Disney+’s ‘Andor’ Brings Us the Gritty Reality of Star Wars’ Rebellion
Disney+’s Andor brings us back the character of Cassian Andor that we met in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Played by Diego Luna, he was a member of the Rebellion who had been in the fight since he was a child and has fought tooth and nail to take down the Empire. After his death at the end of that film, Andor takes us back to the Cassian who started the fight and shows audiences the power that this character has and the hard realities of the Rebellion.
For me, I came out of Rogue One and was so enamored with Cassian and his story that I bought up whatever figures were available (which accounts for two of my three Cassian Andor Funkos), and I hated that I knew his story was over. There wouldn’t be a chance for him to pop up somewhere like The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett because he sacrificed his life to get the plans to the Death Star to Princess Leia.
But then came the Disney+ prequel focused on his younger days, which hits the streaming service at 3AM Eastern on September 21.
Rebellions are built on hope
Rogue One came at a time when many of us were in political turmoil (especially in the United States), and the message of hope of Star Wars’ Rebellion was one that inspired so many fans to fight back. What works with Andor is that fire and that hope is just starting to brew. We’re seeing the Rebellion on the ground and how it builds up into the one we see Leia and Luke leading in the original movie trilogy.
Cassian is on a quest for his sister, and while that seems to be his one goal, he is making the connections to people who will lead him to Mon Mothma. He’s on the ground and working with those who have started this fight out of necessity. Characters like Maarva (Fiona Shaw) are at the forefront of it not because they found a reason to rebel but because they had to in order to survive, and we’ve never seen the start of the Rebellion like this—and it is so incredible to see.
And we get to see it in small part, too, with Adria Arjona’s Bix. She’s part of Cassian’s connection to the Rebellion and on the fringe of it all, and it doesn’t seem like she had a choice either way. It was fight or get lost in the battle for those who are fighting back, and Bix chose to be strong and fight alongside Maarva and Cassian, and it’s really fun to see play out.
The Cassian Andor we meet in Rogue One has been in this fight for years, but the Cassian we meet in Andor isn’t completely jaded yet. We see the fight in him, especially in the first episode when he has to fight two low-level connections to the Empire simply because they’re picking a fight with him, but he’s not the Rebel spy we know he eventually becomes yet.
It’s a slow build, one beginning as a necessity and growing into the man we saw with Jyn Erso, but watching how he is making connections in the Rebellion and seeing how he learned from figures like Maarva how to operate in the shadows? That’s the sweet spot of this series, and it’s fascinating to watch Cassian hide in plain sight from the Empire and continue to work towards whatever end goal he’s given.
The rise of the Empire
What’s also so interesting in Andor comes from the Empire. We’re seeing the Empire as it is rising to its peak. It has power, and Palpatine is abusing said power alongside Vader, but we get to see where the reach of the Empire goes to and how those employees working for it interact with the regime. With characters like Denise Gough’s Dedra or Kyle Soller’s Syril, they’re not high up in the Empire at all, but they feel as if they are important (a trope that runs deep throughout Vader’s side of things), and that sense of power drives them.
It’s why Syril has almost made this search for Cassian his sole mission, because he probably thinks it will give him the grace of the Empire and the success he’s looking for. We get to see how all these characters operate in a world where the Empire is so vast, even if Vader and Palpatine don’t really care what part they’re playing in this.
Andor is a perfect series for the character we fell in love with in Rogue One and highlights just the kind of performer that Diego Luna is in a way that should delight all of us who begged for more of Cassian Andor.
(featured image: Lucasfilm)
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