Andor Rebels Against the Empire: What it Means to be Star Wars


Promotional image courtesy of Disney+.

Andre Chabra, Arts and Entertainment Editor

After being time-starved of new Star Wars content and desperate to see more of Baby Yoda, Andor graced our screens to fill the gap. It began releasing episodes weekly on September 21 on Disney+. 

Created by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton and The Bourne Legacy), Andor contains an all-star cast helmed by Diego Luna (Narcos: Mexico) as Andor. His co-stars include Kyle Soller (Poldark) as Syril Karn, Adria Arjona (Morbius) as Bix Caleen, Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve) as Maarva Andor, Stellan Skarsgård (Chernobyl) as Luthen Rael, Denise Gough (Under the Banner of Heaven) as Dedra Meero, Genevieve O’Reilly (Rogue One) as Mon Mothma. Filled to the brim with new and familiar faces from the Star Wars mythos, Andor is a new and brilliant take on this decades-old franchise.

The only way to pull off a brilliant TV show is to have brilliant performances.

Unlike many other films, shows, and comic books, this series does not feature any connection to Jedis, Siths, lightsabers, or even the Force. Instead, it is a story completely focused on the other characters of the Star Wars universe that people have come to know and love, such as the titular hero Cassian Andor and side characters like Mon Mothma. It is no longer an epic space opera; rather, it is a much smaller show that allows for an exploration of something new. This works tremendously in its favor because each episode packs something unique that has never been done before in Star Wars, and they are always a pleasure to watch. 

The show has a pattern of having several story arcs, each one taking a few episodes to complete before transitioning to the next one. This allows for the show to go in all sorts of different directions. It becomes a political thriller, a heist, and a prison break, all wrapped up beautifully in one TV show that excellently connects each of these storylines.

Andor proves that there are still plenty of stories worth telling on-screen in the Star Wars universe.

The only way to pull off a brilliant TV show is to have brilliant performances, and Andor is filled with them. Diego Luna, who reprises his role of Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, continues to play Andor as the serious and dangerous man expertly, but this time he is allowed to show more emotion and compassion than he did during Rogue One. With the introduction of his adoptive mother and close friends on the planet Ferrix, Andor is given an opportunity to become a more well-rounded character with much clearer motivations for why he hates the evil Empire. Mon Mothma, a legacy character that has appeared in previous Star Wars media, including the original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, is finally given the screen time she deserves. Only ever given a few lines in her previous appearances, Mon Mothma becomes a major player in the show through her shady political schemes to support the Rebellion against the Empire. 

The show also introduces new characters including Luthen Rael, who is, simply put, so cool. Rael officially works as an antiques and collectibles dealer, but he actually uses that as a front to manage his network of people as part of the larger Rebellion. Skarsgård is in his element, playing this character who can switch personalities at the drop of a hat. One moment he is smiling and chit-chatting with customers, and the next moment he is ruthlessly dispatching Storm Troopers and TIE Fighters in his mission to free the galaxy from Imperial oppression. Rael is the one who brings Andor into the fold of the Rebellion and really gets the story underway. Skarsgård portrays Rael as a man who will do anything to stop the Empire, including sacrificing his own men. A question you will always ask yourself is: can Luthen Rael really be trusted? The answer can only be found when you watch this awesome show.

Despite the setbacks Star Wars has faced in the 21st century with the lackluster sequel trilogy, Andor proves that there are still plenty of stories worth telling on-screen in the Star Wars universe.