought that Andor would be a different type of show than the classic Star Wars show. Anyway, the similarities to the Original Series are striking.
From a fascist-inspired Galactic Empire spreading terror across the galaxy to the Ewoks’ rebellion mimicking Viet Cong guerilla tactics, George Lucas was inspired by political sources when making the Original Trilogy. Star Wars’ origins go deeper than simple science fiction fairy tales set in a distant galaxy.
Whereas The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi relies heavily on nostalgia, harkening back to the Original Trilogy or the Prequels, Andor fleshes out Rogue One, a Disney film from the same era. Few will watch because they have fond childhood memories of Diego Luna’s spy Cassian Andor conducting black ops for the Rebellion. Meanwhile, the overall tone of the series differs from that of previous shows. As seen in the first season, Andor is a grittier and more thrilling side of the Star Wars universe. It’s a high-stakes spy thriller with realistic depictions of revolution and oppressed people.
What is the Andor series about?
Although there are no major spoilers, there may be minor ones, so let’s warn those who haven’t watched the series.
Star Wars: Andor reveals what happened to Cassian before his appearance in Rogue One. Cassian Andor is introduced to us as a highly trained Intelligence Officer and the Rebel Alliance’s captain. Beyond that, he was prepared to sacrifice everything for the Rebellion. We don’t learn much about his history, however, and have no idea when or why he joined the Alliance.
Hence, SW: Andor backtracks to pinpoint how exactly Andor transformed from a thief into one of the most passionate figures of the Rebellion. The series follows not only Andor’s development, but the beginning of the Rebel Alliance as well. The dramatization of the perilous and treacherous events leads to the formation of the Rebel Alliance to oppose the Galactic Empire.
Also, we can see the evolution of rebel leaders. It’s fascinating to watch the characters, such as Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) as an undercover senator, and Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), grow and change as the series traces the origins of the Rebellion, and before they became pivotal figures in the rebel movement. The series tells the story of how the Rebellion came to be and follows the lives of several of its most influential members.
New Star Wars Characters
Andor brings a slew of new characters into the Star Wars universe.
The first few minutes are paced like a crime thriller, but they quickly transition into a more grounded story about people who aren’t typically featured in the SW franchise. Cassian’s past is shaped, and he becomes who he needs to be in Rogue One by the people he meets on planets like Kenari, Ferrix, and Morlana One. In addition to Cassian Andor, we will introduce you to several new, and some that have already appeared in previous movies, in our opinion significant characters, who greatly shape Cassian’s path.
For Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna; his backstory begins not with a discussion of Jedi and Sith or a civil war between the Empire and the Rebellion, but with a common fellow who is down on his luck and desperate.
One of the new characters is Bix Caleen, played by Adria Arjona. She is a mechanic by day and a black market seller and a smuggler by night. Cassian and this woman appear to be longtime friends on Ferrix, and there’s a chance that they were more than just pals at one point. While we don’t know much else about Bix, we do know that she despises Preox-Morlana enforcers and other forms of authority.
Then there’s Luthen Rael, played by Stellan Skarsgård, code-named “Axis,” an antique dealer and revolutionary leader who orchestrated a rebel network and spy operation during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Even though his gallery, Galactic Antiquities, and Objects of Interest, was located in Coruscant, the galactic capital, Rael used it as a front for his rebel network. His job was to incite rebellion across the galaxy and recruit new rebels, and he seems to have had one of the most significant roles in the rise of the rebel movement.
One of the very significant characters that influenced Andor’s path is Maarva, played by Fiona Shaw. She is the adoptive mother of Cassian on Ferrix. In episode 3, we get a lot of background on the two characters, including Maarva’s life during the Clone Wars and how she and Cassian first met. She’s clearly been more rebellious than anyone else on the show for a long time.
Mon Mothma (played by Genevieve O’Reilly) is an Imperial Senator from the planet Chandrilla. She retained the senatorial seat she held previously during the Galactic Republic. Along with the mysterious Luthen Rael, she secretly began organizing resistance movements against the fascist Imperial government. Mon Mothma made her first appearance in Return of the Jedi, played by Caroline Blakiston, and then in Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, played by O’Reilly.
Vel Sartha, played by Faye Marsay, is a rebel fighter against the Galactic Empire who works closely with Luthen Rael. At the initial stage of the rebellion, she was one of the leaders of operatives in the field, leading a Spec-ops. Also, she is related to Mon Mothma.
A few more important characters…
Cinta Kaz was a member of Luthen Rael’s network of rebels who fought against the Galactic Empire. Kaz’s character was played by Varada Sethu. She hated the Empire very much because of a terrible event in her past. Kaz’s entire family was wiped out by stormtroopers at some point. She was a member of Sartha’s crew that was tasked with robbing the Imperial payroll from the armory of the Aldhani garrison. The stealing was successful, but only Kaz, Sartha, and Cassian made it out of the mission alive.
Cyril Karn (played by Kyle Soller), a Pre-Mor officer, is a character that manifests the ambition of a ‘small’ official of the Empire and the impression of a great power monitoring the galaxy. Syril longs to actually do some police work, instead of letting the crimes happening in the “corporate sector” of space he patrols go unpunished. During one action, he becomes obsessed with solving the case and as a result, becomes obsessed with chasing Cassian.
Anton Lesser as Major Partagaz plays the role of the Chief of the Imperial Security Bureau. He is responsible for eliminating any potential threats to the oppressive Empire’s rule.
Another new character is Dedra Meero, played by Denise Gough. During her time with the Imperial Security Bureau, she held the positions of lieutenant and supervisor. Meero attended a meeting of ISB supervisors led by Major Partagaz after the incident on Ferrix. She was meticulous in her work, gathering and analyzing data from all over the galaxy that seemed to point to a more coordinated rebel effort than her superiors had initially believed.
Now let’s explain the timeline of the series a bit
The series takes place during a dangerous time for all free-thinking populations in the galaxy. At that time, there were almost no Jedi because the remaining few were mercilessly exterminated. Fans of Star Wars Rebels will notice that the events of Andor take place during the same general period. Both shows follow the early rebel efforts against the Empire, which began nearly 15 years after the Galactic Republic’s fall. As was previously mentioned, this series appears as a prologue to 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
It is set in 5 BBY in SW time. To be more precise, it occurs four years before Rogue One. As a point of reference, the series is set roughly 15 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. So, Order 66 to destroy the Jedi was issued by Palpatine more than ten years ago. The fans remember that after these events, Obi-Wan went into exile, thinking it wasn’t the time to challenge the Empire. Meaning that by the time the events of Andor take place, the people have suffered under the Empire for a long time, while keeping their discontent to themselves. But now that the Jedi Order is mostly wiped out and the few remaining Jedi are hiding, it’s up to the people to rise up.
A small review of fan expectations
We understand why some SW fans didn’t get on board. Some recent sci-fi and fantasy series, from which much was expected, did not return what was expected. The majority came across as being poor rip-offs of their respective source material. Those interested in science fiction have had to put up with countless prequels, sequels, and spinoffs. This is most evident in the most recent Star Wars television series. The first moment when we saw Baby Yoda’s adorable little hand reach out from his futuristic cradle, was never able to be topped, not even by The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or even the second season of The Mandalorian. This is despite the fact that the first season of The Mandalorian managed to captivate both adults and children.
The first three episodes of the first season of Andor premiered on Disney+ on September 21, 2022. The remaining episodes of the season will be released weekly until November 23, 2022. Production for season two has already begun in London. The series will end here, setting up the events of Rogue One.