Andor is a limited series on Disney+ that tells the story of Cassian Andor, a spy who helped the rebellion overthrow the empire. This exclusive series diverts from general family adventures and focuses on espionage, political intrigue, and drama between the rebels and the empire.
Andor also continues down the darker, more mature path for the Star Wars franchise. It’s geared towards adult audiences as opposed to being general family fare. This all stems from its connection to the Rogue One movie and darker themes.
Andor’s Connection To Rogue One
Image Source: Disney+ via Twinfinite
This series takes place during the prequel timeline before the movie Rogue One. The origin and backstory of Cassian are further explained in this series. Audiences can witness Cassian’s early childhood and his adult life as he’s recruited into the rebel alliance.
In Rogue One, we saw what ultimately happened to Cassian when he helped Jyn Erso steal the plans for the empire’s deathstar. It was a serious consequence that is never seen in family adventure movies. The general rule is that family-friendly movies and shows must have a happy and satisfying ending. They’re also more lighthearted, fun, and comedic.
Andor follows the same tone of Rogue One, which has a darker and more serious story. The story’s main theme deals with self-sacrifice to help stop the tyranny of the empire and save countless innocent lives.
Rogue One is also the first Star Wars movie that spun-off the main movies. This allowed the story to deviate from the Jedi and the empire’s multitude of alien races, droids, and villains. Currently, Andor is telling a very human story without the main character having access to Jedi powers.
At this point, there have not yet been any characters from the empire in the plot, nor have there been any alien characters with an important role. Cassian is also an older adult (if we go by the actor’s age), and adults will have an easier time understanding and/or relating to him. These elements are similar to the Rogue One movie, which is also intended more for adults than children.
Darker Themes Of Andor
Image Source: Disney+ via Twinfinite
With only three episodes out as of the time of publication, it’s too early to determine all the themes that will be explored in the full series. From what we’ve seen so far, an overarching theme is defining what makes a hero. At the start of the series, Cassian is not yet a hero with a purpose for the greater good.
In the first episode, he decides to seek out information on Morlana One about his lost sister. After leaving a nightclub, two Preox-Morlana security guards follow Cassian and attempt to rob him after bullying him in the club. Cassian fights back, and knocks down one of the guards, who dies after hitting his head on the ground. When the second guard attempts to bargain, Cassian executes the guard with his blaster pistol.
We might never know if Cassian is remorseful for the incident or if he planned to punish the guards with extreme vengeance. However, the entire scene emphasizes the grittiness of the series and gives us insight into Cassian’s impulsive and desperate character. He’s not afraid to kill (or in this case murder), he’s reckless, and he’s dangerous. When compared to the quintessential hero from the mainline Star Wars movies, Luke Skywalker, there is a stark contrast.
Luke Skywalker and the Jedi treat life more carefully and the Jedi code prohibits killing unless it’s the very last resort. The Jedi order also emphasizes that one should never kill or execute an unarmed foe. The mainline movies showed that only someone acting out of evil does that, such being the case when Anakin Skywalker killed Count Dooku. Finally, Jedi must think hard about the consequences of killing a foe and the suffering it causes.
In Andor, Cassian isn’t beholden to these values, and we get the sense that he’s much more focused on self-preservation rather than any delusions of honor or grandeur. Cassian seemingly didn’t want to surrender, he was already plotting to fight back against the guards. However, audiences will never know what might have happened if Cassian gave up his credits and did not resist.
Back on his homeworld in the Star Wars universe, we also see how he’s not doing too good financially and relationally. It’s a bleak setting, and throughout the first three episodes, there’s no indication of anything fun or uplifting. As Cassian’s past collides with the Preox-Morlana guards hunting him down in the present day, things continue to look darker and grim.
The more mature and darker direction that Andor is taking the Star Wars franchise is a good thing. Without becoming extremely dark, it’s opening up more of the Star Wars universe for a variety of characters and stories to take center stage. In the case of Andor, it’s also building more history and lore within the most well-known events from the mainline Star Wars movies.
Andor chronicles how Cassian searches for his lost sister, and is recruited by Luthen Rael to join the rebels to help people oppressed by the empire. It’s shaping up to be an intriguing story worth watching all the way through.